Matting question

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 14,375

bguiliano wrote:

I am going to do my first show soon....its with a local Instagram group at a local bar/restaurant.

Congratulations. Hope it works well for you!

Some of my prints will require framing. I have all the frames, but was going to use any matting.

I like the look better without.

Is matting 100% necessary ?

No, it is not.

From what I understand, benefits of matting include:

  • Visually setting-off or distinguishing the image from the frame, wall and surroundings. This can also be done by printing the image with a blank border around it. Modern frameless prints use a wall offset to do the same thing, putting a shadow around the print. 
  • Being able to match an image area of one aspect ratio with a frame of a different aspect ratio. Again, a blank border can do the same. 
  • Decoration. This depends on the matte: some are rather elaborate, others plain. Fine art prints tend to be able to stand on their own, so plain mattes seem to be more popular. 
  • Preventing the image from touching the cover glass, which could cause damage. If you expect the art viewers to be well-behaved, you can eliminate the glass, which typically harms the viewing quality anyway unless you use expensive antireflective glass. 
  • Avoiding having the print cropped by the frame: about a quarter of an inch all around the print will be under the frame itself, which can look poor. Of course, the matte will crop as well, but this doesn't quite look so bad, at least in my opinion. You can add a border around the print, at least half an inch all around, and this will eliminate the problem in either case. 

I understand some of the benefits of it, but will my prints be destroyed if i just put them right into the frame without matting?

It depends on the printing. I've had some cheap inkjet prints which both would be damaged by touching and by being in contact with glass. Quality chemical prints and pigment inkjet inks seem to be resistant to both, especially if using heavily coated paper. I suppose this would be easy to determine: try putting some water and fingerprints on a small test print to see if it is damaged, and then try putting it in contact with glass for a while to see if it sticks to it.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +2 more
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