View Full Version : 11x14 Print. What Mat Size?

1-Jan-2016, 14:21
I thought I had this figured out but now I'm not sure. Here's what I have been doing:

For 8x10 prints, I started with 11x14 mat but found it too small. So I went up 1" to 15x12, 16x13 and finally 17x14. I found that 17x14 was a little better than 16x13 for portrait orientation but settled on 16x13 for both. So I added 5"
and 6" to the print sizes. Doing the same for 11x14 would result in a 16x20 mat size. But if I found 11x14 - the next size up from 8x10 too confining for 8x10, wouldn't 16x20, the next size up from 11x14, prove likewise? Going back
to my original methodology of adding 1" to each side of the next size up would be 17x21, 18x22. What do you think?


Mark Sawyer
1-Jan-2016, 15:41
I like 16x20, but it's very much a personal preference. As you did with 8x10, you may have to try a few different sizes to see what you like. (BTW, I went with 13x16 for 8x10.)

1-Jan-2016, 16:22
Thanks Mark. After posting I remembered that I have a 11x14 print matted and framed at 16x20 hanging in the hallway and I considered it for sometime before leaving. It does look good although I cut my windows a little different now. Since the boards are 32x40, 16x20 would be the economical way to go. googled this question earlier and came upon a post on another forum that said that Bruce Barenbaum (sp) also recommended 16x20 but felt that 17x20 was better. Still pondering.


1-Jan-2016, 17:00
I settled on 18x21 about ten years ago. I assemble all of my frames so the non-standard size isn't an issue. I figure those who purchase my work are having it framed (not diy) so it's not an issue for them either.
I do 8x10 to 15x17, 11x14 to 18x21, and 16x20 to 22x28 or sometimes 22x26. I hate the look of a skinny mat that you get with standard frame sizes.

1-Jan-2016, 17:11
Go the Kim Weston Gallery at: http://www.kimweston.com/us/
Here's the sizes they use
810 -mounted on 1518 mat board.
1114 mounted on 1620 mat board.
1620 mounted on 2228 mat board.

3-Jan-2016, 11:28
If you are selling collectible prints, it seems that most folks prefer mounts on the large side. However, as a "casual" photographer, I standardized with 8x10s on 11x14 mounts for other than "show" images, in part for ease of storage and otherwise so that I can fairly compare similar versions. When I acquired an 11x14 camera and the option of making arbitrarily-sized prints was not available, I found that 14x17 was the best format for most prints because portfolio boxes are available in that size and displayed prints don't require enormous amounts of wall space. The (rare) exceptional prints go on the next size larger mount (8x10 onto 11x14, 11x14 onto 16x20). I have only ever made two or three images which wouldn't look pretentious if displayed as 8x10s on 14x17 or larger mounts.

Bear in mind that I am an amateur, so no one is "underwriting" the cost of materials; I get six 11x14 mounts from a 32x40 sheet of board but I would only get four at 15x18. I suppose that if I were printing 16x20, I would make few enough prints to make the mounting and storage issues pretty much irrelevant.

3-Jan-2016, 12:56
I am biased towards wide boarders and standard size mats. I also use 8-ply, which is a whole different topic!
All of these are for full-frame contact prints (except 16x20 which were enlargements from 4x5 and were 4-ply).

MF and 4x5 in 8x10
5x7 and 4x10 in 12x16...not perfect for 5x7 horizontals, but close enough
8x10 in 16x20
11x14 in 20x24...but could easily see a little bit smaller mat working as well
16x20 in 24x28...a departure from standard. I found 22x28 to be ill-proportioned for horizontal 16x20 for my taste (but nice for verticals).

I use to mat 16x20 in a 20x24 mat -- I found it way too small!

Ken Lee
3-Jan-2016, 20:42
What do you think?


It's a matter of taste. Final appearance is also highly dependent on the color and thickness of the frame and mat.

It's easy to simulate a variety of options in something like Photoshop.

(Above are some discarded experiments.)

3-Jan-2016, 22:16
I didn't get a chance to mat the images today as I thought I would. But considering the problem from a mathematical view, if I divide the area of the mat by the area of the print then I may arrive at the (for me) correct answer. To me, mating an 8x10 print on 16x13 board looks perfect - not too much or too little mat. The ratio of the 2 areas is 2.60. The ratio of a 11x14 print on a 18x22 mat is 2.57. Hmmmm.


Steve Goldstein
4-Jan-2016, 04:23
I've settled on 18x22 (the old "mammoth" format) for my 11x14 prints, where the actual image size is generally around 10x13. I liked it a little better than 18x21 but it was a close choice that I may revisit some day. I can get two 18x22 and one 14x17 (I like this for 8x10) out of a standard 32x40 sheet of mat board.

4-Jan-2016, 13:56
Nice point, Steve...

For my 8x10 platinum prints the hole size is about 8.25"x 10.25" and occasionally can be as much as 10x12, depending on the image. For carbon prints the 8x10 window is slightly less than 8x10.

For 16x20 prints I used 24x28 mats, which I could get one from a full sheet, plus a 16x20 and a 12x16. The hole cut in the 24x28 is slightly larger than 16x20 for the way I mounted, so that is another 16x20 mat board available. Holes in the 16x20 are usually at least 8x10, so can be used for small prints. So from a 32x40 sheet, I can get:

one 24"x28"
two 16x20
one 12x16
two 8x10
and one 4x24 left over, which comes in handy

Pretty good use of a full sheet!