When Will We Finally Get Frames and Mats For Digital Camera Images?


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love it if somebody from the framing industry would share that with all of us, ’cause cropping our images to fit these outdated sizes keeps us all from being able to go into Target or Crate & Barrel (where the iPhone photo above was taken), or Walmart or wherever and buy one of their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 MPIX.com 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just seeing that the other day at Crate & Barrel just made me once again scratch my head and wonder why sizes this outdated are still around in such abundance.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.

  1. Couldn’t agree more Scott. I managed a custom frame shop in Lakeland for years and never could understand the pre-sized ready made stuff. It forced everyone to go custom and for many its just not an option due to costs. So, you’re not alone, even those of us that have worked in the industry don’t understand why these companies don’t “get it.”

  2. Scott
    I use Mpix all the time and love the results. For a long time I uploaded my photos with the name only until I realized that I was having to guess the size to reorder everytime, then add to the cart only to delete because I picked 16×20 instead of 16×24. After doing this about 500 times I started including the original size in my shots. At least the printer companies realize that these sizes straight out of camera fit on 13×19!

  3. The hobby/craft store chain “Michaels” has a variety of digital sized frames. I am worried someday they won’t be carrying 8×10 and 16×20 frames when I need them!

  4. I agree! This has driven me nuts for ages! I hate how we pay for 100% viewfinders and compose only later to trash all the effort we put in to making it all fit. I bet you that the market for people with point and shoots taking quick photos is so huge that they appreciate the cropping. How many people do you know that own a camera today of non DSLR proportions? Tons. DSLRs have grown as well, but I think P&S crowd loves the cropping as they are never composing or next to never at least and that little crop has helped them a long way. Plus that huge audience doesn’t have an opinion on this subject and that’s the root issue right there. If there is a petition to change it sign me up!

  5. I agree! This has driven me nuts for ages! I hate how we pay for 100% viewfinders and compose only later to trash all the effort we put in to making it all fit. I bet you that the market for people with point and shoots taking quick photos is so huge that they appreciate the cropping. How many people do you know that own a camera today of non DSLR proportions? Tons. DSLRs have grown as well, but I think P&S crowd loves the cropping as they are never composing or next to never at least and that little crop has helped them a long way. Plus that huge audience doesn’t have an opinion on this subject and that’s the root issue right there. If there is a petition to change it sign me up!

    (sorry if this double posts)

  6. I just bought some 50x50cm frames at IKEA and then had some custom mattes made so that my A4 home prints would fit them. They still need mounted of course. While the mattes weren’t expensive it was a hassle and yet another step to getting the images ready to display on a wall.

    Are traditional frame and matte makers still nostalgic for the good ole’ days and just hoping digital is will ‘go away’? If so that’s a pity because there are terrific business opportunities that aren’t being taken advantage of.

  7. I agree with the point of the post but some of the facts are wrong. Asking why all the frames and mattes are stuck with 35mm sizes is wrong. DSLRS have the same aspect ratio as 35mm. All of these frames and mattes are in the 4×5/6x7ish aspect ration, 8×10, 16×20, etc. I do want better quick and cheap framing options but the fact that is overlooked is that most point and shoot cameras have a 4:3 aspect ratio. Most of the people buying these frames are using point and shoot cameras and the 4:5 aspect ratio is easy enough for them to work around and the industry does not want to change what is doesn’t need to . I want more options for framing in a 2:3 aspect ratio but i am not holding my breath.

    1. when i use my P&S, i make sure it’s in 2:3 ratio b/c i hated having to crop every.single.picture before printing them as 4×6, lest the arbitrary printer’s crop something important. point being, that even w/my P&S, i would love frames that come in a 2:3 ratio b/c that’s what i take all my pics in (both P&S and DSLR).

  8. Finally someone is saying what I’ve been thinking!

    I’ve been offering my clients the choice between standard cropped images and full framed images for some time now. While some still order the 8×10, 11×14, 16×20 many are going to the full framed images so they see their print in the same aspect as they see their proof.

    Its a shame that the framing industry is so far behind the times that they apparently have no idea of where the industry as gone. Like you I use Mpix for processing my prints and while I can order them framed the picture (at least what I am using it for) is not worth the cost. It would be so nice to head into Walmart or some other store to just grab a 8×12 frame.

    Maybe if we started massive online rant they will begin to figure it out.

  9. Um, 10×8, 35mm? No! Come on Scot do you research. 10×8, 5×7 etc are not due to 35mm ratios. 35mm ratios are more in line with 8×12 and A4 paper sizes. 10×8 etc. are from even earlier incarnations of photography and are based on aspect ratios found in plate cameras, 5×4, 10×8, quarter plate, half plate etc.
    I totally agree with the rant but its an even better one when you realise the problem is even older than the move from 35mm to digital, and that it predates even 35mm.
    A little history makes the argument better.

  10. Scott, you need to go to that standard of all things sold via internet, Amazon. They have 8×12 and 16×24 frames. Maybe not a great selection, but they are there. And with all things retail, if there is a market they will come.

  11. Yes, but no!!! What? I assume this is just one of those times when you had a brain fart and forgot reality.

    Yes, we should get rid of the 8×10 format, but to suggest that its because digital has become more prevalent is just ridiculous. Digital, regardless of whether you are using a full frame sensor or the smaller sensors from Canon, Nikon, and others, is roughly the same aspect ratio as 35mm film: 2×3. 35mm is 24×36. That happens to be roughly the size of the sensor in my D700. If I want to print my 35mm negatives full frame, I need to choose to have them done 8×12. Its the same with my digital files.

    And the poster who suggested that 13×19 is a better fit might not realize that the 13×19 (actually 13.9×19.7) is the size of B3 paper, a standard in Europe since 1975 when ISO 216 was agreed on, well before digital cameras came to the consumer market.

    And how many people own cameras with non-DSLR proportions???Probably not that many. I have rented a 4×5 view camera for a weekend, but its not really feasible as a daily camera. Almost every I actually know has a camera with a sensor that has a similar aspect ratio to my DSLR.

    Well, Scott, I am sure you’ll come back to your senses after you’ve woken up this morning. Yesterday must have been an exhausting day…

  12. I couldn’t agree more, Scott. Yes you can get frames from Amazon and similar but if I go into the supermarkets and stores here in the UK the story is JUST the same. Maybe we should start one of those Facebook campaigns to get support for digital frame sizes – who knows, maybe the maufacturers would listen if it wasn’t just photographers moaning! I want to see 2:3 and 4:3 ratio frames everywhere. But then – I offer framed work so I’m happy to sell frames too ;)

  13. OK. You have a point, but I think that there are two more important ones. First is the great missed opportunity of our time, which is the fact that when we went from 35mm film to digital, the format wasn’t changed to something more useful like 3:4 (as it is with digicams). The old 2:3 format was only the result of historical accident anyway and almost always gets cropped for magazine publication. Leica missed the point completely when they brought out the S2.

    The other point is that just because the camera happens to present you with a particular aspect ration, why should you always make images that size. I have just finished teaching a course on which I was encouraging the students not to always use the camera proportions for their images but choose according to the subject being taken. Isn’t that part of the process of expression that we are otherwise abdicating?

  14. So what’s new, I’ve been shooting for a living for over 30 years and honestly don’t ever remember a time where frame sizes where in synch with the formats I was shooting. 35mm there was never any standard sized frame to fit unless you count 5 x 7″ and had a pair of scissors handy. Shot Hasleblad for years, nobody made square frames, shot 6 x 9cm stuff too, yup frames didn’t fit. Ahhh but when I shot 4 x 5″ BINGO they worked, except for the 11 x 14″ of course. Naturally 30 years back there still were not many photographers shooting 4 x 5″.

  15. I am also overseas and could not agree with you more. I also cant stand that all albums, weddings and children, are square. I am referring to the ones that are available for us to paste pictures in them. Either we crop or we have to leave lots of space on sides or on top.

  16. As pointed out by Chase, DSLR and 35mm are the same ratio. So looks like the framing industry did not change for 35mm, so we might be in for a wait. Also most frames sold off the shelf go to consumers who shoot much closer to the 10*8 ratio. 12×8 and 16×24 frames are out there but just not as popular. In the styles where we have both 10×8 and 12×8 we sell more 10×8 by a long way. So I think it is just a numbers game, large store and going to sell what makes the most profit.

  17. Absolutely!! But let’s not stop with frame makers. What about companies like Epson making products specifically for digital photographers. 8 1/2 x 11 Really? 17 x22? Both just a little too small to print an 8 x 12 or 16 x22. It drives me crazy.

  18. Absolutely!! But let’s not stop with frame makers. What about companies like Epson making products specifically for digital photographers. 8 1/2 x 11 Really? 17 x22? Both just a little too small to print an 8 x 12 or 16 x24. It drives me crazy.

    1. >8 1/2 x 11 Really? 17 x22?

      Yup, some of us actually have to proof composed pages. The page size standards are still 8 1/2 x 11 with a two page spread being 11 x 17.

      As Nick and Jeff pointed out, the advent of DSLR’s is moot here, the 24x36mm proportions in full frame systems hasn’t changed. Digital hasn’t changed the disconnect in frame sizes available.

      Go back to older camera systems (8×10, 4×5), the ratio’s don’t see so odd do they?

      1. Plenty of paper companies offer 17×25. And I have found the 13×19 paper size perfect… one sheet can print a 12×18 or cut in half you have the perfect size for 8×12; cut it down into fourths and you have a nice size to print 5×7 on with little excess paper (though I am thinking about experimenting with 6×9 prints).

  19. Thanks so much for bringing this topic up, Scott. Just yesterday, my wife brought me a bunch of “standard” sized frames and asked me to print some photos for the frames. I told her that the photos just wouldn’t look the same as I had to crop, and then I went into my own rant at why we can’t buy frames in the store that fit the digital files that come out of the camera…very frustrating. Luckily, custom frames in Indonesia are dirt cheap (for now), so I rarely buy the ready made frames, but it is very frustrating….someone out there could make a mint of money if they mass produced quality frames to fit our digital files!!

  20. I agree with you whole heartedly here Scott. I supply customers with a choice of 10×8 or 16x12inch prints. Most go for the latter and can easily find frames and pre cut mounts for such prints. However my photographs are usually cropped to 18×12 rather than 16×12 aspect ratio.

    There have been times when customers have recieved a lot less of the photograph and not been happy. Unless they paid me for custom framing there isn’t much more we can do.

  21. This has been the question of the last 10 years in our house. My wife, who does not understand aspect ratios, always asks for photos cropped to 8×10, 11×14, 16×20 and cannot understand why part of the picture is missing when it’s handed to her. “It just doesn’t look the same. What did you do to it?” is always the reply when I hand her the photo. Cutting mats is time consuming and can be expensive. So, I’m with you on this one; it’s time to bring frame manufacturers into the 21st century. And, really, the 8×10 ratio came about because photographers in the early 20th century were shooting 4×5 and 8×10 negatives. I think 100 years is long enough to wait for something as simple as cutting a couple of pieces of wood (or plastic) to make a frame.

  22. Scott – I agree with your post – BUT BUT BUT – was wondering when you would comment on the problems with the Photowalk over the weekend.

    Neither the Worldwide Photowalk Blog, or your Blog, made any comment as the submission deadline ended early, and was then extended two days – all with out any obvious notice.

    I’m a big fan and a daily reader…this was out of character, and disappointing.

    1. Michael,

      I can’t say I noticed the submissions ending “early” from my location, I was feverishly checking till about 11 pm EST and they were still open – that’s certainly not definitive though.

      I’d say it was in good character and welcomed by those with difficulties that they extended it – they certainly were under no official obligation to do so.

      As Dave commented it would’ve been nice to have a heads up as to what was going on for those unaffected, but then again, bringing attention to the fact that 34,000 some odd people could reconsider their final image and delete and re-upload images might’ve put to high a strain on the site – which no one ever wants in that fashion.

      Scott seems like a decent fellow, think the best in people mate.


      1. Hi Jeremy

        No question about it Scott is a quality individual. His is the only blog I read every day. I can’t speak for Michael but in my case there were some very unhappy walkers. This was my first year and I worked very hard as all Walk Leaders did to make it a really special event. I suspect there was just some frustration venting going on.


    2. I would have to agree. A few of us found that, even though we registered and got confirmations, we never showed up on the leader’s list. In my case, I registered my wife and me. She showed up, but I didn’t even though we both got confirmation e-mails. Consequently, I find that I can’t upload a photo. I’ve never gotten a response to my inquiry and, frankly, it left what was largely a great experience on a sour note.

    3. Hi Michael:
      So sorry I haven’t commented on this problem up sooner. I was out of town on vacation with my wife this weekend (and doing my darnedest not to do any work-related stuff while there), but I got an email from my buddy Jeff Revell about the problem on Saturday, so I contacted my Web team, and Brad (who is the project manager for the Photo Walk), and had them fix the deadline time bug (it was a programming glitch in the database we wrote to handle the walk).

      They were able to fix it, but since some people were cut off, Brad suggested we extend the deadline, and I agreed. Now, not everyone experienced this problem (as noted in some of the comments)—it just depended on where you were located in the world, but I believe Brad emailed all the leaders already that we had extended the deadline (that’s what I believe, anyway. I just got into the office—-we had all off-site meeting all morning), and I’m just checking my emails and such now.

      Of course, I hate hearing that anything went off track like this, and I’m so sorry for any walkers or leaders who went through this problem, and going forward, we know to (1) make certain this doesn’t happen again, and (2) make sure we communicate the problem and the fix before now, (and for both I offer my humble apologies).

      Thanks for your patience as we work this all out, and again, I know that stupid stuff like this really stinks for everybody, and I am so sorry for any inconvenience or angst this caused anybody.


      -Scott Kelby

      1. Hi Scott,
        What a honest and sincere apology. Show what a gentleman you are. These things happen and we can never fully prevent them, so don’t beat yourself up.

        Thanks for all you do for the photography and photoshop worlds and by the way, good point on the mat and frames sizes!

      2. Scott,

        I was a leader and have not gotten any email at all about the deadline or an extension of it. I was disappointed that the deadline passed and only 5 photos were submitted. Will it be extended, and until when?

      3. What a bummer this had to happen while you were trying to get some R & R! Certainly understand what its like to try and avoid ‘work’ when one’s normal work routine leaves little time for our beautiful family – who is always so very supportive.

        When I saw the barrage of emails from my walkers I simply asked them to have some patience and assured them that all would be well in time. I think I’ve sent about 4 emails in less than 24hrs so they wouldn’t feel as if they were in the dark. Seems to have worked wonders.

        Communication is ALWAYS the key. I have been expecting an email from Brad – think I noticed he said somewhere he would do this once he knew more info. Still no email from Brad BUT I’ve got all the info I need from the forums and sent a quick update to my walkers first thing morning.

        So thanks Scott for your reply here. Can only imagine the angst it has actually caused you and all your team. I just wish everyone could be a little more accommodating and work through these things with a bit more common sense.

        Finally, I apologise to you on behalf of everyone for seriously derailing your vacation time! I HATE when that happens because no matter how hard you try and NOT think about it, you do.

        Take care Scott and hope the next vacation time is way clear of any large deadlines or major happenings.

  23. I’ve only recently found this out, as I wanted to get one of my images printed and framed. Getting the right size frame was such a hassle. I ended up buying a 10×13″ frame at Wal-Mart only to find out that Wal-mart doesn’t print 10×13″???? I found that one really messed up!! I ended up going in Photoshp and adding white margins to make it 11×14″, which they do print, so that I could end up with an 11×13″ image.

  24. Scott,

    For mats, you can go to documounts.com & get just about any size. They sell kits ready for art shows as well as just mats, backing, bags, etc. They also do custom cut sizes and they are reasonable and there is also quantity pricing.

  25. The only solution I find is to cut my own mats and to use the sectional, assemble it yourself metal frame parts. They are usually in the back of Michaels or available on line.
    But it is an added chore for those of us who like to hang “off-the-wall” sizes on the wall.
    Susan Peden

  26. I have to agree! And you know what is is really frustrating? Why do they sell hotdogs in packs of 10 and the buns in packs of 8? Can’t the two industries get it together since they rely on each other so heavily?

  27. It is the single most frustrating aspect of photography today. If there’s anyone who could bring change to the framing industry, it’s you. I am 100% behind this. It feels more like an injustice than anything else. People need to wake up and smell the 21st century.

    You should rant more often. Thanks for the outlet.

  28. Try framedestination.com. Their founder started the business several years ago after he became frustrated by the same problem: lack of 2:3 aspect ratio mats and frames.

    I’ve used them many times to order frames and mats for shows that I’ve had. Their customer service is excellent. Check ’em out.

  29. The crazy thing is that this isn’t even a digital vs. film thing. Digital cameras are using the same form factor as 35mm, which is basically a 2×3 format. All of our mats and frames are from a 4×5/8×10 format. I don’t think that the overall market forces have been shooting anything 4×5 in the last 50 years. Even the medium format 645 is closer to today’s digital formats. I agree Scott, someone needs to shake things up a bit and toss the frame makers a clue.

    1. The “standard” frame sizes actually correspond to the photo papers created by Kodak over a century ago. Those early paper sizes worked nicely for most film formats prior to 1930! It’s time to update.

  30. I agree, BUT whilst a good idea it will never happen, WHY, well we have the same problem with digital as we had with film, TOO many different aspect ratios. In the film days you could be shooting 35mm, 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9, 4×5 etc, all different aspect ratios which if you wanted to print a certain size then you had to crop the image. Now we have the same with digital where compacts shoot in a 3:4 ratio and DSLRs in a 2:3 ratio plus some cameras shoot 1:1 and some do 16:9 and so again the image needs to be cropped to fit some paper sizes. POSSIBLE ANSWER…when you are shooting why not have the different paper aspect ratios built into the camera so that you see the aspect ratio for your output size when you are shooting, rather like the framelines on a rangefinder camera.

  31. But your custom framers are making a mint off of the DSLR formating so if the Visual Arts Coalitions, Photo shops, and the Photographers don’t get together this won’t happen in the near future. So Who or Whom is going to fire the first shoot.

    Something to think about

  32. I agree to a certain extent Scott. Premade frames can be a source of frustration and as someone who’s been in the photo printing industry for 20 years I’ve had my fair share of experience with trying to fit customer’s print’s into these darn things. But I just wanted to point out that there has always been cropping in making a 10×8 print, even with film. In general, when printing the average enlargement this cropping didn’t matter, in fact it usually enhanced the pic. It’s the same for most consumer’s digital prints now – The cropping isn’t an issue.

  33. Seriously!! I was just in Michael’s framing shop yesterday thinking the exact same thing. Why do I have to crop my photo – ruining the whole image – OR pay the price for custom framing. Frame vendors are seriously behind the times.

  34. While I can’t pipe in on the merits of the traditional-frame-size problems (considering I have yet to print and frame a photo I’ve taken, and I’m not so great at composition that cropping here and there detracts from my photos), I can add my frustration at the lack of square format mats and frames. I would love to see more square options and multiple-opening mats in square formats without having to pay a fortune.

  35. I agree…we take pictures with a concept in mind only to have it cropped when framed! I always try to convince clients to go with the natural aspect ratio when framing. But sometimes those frames are hard to find. Let’s hope it doesn’t take 10 more years to make 8×12 standard!!!

  36. Consider your composition for print is all I can say, I love it that print houses print as they always have, I still shoot alot of 6×7 and 4×5 and its a lovely frame. Sure I love a good panoramic frame, but this looks great when it is considered at the time of shooting and composition and efforts are made to make the image work within printing limits. I can see where you digital hounds are coming from with the 4:3 image, but just don’t rub off the past with one blog post, consider it and work with a printer that meets your needs.

  37. Wow, talk about coincidences… Just yesterday I was looking to buy a 60cmx40cm (24″x16″) frame at a local shop, but the closest they have is 60cmx50cm…

    The same thought occurred to me: who needs these sizes anymore?..

  38. It’s the main reason why we add a lot of room around some portraits in wedding photography. Allows for lots of cropping to different aspect ratios. I’d love for there to be some sanity forthcoming. Probably not with the micro 4/3 ratio and other ratios in use.

  39. You need to go back a bit further to assign blame here. Where do our sizes come from to begin with? This may be a trivia question for some, but the answer is the hardware store in the last century. Photographers originally coated GLASS to make negatives. Where did they get this glass? At the hardware vendor, who sold it for HOMES. So the format we have is from the glass manufacturer. 35MM never did fit so called “standard” sizes, since the standard was for homebuilding, not imagemaking.

    Now that we have established the fact that the market is behind not a decade, but more than a century, who will step up and correct this issue, and make a mint doing it?

    Is there a Kelby Frame Group in the birthing here? Build it and we will come, Scott. Could there be a perpetual support for Springs of Hope Kenya here? Might some cents of every frame sold go to a worthy cause? Could you enlist the digital printers such as Mpix and others to form a coalition to correct this? You swing a big stick in the industry, swing at frame sizes and you will hit a home run clear out of the park.

  40. Too funny Scott. I’ve been singing these blues to my local frame supplier for years and they just don’t seem to get it. I’ve switched over to either having the on-line supplier frame it for me or customize my own faux mat in PS to accommodate the standard size frames (something I learned from one of your boks years ago).

    I look forward to every post. Keep sharing.

  41. I “discovered” this very same problem while I was helping some fellow photographers get their work ready for our association’s juried exhibit. They were faced with a difficult choice: crop a perfectly composed image to fit a so-called standard sized pre-cut mat and frame or spend big bucks for custom matting and framing. I believe this problem has impacted the success of the exhibit in a big way.

  42. AMEN! I use Mpix from time to time, but I also like to make prints from home. It is really frustrating to have to crop down your photo to find a frame to fit. I’ve been griping about this for the past several years. I’d say this is a good rant! :)

  43. Sounds like a business opportunity to me…. setup a “right size” framing store to order from online at kelby.com – surely there’s a custom supplier who can make a line for you and you can brand them…

  44. AMEN BROTHER!!!! I’m tired of being a “Creative Cropper” .

    Same issue with many of the paper manufactures who sell paper in standard and non standard sizes…. but not digital formats.

    Luis Morales
    DLWS Acadia NP 2005

    1. I love Aaron Brothers! I to have found 8x12s etc frames there. They even carry art supplies :)

      I’ve always kinda wondered why when re-size my photos in that they come out 8 x12…but it never really bothered me. I don’t frame very often right now, that might be why.

      Interesting topic though, definitely some possibilities on the business end of it.

  45. Happy to know I’m not the only one that thinks this is ridiculous. It’s near impossible to find 8×12 frames locally without having them custom cut. 8×12 is much nicer then 8×10.

    Sometimes it’s hard for people to stray away from tradition.

  46. I was thinking the exact same thing when I was looking for a 60cmx40cm frame yesterday. All I could find was a 60cmx50cm…

    ps, Safari 5.0.1 crashes when I use it to browse to this site. Didn’t happen until today. Firefox works fine.

  47. MPIX also has a nice size in the 9×12. This is the perfect complement to the 3:2 aspect size of 8×12. The 9×12 fits perfectly the 3:4 aspect ratio of (1) compact camera, (2) 4/3rds dslr systems as offered by Olympus and (3) Micro 4/3rds systems.

    Peter F.

  48. Nothing like pointing out the obvious! I’ve been wondering that since I got my hands on a digital camera some years back. Wondering why frame makers haven’t figured out the market opportunity here!

    Thanks @Fausto for the tip on Aaron Brothers. I’ll go take a look!

  49. As a serious photo hobbyist, I have whined about the lack of 8.5 X 11 frames and mats available. All standard photo paper is supplied as 8.5 X 11 and the first official act after home printing is to cut off the excess and throw it away.

    On another note, I recently had a full-frame shot of a flamingo that would not bear any cropping and found I had to really look to find printing available for a 16 X 24. Go Mpix! They do very nice work. I tried then at Scott’s suggestion and am thrilled at their service and quality

  50. Maybe I’m straying from the topic a bit, but while we are talking about constraints, why are we stuck with an aspect ratio from the start? Why can’t we have a circular or square sensor (which would make better use of our lenses), leaving us free to crop to whatever ratio we want? Then we could really drive demand for the custom framing services of scottkelby.com (@Lyle)! ;)

  51. I would love to see 8×12 frames and mats readily available too but since I mat just about everything anyway, I go to Hobby Lobby – they will cut a simple (one color) mat while I wait if they aren’t super busy – sometimes in less than 10 minutes. Then I frame it myself in an 11×14 frame. Keeps my extra costs down and I still get the size I want.

  52. I’m confused… which one of you did NOT have this “problem” when you were shooting 35mm? If you haven’t been asking this question for… what, the last 40 years… what’s changed? Maybe I’ve been missing something when I look through the viewfinder and force myself to think “crop for 8×10 if you want to sell an 8×10…”

    1. I agree the problem was still there for film. But, most people had no idea what the picture was going to look like until they got it back from Walmart, then had to have it cropped anyway (at the kiosk) to get to look good–if they ever made it that far.

      I was in a office supply store recently where I saw huge prints coming off the large format HP printer that stands on the floor. The pixels were at least 1/16″.

      A lot of people don’t know what a few of us do know.

  53. What I wonder is why when the camera makers came out with the ‘New’ digital SLRs they didn’t change the format to fit the 8×10 shape. It seems like that would have simplified a lot of stuff for them too. Lenses could have been made smaller since they would be covering a more nearly square sensor. For my $0.02 worth I think the camera makers dropped the ball on this one.

  54. Maybe just because I’m used to it, but I like the 4×5 ratio for my prints. The 35mm (film/digital) ratio is a little long/panoramish for me. I find myself shooting for 4×5 even without turning on the viewfinder guides, and then have Lightroom crop everything in one operation. I can easily tweak the reframing while I’m doing other adjustments.

  55. Amen! I’m totally with you, Scott! It drives me nuts not get inexpensive frames for my shot and always having to crop! I hope some of the frame makers out ther get the hint and figure something out!

  56. Thank you for saying this. I hate having to buy a frame bigger than normal and then having all this white space around my photo because it doesn’t fit. Luckily I don’t frame my photos for others or I’d have to crop it like you do so it would fit the outdated frame sizes.

  57. I was just having this conversation with some photog friends a few weeks ago. I feel the exact same way you do … of course MPIX just makes it all so easy so I don’t bother with off-the-shelf frames. But when I give someone a photo and they just want to frame it with some thing from a store … that’s where the problem lies.

    It will be nice when we can stop having to compose our images (portraits, mostly) with an 8×10 crop in mind.

  58. I agree with you Scott (however the 8×10 & 8×12 debate was around in 35mm as well). I am very lucky that my local camera shop sells precut mats in the 8X12 (matted to 11×14) size so that I can buy the cheaper frames. These work great and I have been using them since I was shooting film and getting 8×12 prints.

    I would also love to see the paper manufacturers selling an 8.5×12.5 paper size so we can print 8×12 prints on our consumer level printers. I contacted Ilford about this possibility but was told they didn’t really see that option in the future.

    Maybe if enough photographers start asking about additional options we will see more choices.

  59. I disagree from what I’ve been reading and seeing is their is a reemergence of film and just to drive this one home Fuji just released a new 400 speed pro film as did Kodak.
    As far as frames go they call it a standard for a reason the sell more of that size than any other. If you want another size to be standard the special order 1.5 million 13.56×26.001 frames and you will see that as a new standard…

  60. I’ll try it one more time…

    The point I would like to raise is that maybe we’ve gotten to a point where we can get circular (or square) sensors in our cameras to make better use of our lenses and crop to our hearts content. If the major camera manufacturers moved to this open aspect ratio format, retailers just might see greater incentive to offer different framing sizes.

  61. “When Will We Finally Get Frames and Mats For Digital Camera Images?”

    UH??? Since when did the aspect ratio change for digital cameras? 35mm film has aways produced a 36mm x 24mm negative/slide (3:2 ratio) and current digital SLR’s produce the same 3:2 ratio image.

    I believe there are inexpensive digital point and shoot cameras that may have a 4:3 aspect ratio, you know so the image can fill the old clunky computer CRT’s that we all use to have. Oh, this might be that new feature I read about called “in-camera cropping”.

    Anyway, I agree it would be nice to be able to buy 3:2 frames off the self when needed… However as a photographer selling portraits, this would add just one more level of confusion and decisions needed by my clients when trying to select prints. There are so many choices they have to make now (B&W vs. Color, glossy vs. satin vs. textured, general sizes, etc.). Now let’s add “4×5 or 4×6?”, “5×7 or 5×7.5 or 4.66×7?”, “8×10 or 8×12, or 6.66×10?”, etc.

    If my clients want something different than the standard sizes (4×5, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20, etc.) then by all means I’ll print at any size they need. If fact I sell a lot of 10×20 prints (2:1 ratio).

    If I were selling landscape or art prints, then I would have a different view concerning the need to have frames and mats available to match my 35mm negative… uh, I mean my digital SLR file.

  62. I saw a presentation by wedding and child photographer Augie Chang who emphasized the importance of cropping properly in camera. Someone then asked how he handles 8x10s. His answer? He doesn’t offer his clients 8x10s–not even an option. He does offer 8x12s. So Photographers may have some role to play to kill off the old 4×5 format.

  63. This is a great idea. I would buy for sure. We are supposed to see the composition and then recreate it in post? Nope. Your ideas is so much better and requires less time in our post workflow.

    Just. Makes. Sense.

  64. But this only really applies to cheap, off-the-shelf frames. If you have an image that you’ve lovingly produced, and it’s worth framing, then surely a custom built frame is the only way to go? There’s nothing worse than a picture/photograph that’s spoilt by a cheap frame.

  65. Check out Frame Destination. They sell complete kits. For example:

    13 X 19, premade with glass, foam board and mounting kit for less that $20 (with quantity discounts). They have many styles of metal and wood frames in many sizes, bith conventional and digital-ready.

  66. 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!

    1. Hi Paul:
      Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn’t realized that, and your adding that points pours even more fuel on the fire. I hope the framing industry is listening. :)

      Thanks again!


  67. Many off-the-shelf frames are not cheap nor poorly made. In fact, many are made of the same materials and in the same manner as custom frames. They’re just the wrong sizes. I agree with you Scott, and expect the frame industry to move at a snail’s pace as long as they can sell their current products. I’m still waiting on Epson (and some of my other favorite paper manufacturers) to produce 17″x25″ papers. Frustrating.

  68. Documounts.com gets it and they have mat kits ready for digital images. Aaron Brothers now has a better selection than most when it comes to frames for digital prints, especially 12×16 for 8×12 prints.

  69. Over a year ago, being new to anything but a point and shoot camera, I almost had a heart attack when I printed a few photos for my parents from my DSLR. Heads cut off, half of the photo missing! Aaggh! I had no idea what I had done wrong.
    I was relieved to learn that I hadn’t actually done anything wrong, I was just missing important information about aspect ratios. It would be so wonderful to just concentrate on composing a photograph and not have the thought in my head of if I’ll be able to crop it right for printing.
    Thanks for bringing it up and like everyone else, I hope the framing industry is listening!

    See you in Vegas! :)

  70. I used to work in a photo lab in the eighties. It was really frustrating. I hated trying to explain cropping and framing to people. So I have been on this rant for almost 30 years.

  71. Scott,

    I feel the pain! If I had the capital I would start a framing company for the DSLR images. I hate losing part of the image when I print to frame as well. I don’t know about everyone else here, but, I get extremely attached to the finished image. I have to get some prints from MPIX I love their work I have a few things to ship off to them in a bit.


    If anyone in the comments finds out if someone starting making these frames let us know here; I will do the same.

    Miami, Florida | Nassau, Bahamas

  72. I have to add my voice… I order 8×12 prints from MPix, then framing them is a headache. There are a FEW manufacturers who make the appropriate sized frames, but they’re rare. This is been making me nuts for YEARS!

  73. A little over a year ago and new to anything but a point and shoot camera, I almost had a heart attack when I printed a few photos for my parents from my DSLR. Heads cut off, half of the photo missing! Aaggh! I had no idea what I had done wrong.

    I was relieved to learn that I hadn’t actually done anything wrong, I was just missing important information about aspect ratios. It would be so wonderful to just concentrate on composing a photograph and not constantly have the thought in my head of if I’ll be able to crop it right for printing.

    Thanks for bringing it up and like everyone else, I hope the framing industry is listening!

    See you in Vegas! :)

  74. The frame and mat manufacturers are the modern-day equivalent of the buggy whip makers at the turn of the last century. They’re obsolete but don’t know it yet. The key is for everyone to stop buying the products! Don’t crop to 8×10 anymore. Don’t buy mats or frames in these sizes. I know it’s troublesome (and more costly) to get correct sized ones, but if we expect the manufacturers to give us what we need we have to stop purchasing what they give us today. If there’s no market for the incorrect sizes, they’ll make the correct sizes. But as long as folks continue to buy the old ones – why stop?

  75. I here ya Scott. This has baffled me for a couple of years now. It’s a goldmine waiting to happen. I can’t believe a company like Aaron Brothers hasn’t jumped on this already. They have a few but not many.

  76. Uggh! This is so true and I thought I was the only person bothered by this haha. And like someone said earlier, it’s totally not JUST the framing industry, it’s also the people who makes paper. I mean really guys, we spend 800 plus dollars for a professional Epson printer and then cant find paper in a professional 8×12 size? That makes no sense.

  77. On a related note, why can’t the digital camera manufacturers allow us to shoot in a different format? why does it have to be 3:@ all the time. For many shots I prefer 5:4 or 1:1. Why can’t I select that and compose accordingly? I always have to see it in my head and hope I get it right.

    I prefer to do zero Post processing. which means I need flexibility with all my gear, or at least the option of different gear. With an EVF it should be trivial to adjust your picture ratio as you use the viewfinder. 1:1, 5:4, why not even 5:7 or 1:3?

  78. Scott I am soooo on the same page with you. I have aske this question at every PhotoPlus f expo or the last 10 yearsand this is the answer I get from every frame maker and portfolio maker. “13x19and 8.5 x 11 are not a photographic sizes. You know you could cut the paper.” How about Frame manufacturers get with the 21st century? 8×10 11×14 and 16×20 are not Digital print sizes. My personal favorite printing “go figure” was I was in an art supply store looking for a portfolio for 24×30 inch prints. What I found was a portfolio that 23×31 inches I guess if I was doing my prints by volume.

  79. Okay, here goes: I own a custom frame shop and am the evil one charging you unfortunates astronomical prices and laughing all the way to the bank.
    Firstly, I’m going to ditto what Greg said, if it’s a piece you’re proud enough of to display, then maybe it should be treated accordingly. It’s possible to get a nice looking frame job for not a lot of money.
    Secondly, the parts used to make a typical ready made frame are non-archival and don’t include UV filtering glass. They are cranked out based on price alone, and you get what you pay for.
    Lastly, it’s not the frame industry you’re mad at, it’s the companies who produce cheap products at the highest profit level possible, and when this item stops selling, they’ll shut their doors and move on to the next lucrative product. The entities belching out this product are not framers, just business men and women.
    And one last thing, after rent, equipment, education etc. we picture framers don’t really make the big bucks.

  80. Totally with you on this Scott; surely in 2010 companies would now be supplying ready made frames for images from digital cameras.

    As a photographer I find it incredibly frustrating when a client places prints in a frame 10″ x 8″ etc but to do so has to cut the image down; hence completely changing the crop and overall feel of the image.

    Still, thankfully there are companies out there such as MPix in the US and Kaleidoscope in the UK that are up to speed with today’s imagery.

    Rant completely accepted and understood Scott :)
    All the best to you,

  81. You are so right about that! The native aspect ratio for all the DSLRs that I own are native to a 8×12 format. I hate cropping to an 8×10! I rarely crop because I like to compose my frame in the camera and retain my resolution. I usually end up buying a floating frame for my 8×12 prints. Sure would be nice to walk into a store with ease and by a frame for an 8×12! Thanks for posting your concern Scott. Take care man

  82. I am so with you on this!! I bought a $1200 professional mat machine so I could frame my own work. I have always shot full frame and it has had its frustrations. I hate my images when I have to crop them down to the ‘old’ format. You go Scott!! Tell ’em!

  83. Ok, so we all agree. Why don’t you use your marketing power and figure out where to send this post with the comments attached and get things changed. If you and your team put your minds to it, maybe it will happen.


  84. In Aus my local frame shop has cottoned on to supplying 8×12″ and 16×24″ frames and matts which is a big help to my business. If the frame size is not available in the correct ratio I sell pre mounted Acryclic or Craftwood mounts.

  85. Agreed. The majority of the prints I get form Adoramapix are 8×12 or 16×24. I wish Walgreens would start making that size as well for when I need prints quick (even though Adorama’s prints look way better). I hate it that it’s impossible to fine frames for these shots too. Thanks for posting this!

  86. 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 ebay.com and amazon.com. 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.

  87. Dude..I couldn’t agree with you more. I drives me nuts trying to find the right frame….my solution was convincing my significant other to learn how to frame. Now, when I’m done shooting I say honey can you make that a 8X12..in black please…;)

  88. Dude..I couldn’t agree with you more. It drives me nuts trying to find the right frame….my solution was convincing my significant other to learn how to frame. Now, when I’m done shooting I say honey can you make that a 8X12..in black please…;)

  89. Hey Scott

    I agree. And it’s not just the framing options that are a source of frustration for me. It’s also the PAPER options for the wide format inkjet printers! To wit, I just bought a {glorious} Epson 3880. Unfortunately, there are very few options for 17×25″ paper out there. Red River has some, Harmon, but not sure what else. I’d love to see Epson Exhibition Fiber in 17×25″. 13×19″ to accommodate a 12×18 image is commonplace, so why not for the wide format as well? Likewise for Ilford Gold Fibre Silk. Or Hahnemuhle.

    Just seems like a surprising gap in an otherwise richly populated market.

  90. Thank goodness someone with muscle has finally made this an issue. Framers, pay attention! In the meantime, what I’ve done is to have mats made (art supply stores do it) that fit whatever size photo I print on the inside, and then make the mat large enough to fit the “normal” size frames out on the market. In other words, I put my 8×12 pic in a mat that fits the picture and then is cut to fit the outside of a store bought frame; for example, I put the 8×12 in a standard 11×14 frame (or whatever next larger size there is at the store). A pain, but it works. I also found a framer that custom makes a frame for me to house my larger prints, and I can then just call up and order more of them whenever I want. It’s a little more expensive, but it makes for a nice finished product. Of course, the bottom line is, like you, I want to be able to buy them OFF THE SHELF!

  91. THANK GOD somebody with a voice has finally brought this discussion to light, I have been feeling this frustration for years. The issues I have with frame/mat sizes is largely what pushed me to start doing all of my big enlargements as canvas gallery wraps. Now I love my gallery wraps, but I would LOVE to be able to get 8×12 and 12×18 prints of some of my photos and actually frame them!

  92. Hey Scott! Thanks for bringing this up. Can you use some of your industry clout and get the frame makers (such as Fedco) to put more 1:1.5 aspect ratio frames on the shelves? I find stores such as Kohl’s or Target have great prices on 4:5 ration frames. It would be great to be able to get those kind of prices on 1:1.5 too.

  93. Two thoughts (the second is more constructive):

    1) Why do we shoot with any of these formats? If you were designing a rectangle to use as the basis for capturing and displaying art, why wouldn’t you chose the Golden Rectangle (1:1.618 or one-to-phi)? The closest formats that match this are 3×5″ (1:1.667) and the European flat screen TV standard (1:1.66). Anyway…

    2) Given the variety of aspect ratios available in digital sensors, paper, frames, monitors, and TVs, still photographers need to learn to learn the motion picture and TV production technique of “shoot and protect”. Many movies are shot in Cinemascope (2.35:1) while traditional TV was 4:3. In the early ’80s, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) adopted 16:9 as the standard for HDTV because it was the geometric mean between Cinemascope and analog TV. “Shoot and protect” is the technique whereby you record every scene inside a “virtual” 16:9 window within the native 2.35:1 or 4:3 format. That way, when your TV show or movie goes to HDTV or DVD, you don’t lose anything important. For still photographers, this means that we shouldn’t zoom in too tightly in the camera so that we have some real estate around the edges that we can afford to crop off to match whatever format we later chose to print and frame.

  94. To make matters more confusing, digital SLRs produce images with a 3:2 aspect ratio while most P&S cameras produce 4:3 images. We’ll need two sets of frames to meet the needs of both kinds of photographers.

  95. Another thought: when you say that seeing 8×10 frames make you think of the 1990s, I think you mean that they remind you of the Ansel Adams era, when 8×10 large format cameras ruled the roost. When 35mm film came along, we had to crop our images to fit an 8×10 frame, just as we do now for our 3:2 digital SLR shots. It’s the same amount of crop—a 35mm frame is also 3:2.

    I agree that I’d like to see frames for 3:2 images, but no frame is going to meet the needs of all digital photographers when you take into consideration the P&S users.

  96. Scott et al,

    Don’t blow a gasket man! Just hop in the car and run down to Michael’s. They have a pretty good number of frames in all the typical digital sizes up to 24×36. However the catch is similar to Henry Fords Model T. Any size as long as it is black. And you can’t have a mat.


  97. I have worked in the wholesale frame industry for 35 years and i can tell you the frames we stock are what sells the most, plain and simple. We try new sizes and ask our customers for suggestions and the suggestions are all over the place with digital so we have trouble finding a consensus. We can custom make your frames to any size and would happy to do it at ready made prices if you order as few as six at a time.
    our new Eco Line is a vailable in 16×24 as a stock item and we would gladly make it 8×12.
    We took 12 plain black 8×12 frames to a regional convention this year and we still have some of them. We took two stacks of 11×14 and 16×20 frames and they sold out.
    I still would be glad to help any of you though.
    Mark Lehman
    Culver Frames
    Lewis Center, Oh.

    1.  I simply do not understand this.  The problem of aspect ratio for photos and frames is a massive issue for probably 90% of photographers?  Surely it makes obvious sense that if camera sensors are based on a 3×2 ratio then frames should be the same?  IMO people who still shoot film are few and far between, so it wouldn’t hurt for it to be them that had to hunt around a bit.  My composition in camera is 95% of the time left exactly as I shot it, which means that there are tight confinements, so to have to crop important parts of a photo out to allow for frame sizes?  Ludicrous.  What would be the point in learning good composition only to have to then start allowing ‘that bit extra’ to account for cropping for the frame?

  98. This has long been a bone of contention with me. Happily, I have found places online where I can get 11X14 mats with 8X12 cutouts. So I can buy frames at Michael’s or other local places. You just have to search. And yes, they should be standard, but you know how long it takes to get standards changed.

  99. Hi Scott,

    It’s not just the framers. the photo clubs still demand 40 x 50 cm (that’s 16″ x 20″ less a tiny bit) for competition entries, even though only 1 in 10 of their members uses film, and of those only 1 in 20 use it in 1/4 plate size rather than 35mm 2:3 aspect ratio.

    I find that this is one of the reasons for doing my own canvas — 8″x12″, 14″x20″ and 20″x30″ (2″ wrap) all are easily sourced frame sizes

  100. So can anyone please tell me where I can find online, 11×14 mats for 8×12 prints? At least that way I can mat my prints without cropping and still find a frame for them.

  101. I currently have a client requesting high quality portfolios and for the life of me, I CANNOT find portfolios in an aspect ratio that correctly fits my photos – 8×12.

    It seems that portfolios are sold specifically for 8×10 or 11×14 prints which doesn’t even make sense for my application. ALL of my prints would have to be severely cropped to fit the portfolios and that is not an option.

    Do you guys on here have any recommendations on where I should look or how I can resize the aspect ratio on my photos to fit the portfolio sizes without cropping all of my images?

    Thanks a ton in advance!

    – Chris

  102. Too funny Scott! A few months ago I too went on a rant about frame sizes. Back in February I wrote an open plea to frame manufacturers……linked here.

    I am so glad I’m not alone in this frustration! My business partner offers custom framing as well, but that’s not the point. The generic frame makers need to get on board here. :)

  103. Sorry if someone already mentioned this (only read this page of comments), but this goes all the way back to film. In photography school I was taught that a frame of film is the ratio it is because of the “golden ratio” or “golden mean”. We where told that this was supposed to be the most aesthetically pleasing dimensions for photo/painting etc.
    So I went out carefully composed my shots and came back to the darkroom to find out that photo paper comes in 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, etc.

  104. it is now 2012 and I am still frustrated! Any solutions? I recently discovered Mpix and love it! I have ordered some beautiful prints in 8×12 and 6×9 and can’t find any frames! I get the history of photography but STILL why is no one selling special sizes for digital prints??

  105. 2016, still running into this. I can get my photos printed at Walmart, walk back to the frame aisle, and find the same range of sizes my great grandfather used (plus 8.5×11, because home printers). I get that you might want to reframe an old photo, but 99.9% of frame buyers are people who just had to have the need for cropping explained to them.

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