A factsheet for people buying unmatted photographs...
(you will get a printed copy of this with your photographs)
Unpacking the prints
For the larger (C,D,E) size photographs, we normally send the pictures
rolled in a tube as the best way to protect them in transit. Please take
care handling the prints, as they are vulnerable and easily
kinked. When we send your photographs, we include a
factsheet on unpacking/repacking
with them - please make sure your read this before trying to get them out of the tube.
For the larger (C,D,E) size photographs, I often leave the print a bit oversized, so you can choose exactly where to put the edges, and your framer has some 'spare' to work with. To give you some guidance, I sometimes indicate my preferred edges using removeable white tape.
Matting and Framing - in General
Unless you are an expert, I'd recommend getting a professional framer to do the work for you - it really is quite tricky, especially for the larger sizes. Even then, there are things to look out for - both in terms of the practical details (eg. what type of board to use) and the aesthetics.
My advice is to read my suggestions here, and also my choosing photographs page, then think about what you really want, in terms of what you like, what suits your decor, and so-on. You might even want to try using pieces of coloured paper tacked to the wall to get an idea what it will look like (there's no substitute for trial-and-error). Then go see your framer, and talk it through with him/her, and do take a copy of my suggestions as a reminder - and I'd suggest you agree in writing exactly how it's to be done - misunderstandings are a nightmare for everyone!!
Matting and Framing - Specifics
My preference is to window-mat the photograph. Use Conservation, Museum or White-core board, as the cut-bevel on the Standard board turns brown with age.
I prefer a board colour of dark chocolate brown for sepia, and black for black and white - with a clean white bevel, these colours set off the photographs very nicely. The boards I use are Daler Conservation "Seal #3749" and "Poster Black #3742".
I'd suggest that the window mat should give a border of about 1.5" (4cm) for A-size prints, 2" (5cm) for B-size, 3" (8cm) for C-size, 4" (10cm) for D-size, 5" (13cm) for E-size. If you make the bottom border a little wider than the top, you avoid the mat looking top-heavy ...
For larger (C,D,E) size photographs, the print must be attached to a backing board to support it - the photograph will sag if just attached to the window mount.
The different photographs vary slightly in their dimensions, depending on what "works" for a particular photograph. This variation can easily be taken-up in the window-mat, though of course, the mounts must be cut individually for each photo. If you intend to frame a set of photographs without window-mats, you may have to 'crop' the photographs to a standard size, or have variations in your size of frame ...
My preference is for very simple classic wood frames in dark brown for sepia photographs, or in black for black&white photographs...