Giving small photos wall space rarely makes sense, because more often than not - they’d look out of place. That is unless you take a backward approach to selecting the size of frame you want and then use a picture mount to fill the white space between the photo and the frame.
For older photos, the sizes are often minimal and not large enough to merit wall space. Instead, they’ll be framed in smaller frames that are ideal for side tables, mantelpieces and display cabinets.
When you want those small sizes on your wall, you’ve likely pondered the thought of enlarging them. That can only be done with photos taken on a quality camera though and depending on how old the photographs are it may not have the quality required to enlarge it without it being affected by pixilation. That’s when the image gets distorted with squares.
If that is the case, it is still possible to obtain a decent sized frame for any photo size you want on the wall and you can do that by working in reverse mode to finding out what size of frame you need.
Instead of working with the dimensions of the photograph to go into the frame, start with the intended display space you want the photo frame to have on your wall.
How to determine the perfect frame and mount size for an oversized photo frame
1) Using any type of non-permanent adhesive, be it sticky notes, blu-tack or masking tape; outline the area on your wall that you’d want the photo frame to take up. If you’re intending to keep the original size of a photo, such as a 7” x 5”, which is more likely to be a size you’d put inside a display cabinet rather than a wall because of its small size - it’s quite possible and can even look dramatically more appealing in an oversized frame such as a 10 x 8, then using a coloured picture mount to make up the remaining space inside the frame.
2) Once you’ve marked out the area you’d want the frame to fill on the wall, measure those dimensions (height and width). Those will be the size you’d want your frame to be.
3) Using the same approach as outlined in step one, take the measurements from your photo and outline that size inside the frame outline. The idea is that the outer outline will represent the photo frame, and the inner outline will represent the photo. The area between the outer and inner outlines is where you’d fill the space with a picture mount.
You can customise frame sizes to suit your intended display space
It’s quite possible that the area you want the frame to take up doesn’t quite conform to standard sizes of photo frames. When that happens, you only need a frame supplier that offers custom sizes. Now, when custom and picture frames are mentioned in the same sentence, people’s reaction is often, that’s going to be pricey!
That it can be, but the price is determined by the quality of framing material. The most budget friendly type of material is Polcore - an environmentally friendly alternative to wood frames that uses recycled materials to give the appearance of wood. It’s realistic and affordable, which helps bring custom sized frames into the affordability bracket for more people, so if price is a concern, Polcore frames will be the cheapest to customise. They still offer good photo protection that will protect your photos for longer; otherwise, the material wouldn’t be a suitable option for photo frames since longevity is the primary objective.
When you are customising the sizes, don’t think you have to stick with standard metrics. You can go really long in the horizontal, or vertical sizes to make column style frames where only a small photo is placed about a third of the way from the top, and the rest of the internal space filled entirely with a coloured mount board.
An easy alternative to filling larger wall space with small photographs
An alternative option is to go the collective route and display a lot of smaller sized photos inside a multi-aperture picture frame. So, it is worth considering whether you only want the wall space to show one photo in an oversized photo frame, or to frame a collection of photos inside a larger frame designed to house multiple smaller sized photos.
Whatever the wall area space is that you want a picture frame to take up, it’s possible to have it custom cut to fit your dimensions and not stick with the standard sizes of frames. This way, you’re not limited to sacrificing the quality of a photograph in favour of size. You can have the best of both by playing around with the white space you fill inside the frame using a picture mount or select more than one photo you’d like to have on display within the area of wall space you want the frame to take up, and choose a multi-aperture photo frame with enough inserts cut into the mount board for you to insert however many photos you want on display inside the one photo frame.