Preparing Prints for Competitions & Exhibitions
This leaflet explains how to present your photographic prints for WPS competitions and the Annual Open Exhibition. The information also applies to inter-club competitions and exhibitions within the Southern Photographic Federation.
The Need for Mounting Prints
It’s all about protection and presentation.
Primarily a mount provides stiffening to allow a print to support itself when being displayed either on the print easel at competitions, hanging in an exhibition, or stored/transported in a print box with other prints. It protects the image from creasing and getting dog-eared at the edges, and in the case of recessed mounting, protects the surface of the print from rubbing against other prints when stacked or carried in bulk.
In terms of aesthetics, a mount around a print can greatly improve the presentation, adding contrast, impact and leading the eye into the picture.
There is no requirement to put prints in frames and behind glass – they would be too heavy, the glass would create reflections and there is the obvious danger of broken glass!
Methods of Mounting
There are two basic methods for mounting prints, the precise methods of which are explained in more detail further on:-
Surface Mounting: This is probably the simplest and easiest method, particularly when you are starting out. The print is simply stuck onto the front of your chosen mounting board. The print is afforded protection by stiffening, but be aware that the surface of the print is still liable to be scratched or rubbed when in contact with other prints.
Recessed Mounting A method requiring a little more skill and equipment, but worth the extra effort. A piece of mount board has an aperture cut in it, usually with bevelled edges, and the print is mounted behind the aperture. As well as producing a very professional finish, the main benefit of recessed mounting is that the front surface of the print is better protected from being rubbed by other prints when stacked or carried.
A standard mount size of 50cm x 40cm has been set by the Southern Photographic Federation and prints submitted to any inter-club competitions and exhibitions must adhere to this. At WPS we have also adopted this size ruling for our Annual Open Exhibition.
However, for our own WPS internal competitions we relax this slightly and allow mounts of up to 50cm x 40cm, thus allowing more modest sized mounts, which beginners often prefer especially if their prints are quite small. If you do choose to use a smaller size, please be aware that your image would have to be remounted if it were accepted for an external competition or for entry into our Annual Open Exhibition. You may therefore decide, as many do, to standardise on the 50cm x 40cm size.
Most print boxes are designed to accept the 50cm x 40cm size.
The finished mounted print must not exceed 4mm in overall thickness
Avoid using any type of tape which is not long lasting (eg decorators’ masking tape, parcel tape, cheap cellotape, etc.) These all suffer from poor qualit