Why custom framing is worth the investment

  • By Julie Ewing

Professionally framed photographs set the tone for your home. They have the potential to become heirlooms for future generations, and the ‘centerpiece’ for your walls. Various moldings and glass finishes can elevate photography even further. A wall filled with vibrant photographs of special memories with loved ones will become a focal point, as well as a talking point.

The costs of framing depend on three things: materials, labour, and size. A project can cost well into the high hundreds if the framing you choose is highly intricate, includes premium matting options and conservation glass.  However, following are five key reasons that custom framing your photographs is worth the investment:

1. Protecting and conserving the artwork

You’ve invested in photography and it makes sense to protect that investment. Framing acts first and foremost as protection to the artwork. While framing is a large part of the presentation, without it, your artwork would be susceptible to multiple kinds of damage. When you have something that is of great sentimental value, it’s imperative that you frame the item as soon as possible to ensure it’s protected. Unframed prints could become stained, dented, torn, scratched or suffer water damage. Framing allows you to handle the photographs without transferring oils from your hands to the surface.

Sometimes, opting for the smallest initial cost is the most expensive mistake you can make long-term. You likely have boxes of photographs from your childhood that are faded and curling by now. Conservation framing is the means by which you prevent your precious art and images from the same fate.

At Lifeworks Photography, our framing is covered by a lifetime warranty for faulty manufacture.  Issues like this tend to be noticed quite early and are fixed immediately.

2. Time and Effort

Custom framing of photography is far from simple, even for the most experienced professional. From the time a framing project begins there is much time and effort taken to measure, cut and join the frame, plus mount the artwork. We will recommend various methods to determine how to frame a piece based on its dimension and composition. This involves creativity and attention to detail as to what is being framed, where it will be hung and what suits the decor of your home.

When you pay for a framing project you pay for specialised services and products, including; conservation, acid-free mat boards, glass that is reflective or non-reflective with or without high UV ratings and hardware for joining and hanging. There is a lot of skill involved in putting it all together professionally at a high-quality standard.

3. You choose the look and feel

As the name suggests, custom framing is a specialised service. That means you have the ability to choose everything from your mat and frame to the mat boards and glass used in the project. As with all things, custom work will cost you more, it’s unique and gives you exactly what you’re looking for. We pay more for custom services, no matter what the industry; cakes for special occasions, formal dresses, haircuts and colouring just to name a few. Given photographs capture such personal and individual moments, it makes sense that your framing is individualised also.

4. Longevity of materials

Archival, acid-free, conservation quality mats should remain looking the same they did the day you collected them, non-archival will deteriorate, spot with mildew over time and brown, this, in turn, will affect and damage your artwork.

High-quality glass with 70-90% UV resistance will increase the longevity of your artwork, preserving colours, brightness, and vibrancy, especially in brightly lit rooms where they are susceptible to UV damage over time.

Good quality frames will outlast our lifetimes.

5. Avoid the biggest framing misconception

People can frame their artwork themselves, however, the misconception, like many things we do ourselves, is the amount of labour that’s involved in doing it well.  According to Kim, my framer for over 17 years, “It’s an extremely tedious process to do, and to do well: to size things correctly, to make sure the proportions are right, to source all of the materials needed, cut the mats to perfection and to keep those annoying dust specs out.”

“An important component of framing photography is how the artwork is attached to its backing board. You have to think about the kind of hinges or acid-free glue mounting options used so that you’re not doing irreparable damage.”

In summary, we want you to enjoy your photographs forever. All Artwork that is to be hung and enjoyed for many years to come in your home we strongly advise against ‘off-the-shelf’ frames and DIY Internet specials.  It may save you money in the short-term, but it could cost you a lot more in the future.


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