View Full Version : Step Mounts?

04-23-2010, 03:53 PM
I have a question. Last year on my entry reviews I have to say I was really disappointed and was not going to even submit entries this year. I know it's the last minute, but think I've changed my mind on that.

But to my question, on the critiques of my entries last year, it seemed to be much less of what I did right or wrong and much MORE on, "it wasn't a step mount". Very disappointing on my end. I'm not a step mount person except maybe in wedding album covers and other book covers.

Step mounts are not really representavive of the majority of my work.

So what is up with the Step mount thing, seems from my critiques last year that was the biggest almost only thing they had criticism of. I quote "It's full frame, you might have done better to use a step mount". This on all 4 entries.

So why is the step mount considered so important?????


04-23-2010, 06:42 PM
Two issues here.
First you got a less then helpful critique. For awhile now I have suggested that "how to give a critique" be a part of the judging class. To my knowledge that hasn't happened yet. The squeaky wheel gets the grease so until people are giving PEC the feedback that the critiques are not helpful then the assumption will be that everything is fine. But that being said I know that the majority of critiques are great. Those satisfied people don't speak up. It's like 98 people can go to a restaurant and get a good meal and you never hear a word about it but 2 people can have a bad meal and they get vocal. So then people assume the restaurant is bad. Even though it has a 98% sucess ratio.

The next issue is step mount. Presentation is one of the 12 elements. It's probably not one of the most important but it does play a part. Carl when you create a portrait for someone how do you present the finished print? Is it in a frame or a folder? Or at least in a box or wrapped in tissue. I doubt you just open the lab box, pull out the print and hand it to the client. A step mount or border is the finishing touch just like a frame, a folder or the packaging you use on client prints. So if you don't like the smaller sized image within the bigger background, don't do it. But then put a narrow border around the image - like maybe 1/4" of black. As a judge we don't take off for what a maker doesn't do, but we reward choices that enhance the image. If you have the option to enhance your entries with a little presentation, why wouldn't you choose to do so? FWIW, I don't sell prints with step mount treatment to my clients. But I don't hand them raw prints with no frames or folders either. So given that I can't put a frame on competition prints, a step mount or border is the next best choice.


04-24-2010, 12:41 AM
Hi Carl;

I am not an expert but did get my Craftsman by teaching Photoshop. You could get phenomenal scores with step-mounts IF created far away enough to have the main subject(s) fall on a golden mean point (quadrants) or fall within the Bakker Saddle. Step Mounts are great for putting subjects in the right position. By using a good accent line they also give a very dynamic presentation. I entered step-mounts before Photoshop - physical step mounts. So, I've used them for a long time. Competition style can also be used for clients, can be only for competition, or eventually clients may start asking for step-mount style.

04-24-2010, 03:07 AM
Appreciate the feedback Craig, Keith! Your explanations make a lot of sense.

I guess I just didn't quite get the presentation aspect of step mounts in the competition and even for clients. My mind sometimes gets too focused on certain things and isn't always as open as it should be. :eek:

Spent the day working on some prints, nothing like waiting to the last minute, and I say I won't do it again every year. LoL

Thanks again! :)