View Full Version : Competition mats

06-28-2012, 05:08 AM
Should the mat for competition prints usually be black? I know I've read that it needs to compliment the photograph, but in looking at many of the meriting prints, I feel like most of them have black mats. Any thoughts? Thanks!

06-28-2012, 06:12 AM
Hi LeAnne,
It all depends on the image. Sometimes, if the image is a low key, a black mat with a very thin gray or colored keyline works well (with emphasis on thin - if the keyline is too wide, it becomes a distraction instead of an enhancement). If it is a high key, then a white or a lighter mat with a thin gray keyline or a colored keyline with a color picked up from an important point in the image to help draw attention to that area of the image often works well. If color plays a major part in the image, sometimes a colored or textured mat works best. Another option is to duplicate your image, blur it, change the opacity or density of it and use that for the mat - just make sure that it is blurred enough so it doesn't become a distraction. It really depends on the image, and there is no hard and fast rule - it all depends on which treatment visually accentuates the image or improves the presentation.

06-28-2012, 03:47 PM
I would avoid doing the duplicated image as a presentation, it is usually busy and distracting. Pick a mat/border color that works with image and mood. Keep the keyline very small and again try to sample a color or tone in the image to use a your keyline.

06-28-2012, 04:30 PM
One thing to think about using a black matt...make sure your image has good blacks or the black matt will make your image look underexposed.

06-28-2012, 08:18 PM
Dave is right - I should have been a bit more clear on what I meant in my post - I don't want to mislead you - the blurred image technique can be distracting if it is any at all busy. I've used the technique in the past, but usually for darker and low key images where I wanted just a hint of detail in the black border so that it didn't go coal black. Just be careful since it's been done many times and it can get trite. Remember (and avoid) the words of the Bare Naked Ladies - "It's all been done - it's all been done - it's all been done before..."