five tips for preparing images for an exciting new art exhibition from printing to framing pictures

Last month some of my work was exhibited in Littlehampton as part of their art trail. Preparing my work for the exhibition took quite a long time. So today I thought I would share how I create my exhibitions from printing to framing pictures.

Preparing the print

Once the image is captured and I have edited it to create a fine art photograph, the next stage is to print it. This for me is probably the most nerve-wracking part of the process. There are just so many things that can go wrong, which can lead to disappointment with the final print. Here are some of the stages I go through to ensure I minimise that risk.

Calibrate your monitor

The most important part of printing your images is to use a calibrated monitor. It is really surprising how much difference a calibrated monitor can make to your images. There is nothing more frustrating than editing an image to have moody cool tones, only to discover on printing that the image has turned out warmer than expected.

Monitor calibrations devices are widely available, and although may feel like a huge expense initially, it will pay off when you save yourself all that money from producing bad prints.

Proofing the print

People use different methods to carry out this part of the process. For me, I zoom into my image, so I am viewing it at 100%. I then use a curves adjustment layer to check for any dust spots or anomalies. When creating composite images these anomalies can be anything from harsh straight lines from the edges of a photo, or blending errors.

soft proofing an image before sending it to print as part of the picture framing process

soft proofing

In software such as Photoshop, you can add colour profiles from your print lab or printer. You can download the relevant profile and then create a colour proof in your software. In Photoshop this is created by clicking on view-proof setup. This will then adjust the colours to a more realistic view of how they will look once printed. Remember to come out of the proofing view before saving the image for printing.


To print at home or use a print lab is a personal choice. My preference is to use a professional print lab. I choose this for a number of reasons:

  • I have a very cheap printer at home
  • Ink is really expensive
  • I like to print on fine art paper, which is too thick for my printer to handle.
  • printers drive me crazy! They never seem to do as I tell them – wasting so much time, ink and paper.

Framing Pictures

The day has arrived and your prints have come back neatly packaged from your print lab. I love the excitement of opening my prints, it feels like Christmas! I am always slightly nervous in case they are not what I was hoping for, but it is still exciting.

I use Loxley Colour for my prints, and the images are always so neatly packaged and layered between sheets of acid-free tissue. I just love the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink and turning each sheet of tissue over carefully to reveal the next image.

Choosing frames

This can be a minefield in itself. There are so many colours, shapes, and designs, it can be difficult to know what to choose. I tend to use a simple black frame with acrylic. The acrylic is more vulnerable to scratching. However, it is lightweight and less reflective than glass.

In a previous job, I worked in a museum and art gallery. I picked up a lot of useful information in this role about framing pictures. So for this reason I choose to frame my images myself. This is also something some people choose to outsource. Again it is personal preference, based on your budget, time and experience.

I wear gloves when handling my frames and images as I do not want to get fingerprints on the inside of the acrylic or on the prints. Another downside of using acrylic is that when you take off the protective film it can create static. So I have an anti-static cloth on hand to wipe away any particles.

Once the image is in place and the back is secured, I seal the back with picture framing tape to prevent dust and moisture from getting into the frame.

Then it is time to fix the d rings and string. There are a load of tutorials on youtube showing how to do this, so I won’t go into detail here.

framing pictures for an exhibition

Framed pictures

The job is complete and there is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction to see my images framed and exhibition ready!

framed pictures ready for exhibition
framed pictures ready for exhibition

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