There’s a reason people spend hundreds of dollars in framing shops: most wall art looks better with the right frame around it. The great thing with an electronic format is that you can have fun trying different frame styles and it’s all free. The best frame is really a matter of experimentation, judgment and experience.

After I’ve completed work on a picture I spend a lot of time deciding on the most complementary frame. Most photos look good with a variety of frames. Often a photo with a complex composition will look best with a simple frame. Occasionally a very simple picture will benefit from a more elaborate frame to dress it up and make the colors look more vibrant.

I often combine several frames or frame styles, then use the vignette button to make them a little less crisp looking and add a bit of shading. It just takes a bit of practice to make the frame look like it’s an integral part of the photo instead of looking like it was added on afterward.

My favorite and most elaborate frame so far is on a picture from Hawaii, below. It is actually three different museum mattes built up around each other, with the outer two mats being a different color than the inner mat. Then I used the vignette button to tone down and soften the frame’s edges a bit.

Hawaii twilight sepia resized 750

Don’t skimp on the time needed to give your photos a finished and sophisticated look.