How a picture is framed can be as important as the picture itself. Typically, elaborate frames are used to convey the presence of a valuable and precious work, while simple frames are better suited for monochrome photographs.
Framing Oil Paintings
Older oil paintings often have darker backgrounds and rcih tones which can be well complemented by a classical gold frame. You can use a new frame rather than a reproduction, but do not use a manufactured gold frame, as these can look cheap. It is better to use a simple gilded frame that alludes to the painting’s era.
For a more modern painting that is vibrant, and brighter, a simple, monotone frame should be used. Wider frames should be lighter in tone than their narrow counterparts. As a genearl rule of thumb, darker frames work better with brighter paintings, while lighter frames work best with pastels, and lighter paintings.
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Framing Monochrome Photographs
The classic and most popular way to frame black and white prints, is to place them in the center of a large white mat. Colored mats should not be used because they tend to detract attention away from the photograph, unless you have an older, or sepia toned print. If you do, you should use a neutral shaded mat as opposed to white, which would make the image look faded. In order to offset the mat’s neutral shade from the photograph, one should use a thin, rich, mat around the photograph, surrounded by a larger mat in a paler tone.
Typical frames are made out of wood or metal. White, black, charcoal, or brushed silver are usually the best choices for frame texture. Old black and white photographs look best framed with an old wood frame, such as Mahogany, or other dark, polished woods. Colored photographs are best hung individually, due to their inherent vibrant qualities. If a frame or mat is to be used around a colored photograph, it should be a thin, black, or charcoal frame.
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