Photography has different markets and framing for your photographs have different suppliers. Some frame suppliers cater to trades such as artist organisations; some cater to supplying framing components. Others provide the full professional framing service including PDF proofs, try before you buy options, which can include sending frame moulding profiles by post before you proceed to place an order. Naturally, the try before you buy option will increase the price of the frame due to shipping and handling costs.
For consumers, such as those ordering family prints, pet prints, or even creating your own art (perhaps calligraphy done on a drawing tablet then uploaded to a print and frame service to either display for personal use or to prepare your artwork for sale) it’s not always a trade supplier you need, nor have the budget for.
The simplest service and the most affordable for ordering prints of your own art and photographs is available in only a few steps. Upload your photo, choose a frame, an optional picture mount, pay for it and wait for it to arrive. That’s it. No back and forth with PDF proof documents or frame samples shipped before you get to choose your preferred frame.
Comparison Advice on Choosing a Print and Frame Service
Not all print and frame services are the same. Each company can have a different printer, which can alter the print quality you receive. In addition, the frame profiles can be similar to what you’d pick up in a supermarket, whereas professional frames will be made with higher-quality woods.
The fitting service is just as important too and shouldn’t be ignored when sifting through the magnitude of reviews available to help you choose which frame supplier to use.
Areas to focus your attention include:
The frame quality is important because the higher the quality, the longer your print will last and the better protected the prints will be inside the frame.
When you order a framed print with a mount, you need the fitting to be spot on. What you don’t want is to have a mount that moves around inside the frame. Professional framers know how to attach the mounts to the prints and backing board using a hinging technique with non-abrasive tape to avoid damaging the print.
Packaging and Shipping
Super important for ordering prints online is how the framed print is packaged. As it’s going to have Perspex glazing (most won’t ship real glass without additional insurance), it needs to be packaged securely to avoid any scratching.
As with every business, customer support is imperative to have available. You may need support or advice before you order, or for aftercare, if there’s an issue once your frame arrives. Quality framer’s worth doing business with do make themselves available to both existing customers and those who are only just inquiring. The level of service doesn’t alter based on whether you’re a regular customer or a new customer.
Ease of use
The rise of point and click services have opened up traditional sales by print and frame stores, including kiosks, to technology-driven websites and apps letting you use point and click services to order complete print packages.
As technology is diverse, and the quality of service is usually dependent on third-party software providers, the ease of use on the website will differ by frame supplier. The only way to know how easy a print and frame service is to use is to try it out for yourself. The majority don’t have features locked, so you can upload your images, preview it with different frames and make alterations to the picture mounts and border sizes. You only pay for the service when you’re happy with what you’re able to create using your photo and the supplies available from your frame supplier.