Category: Photography Business

Why is custom framing more valuable than ready-made frames for family portraits?

Family portraits custom framingSo, what’s the big deal with custom framing versus big box store ready-made frames? When doing research, I had to ask this question to a custom framer. “Why is custom framing so expensive?!” I just about dropped dead when I heard the prices.  Here is what I found.  The difference between cheap ready-made frames and custom frames, boils down to one single factor, PURPOSE. One is made to last and one is made to temporarily display.


The reason custom framing is more valuable is because it is made to preserve the photographic artwork.  You will notice that all materials used are well thought out from beginning to end.   The matting and backing are acid free archival materials as well .  Why use acid free paper and backing?  Because they are made to last more than 100 years.


There is no denying that you can get some stunning custom framing designs. You can find them in artisan carved and stained woods, beautiful veneers, intricate designs, metal and resins. They just look stunning.  These are statement pieces that will have you oohing and ahhing.  You will love coming home that’s for sure.


Whereas a ready-made frame uses inferior materials for temporary display purposes.  It’s purpose is not to preserve the art which in turn exposes it to premature deterioration.  As for the designs they are usually pretty basic.  You can tell most materials used are cheaper plastics versus wood.  Not to say that you cannot find inexpensive wood ready made frames but in general most are cheaply made.  You will find regular cardboard or other acidic materials used  for the backing, as well as glues that can damage your prints.  These chemicals can make your pictures turn yellow and cause discolorations.


Take for instance the warping Mona Lisa.  Experts with the national geographic say, “it’s nothing to smile about.”  In the article on  by Stefan Logren…This is what he had to say,”it’s deterioration has aroused some worry.  Nobody wants to touch it.  It is an extraordinary rich portrait.”  Another influential art professor from Columbia University David Rosand explains a photograph this way….”This is what portraiture is about…an effort to stop time.  The beauty of that face will last forever, but in life it will not.”


Curators have enclosed the Mona Lisa behind a thick glass to guard against changes in climate temperature.  This brings us to another topic glass.  The natural elements  such as light even a fraction of direct sunlight can begin to affect images.


The upside with ready-made frames is that they are a good cheap alternative for maybe an expo when you need to display lots of art temporarily.  I did find it handy to buy a whole bunch of box store ready-made frames for an exhibition a few years ago.  It was nice to find a few frames with a whole bunch of detail and the borders were thick.  They were great as long as nobody touched them because they would figure out they were really plastic.  My little secret:-) The real drawback was getting my  prints into these standard frames.  Even when my prints and frames were supposed to be the same size the ready-made frames where inconsistent with their sizes. Fitting the my prints in was a hassle and it caused my pictures to buckle.  I  had to reprint a few of the images because you could see the lumps in the image due to the inconsistency in the frames.


This had me convinced to make the switch for displaying my personal family images as well as my clients/friends and upgrade to durable materials.  This last year I began to have a minimalistic approach to my life.  I kept only the things that I love around.  So, I figured if I’m going to only have less things, why not make sure they are well made.


If you are the type of person that has hired a professional photographer to take images of your family, you know the value hiring the right person and the value of capturing your family portrait in this given time.The fact that you know that these moments the photographer captures are invaluable makes sense that you would want to protect your investment by displaying it in a frame worthy of it’s contents.

Family Portrait Photographer Sherwood Oregon Photographer Tigard Washington Photography 2014-11-28

So, the bottom line is a custom frame looks way better.  It is made from high quality materials and is made to protect your beautiful family portraits for years to come.


Why print and why not “just” digitals?

Friends, time is but a fleeting moment.  It moves forward before you know it, the past is no longer the present. I dream of living forever, most people do.  Prints let you stare at the past.  Digital technology changes quickly and before you know its unusable. Let me explain why I’m pro prints.


Let me ask you a question.  How many pictures do you have stored on your phone?  Okay these are rhetorical questions.  I don’t want you to actually tell me.  If you think about it you’ll get the point.  How many pictures do you have stored on your desktop computer?  How many pictures do you have on your digital camera?  How many pictures do you have stored on your laptop, iPad or iPod? I’m not guessing 20 but possibly thousands. I’m also guessing years worth of precious memories.


How many of you have upgraded your cell phone? Got it stolen or plain lost?  Had a computer crash?  Had to delete photos because you’ve reached the maximum capacity?


What are some of the methods of saving your memories or images? Let me guess you use a floppy disk? Nope!  I know you use a CD? That is so 2008. Apple doesn’t even make computers with a CD Drive.  Well all the devices mentioned but they can all be gone in an instant so let’s think outside the box.  The cloud right? Sometimes your services provider comes with a little space for saving your images to the cloud but honestly 5 mg just won’t cut it before you need to buy more space. An external hard drive is what most people should do but ah who does that? Well, pro photographers do.  Oh, let’s not forget memory sticks, those come in handy. While it is the current technology, I assume in a few years they just might be long gone just like the floppy disk, not having a reasonable way to be viewed.  Yes, I use current technology.


But  really the only reliable form of archiving your pictures is by printing them.  How many of you have been given a family heirloom of your family legacy, like pictures of your grandparents, parents or maybe pictures of when you were little? Hopefully, your fortunate enough to have a few.  I managed to save a few family photographs that brought my baby sisters to tears, good tears. How many years worth of pictures do you take? What kind of memories are you preserving? Are all your pictures selfies? I know they’re not.  You probably have taken pictures of important things like graduating high school, college, family vacations, weddings.  Important mile stones and time frames like baby’s first steps, missing tooth moments, first day of kindergarten, last day of middle school along with random moments and events.  How about pictures of the family with the first child, when the kids are teens, when they have their own families, when we look good, goofy and plain bad.  Pictures of when we are young and when we are old.  Pictures of us when we are here and when we are gone.


So let’s talk prints.  How many of your pictures have you printed in the last few years? If you are like most people probably none.  Let me ask you, what pictures will you show your kids and grandkids when you get older.  Will your cell phone be around? I doubt you’ll be able to power up your current cell phone when your 85 to show the grandkids.  Will we even have Facebook then?


When we spend so much time and preparation to get your photography session perfect…why would we send you home without properly printed archival images?  I want you to have an heirloom print on your fireplace to show the family.    I value my work my clients and I value your memories.

Sending you home with just digitals is a disservice to you.  Why would I use thousands of dollars worth of gear to create a beautiful well rounded portrait session only to have you figure out the printing on your own?  Many years ago when I started out I  tried Walgreens, Costco, Target and Walmart labs only to get green skin tones, highly saturated images, cheap paper or altered images as part of their color balancing. When I went pro I realized I needed a calibrated computer monitor to make sure all the colors were balanced  just the way they were when the images where taken, not only in camera settings but with professional editing software and completed with professional printing.  The finished products are delivered in a beautiful print on photographic paper that is acid free which means that it last at least 100 years with proper care.


So…now you know. Why I’m pro prints.  Get the picture?


Your friend and professional photographer

Alicia Vazquez

Ciao Baby!

Ravishing Photography is a boutique business?


You may have heard of a boutique photography services. What does that even mean? No I’m not talking about a fancy store front in the best neighborhood. Even though, Sherwood Oregon does happen to be one of the best neighborhoods in the country. It’s not a word you throw around lightly.  Ravishing Photography is a boutique photography company specializing in Portraits and Weddings. We don’t shoot everything because we have found our niche. The world is our canvas.  We shoot on location as well as offer in home consultations.


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