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Sorry if I am doing this wrong; I'm not aware of the 'forum etiquette' as I am new to this site. 

I have been displaying prints in frames at art shows, but they take up a lot of space.  I have many more photos I would love to display, but am not sure how to do it without damaging them.  I love the idea of placing them in a scrapbook so people can flip through them, but I do not want them to get bent.  I've also thought of simply showing 4X6 prints as proofs, offering a variety of different sizes in which the photograph can be purchased.  Any suggestions?

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Matted with backing in clear archival bags from

Then displayed in a bin or portfolio.

Larry Berman

Thank you!  I was working on a system like that, but it didn't look near as crisp and neat.

Hi Jennifer.  When I first started doing outdoor shows, I too thought of displaying small proofs and having folks order what they want.  "Seems like it would be 'way cheaper to do that, than to make matted prints in different sizes and lug them around from show to show," I reasoned. 

And then I learned the psychology of art shows by doing a few of them. ;-)  In the vast majority of cases, folks want and need to see the finished product, and visualize how it will look on their walls.  As Larry and others have said many times, offering two sizes in your browse bins is a good way to provide the customer with choices, but not too many.  You don't want to confuse customers with too many choices, that causes decision paralysis.  :-)  Pick a smallish size and a larger size for your browse bins.  What's a "small" and "large size"?  That's going to depend on a number of things:  The size your work looks best in, the market you'll be selling in, what sizes you can most easily transport, etc.   You can always take a special order for a customer that just has to have a larger size.  :-)

As for me, I carry two sizes in bins: 8x10s matted to 11x14; and 11x14s (or 10x15s) matted to 16x20.   Keep your mat sizes standard; customers equate "non-standard mats" with "If I buy this, I've got to go to a custom frame shop and spend a fortune."  (That is not necessarily true, but you'll have a tough time convincing customers of that.  Perception is reality.) 

Good luck!


I've been doing 8x12 prints in 12x16 mattes, and 12x18 prints in 18x24 mattes. These are most of what I have in the flip bins, although there are a few smaller 10x13 matted pieces that are a low price point and won't be replaced when they are all gone. I keep about 6-8 pieces of 16x24 prints in 24x30 mattes in the flip bin also.
Thank you so much for your reply.  Do you ever have issues with them not being 'standard' size?  Example: do customers ever complain about it?

 :-) Those are standard sizes anymore and you can buy ready-made frames in those sizes at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and others. Years ago just about the only standard frames were 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20, 20x24, 24x30. Most of those never suited 35mm format aspect very well (2x3) and were more for 4x5 aspect ratio. With the advent of digital imaging, more frames are made to suit those aspect ratios, which are most commonly 2x3 for dSLRs and 3x4 for the point and shoot formats. The sizes I use give an even border around on the mattes, a 2 inch border on the 12x16 mattes, a 3 inch border on the 18x24. The 24x30 is the compromise with 4 inch and 3 inch borders, but at that size the difference is negligible.

 Almost everything I have is also shown hanging in frames, so the question doesn't come up about something being non-standard. There are some low-end price point prints that I also have that are printed on letter sized paper, 8.5x11, usually from a 3x4 format  camera and those will print nicely as a 7.5x10 image and will leave a 1/2 inch border which makes it self matting for dropping in a matching frame which is also now a standard frame size. Those are not in the flip bin as the price point is too low for me to bother matting.

Thank you!  I think you answered the majority of the obsessive thoughts I've had in my head while thinking this through.  I'm sticking with showing the 8X10 prints, and I actually have a couple framed 16X20 prints, so that will work out good.  I agree that keeping it basic and simple as possible is the best way to go.  Some of the easiest sales I've had is due to someone just walking buy and stopping because something caught their eye.  I don't want to muddy it up with 'orders' or anything else.  I feel like I've learned so much, and I just joined this site yesterday.  I'm excited to learn more.  Thanks again!

I use RediMat to get my mats.  They have kits that come with the mat, backing boards and clear bags.  They have various sizes.  I also went to Michael's and purchased some crates that I spray painted with some textured paint.  I used them to display my prints.  You can also use different sized canvas print racks to display your work.  I mat 5 by 7 in 8 by 10 mats and 8 by 10 photos in 11 by 14 mats.  I also have some framed prints that are available.  


I was just going to ask where the best places are to get the kits!  Thanks for reading my mind! :D
Awesome advice! I'll be showing at my first show on Nov. 5-6 and then two more Nov. 19-20 and 26-27 and am going to do basic things and then upgrade display, etc. for January 2012. The artist I purchased my Craft Hut from, provided me with some custom designed frame hangers so my frames can hang gently from the tent structure. I have two large display racks for the prints and I'll be selling 5 x 7 matted to 8 x 10, 8 x 10 matted to 11 x 14 and 13 x 19 matted to 18 x 24 there.  I'm thinking of printing the larger work on canvas to keep the weight on the tent frame minimal. The artist I purchased the tent from hung 3 very large and heavy double framed pieces that were 60 x 90 (somewhere like that) and the tent stood up fine. I guess I'll learn as I go. Love these forums! Awesome information for newbies! :-)
I've often wondered if there were hangers for displaying frames.  But after reading all this, I'm stoked to get rid of the frames (except for the huge prints).  I'm a natural clutz, and toting around photos and frames freaked me out.  Two of them were broken last week - but for once it wasn't my fault!  The art show didn't go so well this month, but our advertising was awful.  I'm taking charge of it this month, and I can't wait to tackle it.  Thanks for responding.  These forums ARE awesome!
BTW! Good luck Jennifer, hope your first experience is a great one! :-)


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