Getting the Best Effect with Picture/Photo Mounts

Photo mounts are available to buy separately, or you can buy them with the frame. The question is, do you really need them?

The primary point of using a mount is to protect your photos and any artwork you put inside a frame. They create a boundary preventing the picture touching the glazing, thus preventing any damage to the photo, such as smudging and discolouration.

In terms of appearance, the option you choose for your photo mount will have a profound effect on your finished framed piece. Of anything, be it a photo, painting, or pencil sketch.

Some Pointers on Choosing the Best Picture Mounts for Your Framed Work

  1. The width of the mount

As with everything framing related, there are no rules to follow. When selecting a photo mount, go with your gut instincts. That said, it will certainly help if you know a thing or two about what’s likely to happen to the finished work once the mount is applied.

For the width, the wider the mount is, the more open the piece will look. It’s wide mounts that are used in art galleries, so that will give you an idea of what your finished picture will look like in the frame with a wide mount.

Now, if you’re framing something small in an oversized frame, you’ll notice a wide mount will give it an element of importance because it will truly stand out. If you’re framing anything small that you really want to catch the eye, go wide on the mount.

  1. Think about “weighting” the mount size

Weighting a photo mount is a technique used on oversized pieces being framed as it helps balance out the overall look and feel of the work. You can use weighting to emphasise specific areas of your photo or art. For example, if the focal point of any piece is near the bottom, it will make sense to emphasise that part. You can do that by making the mount bottom heavy, by which it means a thicker bottom mount, with a narrower top mount thickness or even side thicknesses.

Weighting helps to balance larger sized photos. You can do this on any side of the mount just by changing the width parameters when you order your photo mounts. The wider part of the mount is the area the viewer’s eye will be drawn to most. Neat!

  1. Colour can’t be underestimated, but it can be simplified

Picture mounts are available in an extensive range of colours. You could be tempted to go with the primary or dominant colour in your art or photograph to give the frame a custom look. That’s not always best though.

Generally, the majority of professionally framed photographs have an off-white photo mount or at least a light colour. The reason for this is the lighter the mount colour, the more open the framed piece looks. It’s gentler on the eye.

When you go dark on the picture mount, it becomes the dominant force on the artwork; therefore, the eye is drawn more to the mount surrounding the art or photo than it is to what’s in the picture. It kind of defeats the purpose of trying to beautify the frame.

  1. Dominant colours fair better as a 2nd mount

A double photo mount can be used when you really want to use colour in the mount, but don’t want to overpower it. You will see this with professionally framed wedding photographs when the bride and groom have a colour theme going on. It could be that the groom has a black suit with a red napkin in the pocket, with the bride having a white wedding dress with red accessories, such as a red bow, or perhaps it’s the flower girls in specifically themed dresses.

For these types of pictures when you want to bring the theme through, a double picture mount is the perfect way to do that. To get the effect, you can use the traditional off-white shade as the primary photo mount, with the focal colour theme used as a second mount, which will only add a border around the main photo mount, without overpowering it.

The same can be done with any piece you feel like framing with a dark photo mount. Use the darker colour as a secondary mount.

As a guide to remember colour choices on mounts, lighter shaded mounts open up the photograph making it more eye-pleasing. Darker mounts tend to overpower the artwork unless they’re only used as a secondary mount.