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Mounting and Presenting

PhilAJ 15 110 United Kingdom
12 Jun 2020 11:58AM
I've reached the point where I want to start printing more, and having done a 'lockdown project' of photographing my local village, I may be looking to do a mini exhibition in the local library, and even selling some of the pictures.

My questions are, what is the best way to present - am confused by the following;

- Looking at various Photo Societies Rules, (I'm not a member of any), they all seem to want photos glued onto a 50mm x 40mm backboard for presentation.

- Some articles say that to exhibit photo's they should be mounted/ glued on a board, and then a front mount glued on top, with a window to show off the image.

- I've also seen the mounts that you can buy which are like envelopes, with a window in front, where the photo is just slid into the envelope, with the need for any gluing.

Is there a 'standard' or is it a case of whatever you fancy doing?

The 'envelope type' mounts seem to be the easiest to use - as long as the picture size is right for the size of the mount - but not many tutorials mention these. Are they frowned upon?

Any advice would be gratefully received, as well as any tips on exhibiting and selling.



dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 826 England
12 Jun 2020 12:47PM
Photo Society 'rules' only apply to those societies, though are useful information and a good guide..

At one end of the scale is do what you want, for example cable-tie loose A4 prints to a gatepost (I jest!) to the other involving mounting in Victorian style ornate gold oversize frames.
As an individual you have complete freedom.

There's a multitude of approaches, and somewhere in between there'll be somehting that suits your style, venue and audience.

Size of mount board is up to you but the general idea is mount the print on a board with a window mount on top. That keeps the print flat and easy to view espcially when framed. A print just on backing board looks unfinished. Decide how much of the window mount you want ias a surround. Or do you want to put them in a frame with no border?
So that part of what you read is good practice, that's all.

Using lightweight frames that are neutral and don't overpower the image will finish them off nicely and could help sales as someone can take the imag away a a finished product or increase orders.

The envelope mounts you mention are perfectly fine (again, some 'rules' may be against them but you're not entering their displays).
Your decision will revolve around suitability in terms of size availability and appropriateness, time (as against preparing your own) and cost.

Take a look at how art galleries for example display prints in an exhibition to get some ideas.
PhilAJ 15 110 United Kingdom
12 Jun 2020 12:58PM
Thanks Dark Lord, much as I thought, but good to get confirmation from someone 'in the know'.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.4k 2543 United Kingdom
12 Jun 2020 1:18PM
This is something that I have organised a few times for our own community photography, and I had hoped to run something similar this summer for our U3A Photography group. This should be about how you want it to look, don't worry about camera club rules. I would advise simplicity, and a uniform style. For low cost, my own preference is for black mounting board, with a narrow white surround, but cream board works well too. The size of board will depend on the size of print, but don't skimp, allow space around the print.

In practical terms what you do also depends in part on your budget! Have you explored whether you can get any funding from this, for example from your local council or community support groups?

A couple of recommendations. Look for repositionable mount spray, it's more expensive but it means that if you get the position wrong first time you can rearrange it. Rather than buy ready-cut mounts, see if there is a local picture framer who would do you a batch at a reasonable price. And I have found Wilko and Hobbycraft very good for simple, smart frames. Both do a style with a very narrow black plastic frame.

Hope it goes well, it is just the sort of project that communities need right now!
12 Jun 2020 2:13PM
For club competitions and exhibitions I use these mounts from Kadinsky. Similar are also available elsewhere e.g. from PaperSpectrum and others.

I usually print A4 with a 3mm margin all round the image since the aperture for an A4 mount matte is about 8mm less in all dimensions than the print. I then affix the print to the matter with good quality masking tape. The matte is then fixed to the backing board with double sided tape. Quick and simple but not the most robust way for longer term or multiple exhibition use as the boards can separate in some environments. No doubt others will be along shortly with their own methods.
Chrism8 15 1.0k 32 England
12 Jun 2020 3:13PM
Cotswold mounts are also very good and will do mail order.
pink Plus
19 7.1k 9 England
12 Jun 2020 3:17PM
For exhibitions (unless staffed) I would recommend framing the images.
I mount my images on sticky foam board (about £1 for 50x40cm size) and then put a window mount on top before framing in plain black frames that I purchase from 'The Range' at about £4 each, these come with an aperture mount but not bevel cut.
For cutting window beveled mounts I use a Logan system, these start quite cheap at about £35 for a straight edge and a 45 degree blade holder, takes a bit of practice but not too daunting.
For larger prints I tend to mount in flush frames with acrylic facing and frameless, this keeps the weight down.
Once you have the frames and a working system set up it is quite easy to swap over images to suit various venues/audiences, when frames get a bit scuffed I sand them down lightly and respray with black satin paint, keeps them serviceable for longer.
Good luck and I hope its a success
PhilAJ 15 110 United Kingdom
12 Jun 2020 3:32PM
Some great advice - thank you all so much
James124 Plus
7 61 51 Portugal
12 Jun 2020 3:40PM
Over the last few years I've been following French photo Federation rules, using 30x40cm mounts which is a good size for images on A4 paper.
Good quality watercolour paper about 0.75mm thick was cut with an aperture to match the image size; the print trimmed to have a an adequate border was taped to the back then mounted on to 30x40cm self adhesive plastic panels to give extra rigidity if required. Otherwise just mounted in a 30x40cm simple black frame. For club exhibitions we went up a size to 40x60cm.

Using the 30x40 mounts gave a maximum image size of 20x25cm to leave a good space around the image, equal side margins obviously and the bottom margin about twice the top one. This gave a balanced look to the image in the mount. Before placing the print we embossed the mount around the image aperture at 12mm using a knitting needle or skewer and a metal ruler, which gave a distinct club look.
Card back mounts of say 2mm to 3mm thick using spray adhesive as suggested by Moira are a good alternative to plastic.

Hope this helps. It's much eaasier to demonstrate than write !

12 Jun 2020 3:59PM
I've just used The Print Space for the first time (for a 16"x20" print mounted on 3mm Foamex PVC) and they did a great job. There are quite a few videos on their site explaining the different mounting and framing options they provide, which, even if you don't want to use them, might give you some ideas and help you decide how you want to mount your images. It would probably cost you a small fortune to get them to print and mount a lot of photos and you may well prefer to do it all yourself, but if you do want to use them (even just for the printing) and you're a new customer, you can easily find discount codes online, which is what I did, eg, this one will get you 50% off: PL8N68G

Good luck.
teepee 19 1.7k England
12 Jun 2020 7:44PM
The 50 x 40 size used by camera clubs is only because that size fits into the print boxes they use for transporting multiple prints. All one size stops prints moving about in transit and damaging other peoples prints. A4 or bigger is fine mate, as long as you are happy
Dave_Canon 16 2.1k United Kingdom
13 Jun 2020 10:52AM
Club competitions (and national and international competitions) normally require the overall mount size to be 500 by 400 mm. Reasons are that they want consistency for display purposes as well as the transport issue. Whether you flush mount, use window either bespoke size or a standard size is normally entirely up to you. I currently use a bespoke window as I can readily produce these myself. The aspect ration of my print is determined by my compositional/artistic view of what I want. Clearly this will not often be a standard size. However, I know many who stick to a standard size; I wish I could but it would save a lot of hassle and cost. I use a light card behind the print as this keeps the print flat which might otherwise ripple. I used to glue the print to the backing but now have a way of achieving what I want without using glue.

For the Exhibitions where we occasionally sell pictures, I also include a picture frame (not allowed for competitions as it would be too heavy and difficult to transport. I find it is best to use a fairly standard Range or Ikea frame so the potential buyer does not feel that they are paying a lot for a frame (which they may not like) and may then feel free to replace the frame later. Of course if it is your Exhibition there will be no rules so you can decide on the size yourself. If you exhibit in someone's professional Gallery, they may have specific rules for consistency.
PhilAJ 15 110 United Kingdom
13 Jun 2020 11:28AM
I think the overall answer / theme I can take away from all this is;

- Do as I decide I want
- Allow the image sizes to be any size I want - and then create the mounts to suit, rather than sticking with same sizes all the same - be flexible, which probably means Don't Use standard sized envelope type mounts, unless I specifically want a set size.

- If I exhibit - maybe frame them - or maybe not - my choice

Thanks once again everyone.


13 Jun 2020 11:40AM
One further consideration - if you are exhibiting with a view to selling the actual prints on show, printing at different sizes makes it easier to set different price points, catering for a wider range of potential buyers.
Dave_Canon 16 2.1k United Kingdom
14 Jun 2020 10:25AM
We had a Exhibition with sales a few months ago for club members; 20 took part. All had to be mounted in almost identical frame of the same size. Apart from the fact that the club owned a number of these standard Ikea frames, it was to ensure the overall Exhibition looked good. As well as framed you could offer some unframed and cards. Most had cards of the framed pictures. A visitor may be attracted to one of the framed pictures but unwilling or unable to pay the price so often buy a card or two. In fact some members made more money from selling cards. We had to split the cost of hiring the gallery which was £200 but I did make a profit myself. Members are happy just to show their work to the public so selling is a bonus. You will need to set a price to suit the area etc. we set £50 to £100 for framed prints and £30 to £50 for unframed. Cards were generally about £2 each.


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