A Picture Frame

"Better than forgotten in an Album"

Our better photographs deserve to be in a picture frame rather than hidden in an album and likely forgotten. Although a photo with a simple frame looks quite good, it can look even better with a border or mount around it.

Apart from the standard plain ones which come with some frames, mounts are usually quite expensive and can be more than the cost of the frame itself if they are tailor made. An alternative is to design your own border and print it yourself.

Most imaging software, including Photoshop, has border templates that can be used by following the instructions that come with them.

This example shows how easy it is to design a border that suits the individual photograph and that costs no more than printing the picture itself.

SITUATION - As the thunder storm passed in the early evening, the whole family enjoyed the rich colours of sunset from the boat on the Norfolk Broads.

Picture Frame

If only we could find an inexpensive mount in the right colours to suit our photograph in its picture frame.

Steps taken using Photoshop Elements version 5

If you have a different version or different software you will find that the techniques here will apply to your software even though the actual names and locations of functions may vary.

Most photographic paper for use in a PC Photo Printer is available in standard sizes for which picture frames can easily be bought to match.

To take advantage of this, the photograph in this example will be sized and printed to suit A4 (210mm x 297mm). Before designing the border, the image will be sized to allow for a 30mm border.

Picture Frame PE Screen 1

1 With the image opened in the
Full Edit window, position the mouse over the bar at the top of the image, right click the mouse then left click Image Size... in the window that appears.

Click here for more information on Image Sizing.

Picture Frame PE Screen 2

2 Ensure that all three boxes in the bottom left of the new window are checked then enter the Resolution as 300 pixels/inch.

picture frame

Picture Frame PE Screen 3

3 To achieve a 30mm border, enter 237mm for the image height (297-{30x2}). Providing the Constrain Proportions box is checked, the width will automatically adjust - 167.6 mm in this example. This is more than the 150mm needed to leave a 30mm border all around so adjustments will be made later on.

Picture Frame PE Screen 4

4 Click OK to return to the Edit window.

picture frame

In this example, the sides of the image are not significant in the overall picture composition so they will be reduced from 167.6 mm to 150 mm using the Canvas Size function. For other images, it may be more appropriate to reduce the height, use the crop tool or to create a border with different proportions.

Borders do not have to be of equal size all around the image if cropping is not appropriate. In such circumstances, a larger gap at the bottom of the image is generally considered pleasing on the eye.

Picture Frame PE Screen 5

5 Position the mouse over the bar at the top of the image, right click the mouse then left click Canvas Size... in the window that appears.

Picture Frame PE Screen 6

6 Ensure that the Relative box is not checked and enter 150mm for the image width.

When the desired adjustments are made, click OK to return to the Edit window.

Picture Frame PE Screen 7

7 To ensure that a part of the image is not cropped accidentally, a warning window appears. In this example we want to crop the image so click Proceed.

Picture Frame PE Screen 8

8 The image is now prepared for the creation of its border. Proceed by re-opening the Canvas Size window. (See step 5 above for a memory jogger.)

picture frame

Picture Frame Detail

As a general rule it is advisable to keep the border fairly simple. The border is there to enhance the photograph but not to become the main focus of attention.

For this photo, a small border surrounded by plain white will match the mood of the scene and the wall on which it will be hung.

Picture Frame PE Screen 9

9 First add the 1 mm black line around the image. To do this select mm from the units drop list, check the Relative box to add to the current size, enter 2 into the width and height boxes (to add 1 mm on all sides of the image.

Picture Frame PE Screen 10

10 Select Black from the Canvas extension color drop list then click OK.

picture frame

Picture Frame PE Screen 11

11 The next step adds the 3 mm colour line. The colour will be selected from the image itself. Re-open the Canvas Size window.

Picture Frame PE Screen 12

12 With the Relative box checked and 6 mm entered into the width and height boxes, click on the small square box to the right of the Canvas extension color window. It will be black if the prevous step was completed correctly.

Picture Frame PE Screen 13

13 A new window will open displaying a palette of colours and some boxes labelled H,S,B etc. These can be ignored for this exercise. Position the mouse over the image (move the Color Picker window to one side if necessary) and the mouse arrow will change to an eye-dropper.

Picture Frame PE Screen 14

14 To contrast with the general colours of the scene, an area selected from the sun's reflection will be used as the sample colour for the border. Position the eye-dropper on a part of the reflection, click the mouse then click OK to close the Color Picker and Canvas Size windows.

Picture Frame PE Screen 15

15 Now add the second 1 mm black line around the image as in step 9.

picture frame

Picture Frame PE Screen 16

16 Remembering to change the colour back to Black! If this was overlooked, press Ctrl+z to undo the last step and repeat it.

Picture Frame PE Screen 17

17 All that remains to complete the border is to add the white surround. Re-open the Canvas Size window.

picture frame

Picture Frame PE Screen 18

18 Uncheck the Relative box, enter the dimensions of the paper size - width = 210 mm height = 297 mm, select White as the Canvas extension color then click OK.

To add a finishing touch, a name can be added. In this example the image is called "Going Down".

Picture Frame PE Screen 19

19 First select the Horizontal Type Tool from the left hand side or by pressing the letter t on the keyboard.

picture frame

Picture Frame PE Screen 20

20 Select the desired font and size from the options at the top (similar to a word processor), then position the mouse over the place where the title is to appear on the border.

Left click the mouse.

Picture Frame PE Screen 21

21 Finally, type the name and press Enter on the keyboard.

Finished and ready for framing - a border to suit the photograph without the cost of a bought in mount.

Picture Frame

Remember to save the new image with a different name so as not to overwrite the original.

Click here to add this page to your favorites in case you need to create a personalized border again.

This example is just one of the many ways in which Photoshop Elements or similar software can be used to help you make better photographs.

Return from Picture Frame to the Photo Editing page.

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