Fine Art Print Display and Care Recommendations

Framing

To maximize the longevity and enjoyment of your print, I recommend having it professionally framed. Framers are skilled professionals, experts at bringing out the very best in your newly-acquired art.

Museum vs. Regular Glass

Your framer will likely offer you the option of using museum glass, which has a coating that drastically reduces glare and reflections. While more expensive than plain glass, it can be worth it.

Things to consider when deciding on framing glass include:

Conservation vs. Dry Mounting

You may also be offered a choice of mounting methods. Mounting is the way the print is attached to the backing board in the frame. Typically two methods are available: conservation (aka museum) mounting and dry (aka pressure or vacuum) mounting.

Conservation mounting uses techniques that are totally reversible; should the frame become damaged, the print can be easily transferred to a new frame. Dry mounting, on the other hand, uses an adhesive to permanently glue the print to the backing board.

Conservation mounting is generally the preferred method. However, there is one issue you should be aware of. In either very high or very low humidity, paper can warp and buckle, producing a wavy surface that is quite noticeable.

Using a humidity-controlled test chamber, I've experimented with various paper stocks. While I don't print on paper that is prone to drastic warping, I'm yet to find a paper that doesn't warp to some degree.

If you live in a very humid area such as Florida, you may want to consider dry mounting. This is especially true for dark-toned photos, as I find the buckling to be more noticeable in the darker regions of a print.

Lighting

Nothing improve the appearance of art more than good lighting. The gold standard for lighting a wall-mounted print is a ceiling-mounted spotlight, shining down on the print at about a 45° angle. While specialized art lights exist, inexpensive track lighting, available from your local home supply store, is more than adequate. Incandescent halogen bulbs are the best, but LED technology has improved greatly in recent years, and most brands of LED spotlights are now also quite good.

If dedicated art lighting isn't possible, try to hang your print in a well-lit room. If you do intend to hang a print in a dimmer location, consider picking a lighter-toned print.

Care and Maintenance

The sun is a print's worst enemy. Even when protected by glass with a UV coating, exposure to bright sunlight will fade a print. Extremes of temperature and humidity can also be harmful, although these are nowhere near as damaging as sunlight. Hang your print in a location where exposure to the sun is minimized.

Professionally-framed prints require little care, apart from occasional dusting with a soft rag. Avoid harsh chemical glass cleaners, especially if you have museum glass; some cleaners can damage the anti-reflection coating.