Monthly Archives August 2010


Hi Gang: Just a quick follow-up on yesterday’s post about the lack of framing and mat sizes for digital photographers.

(1) First, I learned something new about the origin of framing sizes from one of my readers: Paul Brooks, who wrote:

I agree Scott. But, you actually have missed a very important point. 4×5 and 8×10 are aspect ratios of View Cameras, which were translated somewhat with medium format 120 and 220 film sizes, but 35mm frames were approximately 1?x 1 1/2?, the same aspect ratio (1/1.5) that digital cameras have. So, that means that the framing industry was outdated when 35mm was popular. I hated to have to crop or do funny matting to print and frame full frame 35mm when I shot film. It doesn’t look like they will ever learn!

Thanks Paul. Of course, learning this makes the situation even worse than I thought.

(2) I sent emails about the article to the leading photo framing industry magazine, and to a framing industry organization as well. I have no idea if it will help, but I thought it was at least worth a try.

(3) Last night I saw a great comment from Josh Bartell from Craig Frames Inc. He sheds some light on the problem in his comment, which reads:

Hi All, I’m extremely glad that I’ve stumbled on this discussion. It seems that most of you agree that there is major issue in the retail framing industry. I too agree, but from the other side of things; I work for a frame manufacturer.

We have dealt with this issue in the very recent past. Many of our large retail customers seem to be a bit out of touch with the needs of digital photographers and are no longer meeting the needs of the majority of frame customers. So…..we have recently started selling as many sizes as possible online. Although we’re still working on our website, we’ve seen a great response on and

I currently manage our e-commerce division and would love to hear more about what sizes and styles everyone is interested in. We’re offering any size between 3×3 and 24×36. We have 30 sizes that we offer as “stock” sizes, and everything else is considered custom. Again, I would LOVE any input regarding what you need/want for frames and mats. Check out our stuff, give me an idea of what else you need, and I’ll make it happen! The industry might not be listening….but I am.

(4) Also, thanks to my reader Wayne who posted a comment yesterday and suggested we check out He noted that they sell complete framing kits in digital sizes. For example: 13 X 19, premade with glass, foam board and mounting kit for less that $20 (with quantity discounts). It says right on their home page that they offer “Digital Sizes” (of course, we now realize that it’s just “proper” non-cropped sizing, and not related to just digital, but hey—I’m not complaining—at least they offer the right sizes).

Anyway, thanks to everybody who commented, and shared their ideas. Now, if we can just get the rest of the framing industry to listen…..


I don’t usually like to start off Monday with a rant, but…it’s 2010. 10 years into the 21st century. So, why is the framing industry still only making frames and mats in sizes for traditional 35mm film prints? Seriously. Most of the big camera companies stopped making film cameras years ago. Kodak itself has killed off most of their own print film as well because it’s a digital photography world—yet when you go to buy a frame for your photos you are instantly teleported back to the 1990s when it comes to frame and mat sizing.

Who are they making these frame sizes for?

Now, I know there has to be some semi-legitimate reason for this, and I would love it if somebody from the framing industry would share that with all of us, ’cause cropping our images to fit these outdated sizes keeps us all from being able to go into Target or Crate & Barrel (where the iPhone photo above was taken), or Walmart or wherever and buy one of their good looking, inexpensive, off-the-shelf frames.

Photo Labs Get It. Why not Framers?
I’ve talked here before about using as my online lab and I love that they offer print sizes that actually correspond to the sizes of images our digital cameras actually take. For example, I can order prints in 8×12″ format, or a 16×24″ size (rather than 16×20), so it fits the aspect ratio of my digital camera images perfectly without cropping.

But then, if I want to pop that print into a frame from Target, or Walmart, or wherever, I’m out of luck. The frames, and mats don’t fit, so I have to cut it down to size. Ugh! MPIX would frame and mat my 8×12 print as it’s a standard size for them, but that’s not the point. MPIX has caught up, but why hasn’t the rest of the framing industry? I just don’t get it. Why would anyone shooting digital actually want an 8×10 print today?

Maybe It’s Time for some Marketing Spin?
Now, maybe this is a great marketing idea for some frame manufacturer. Maybe they can be “the one” to bring framing into the 21st century, and start marketing a line of “digital ready” frame and mat sizes (by the way; I’m not saying they should stop selling all 8×10 frames, but they should definitely also offer frames that fit digital cameras as well).

Anyway, just seeing that the other day at Crate & Barrel just made me once again scratch my head and wonder why sizes this outdated are still around in such abundance. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas (or conspiracy theories) as to why the framing industry is still in such a fog this far into the game.