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Pictures on display, Part 2 (06/27/2004)
By Tom Hirsch

Okay, you've selected the pictures that you'd like to have enlarged, have located their negatives or digital storage medium, and have decided on what size prints you want. The next decision is where to take them for enlarging.

To be on the safe side, take them to a place that specializes in photography. A department or drugstore can probably have it done cheaper, but the printers they deal with usually don't work towards getting the best color balance. Photo dealers base their livelihood on photography so they are usually willing to reprint photos until the customer is satisfied. Check out the photo dealers in your area for price, willingness to print to the customer's satisfaction, quality of work, and whether or not they will crop for the best composition.

When you get your enlargements from the printer, you'll want to mount them or have them mounted and framed for display. Wow! Methods of framing prints are so varied that no matter how much information was given here, we would barely scratch the surface. There are professionally made frames, nice department store frames, matting frames, frames that you can make or put together yourself, and many variations of these. We'll leave it up to you to make those choices. It's hard to go wrong on framing. Whatever decisions you make will be the right ones.

Incidentally, at the time that you take your negatives or memory card in for processing, ask to have the prints made without borders. This will give you a much nicer looking print, and you will get about one-half inch more print, horizontally and vertically. Also, if you mount the print in a standard size frame, you will have a little bit of leeway when you frame the print. For example, if you have an 8 X 10 print, the opening of a standard frame is 7-1/2 X 9-1/2. If the picture is slightly tilted to one side, you can counter that by tilting a borderless print slightly before mounting it.

There are several other factors related to displaying prints to keep in mind. First of all, never hang black and white or color prints in direct sunlight, or very bright indirect sunlight. The sun has a bleaching effect on photographic emulsions, and prints will fade in time. Although this will eventually happen anyway, sunlight will greatly hasten the process. To make matters worse, in color prints the colors fade at different rates. Also, prints made on digital photo paper will fade more rapidly than those printed on regular photo paper. Be sure to ask what type of paper the photo processor uses.

The ultraviolet rays emitted by fluorescent lights have the same effect as sunlight, but at a much slower rate. To protect prints from this type of lighting, they should be mounted behind UV absorbing glass or acetate, available through photo dealers.

When preparing photographs for display, take into account the effects that different types of lighting have on an image. A print viewed under the light of a tungsten lamp will look warmer or more reddish than the same photo illuminated by fluorescent light, and daylight illumination will have a different effect altogether. Experiment by placing a picture in various locations to find the best lighting for that print.

If you are bothered by reflections from the glass in a frame, buy non-glare glass. It comes with some print frames, or you can buy it and have it cut to size at a glass shop. If appropriate, ask for UV absorbing non-glare glass.

Thus far we have discussed the basics of displaying prints. With a little imagination and creativity, you can make your photo displays more interesting and unique. Next time we will give you a few ideas to start with. 


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