My clients very often ask about what size photos to print. What would be the standard UK frame sizes and how to figure this all out. If you are like me who arrived in UK and previously dealt only with metric photo sizes, then whole photo sizes in inches were very confusing at the start.
I’m a professional photographer and deal with printing and framing services pretty much on a daily basis. So I hope this article will help you to understand UK imperial sizes for photo printing a bit better. I will share tips on framing and printing as well.
There are standard print sizes which are very common, like 6×4”, 7×5”, 10×8”. Those would be your standard tabletop photos for the UK frames sizes. If you are looking for wall frames then you would be considering 12×8”, 12×16”, 20×16 and 20×24 to be your most common frame sizes.
Below is the chart with the most common sizes from inches to centimetres.
|Standard photo sizes in inches||Photo size in centimetres||Similar metric size|
|6×4″||15.24 x 10.16 cm||15 x 10 cm|
|7×5″||17.78 x 12.7 cm||18 x 13 cm|
|10×8″||25.4 x 20.32 cm||25 x 20 cm|
|12×8″||30.48 x 20.32 cm||30 x 20 cm|
|14×10″||35.56 x 25.4 cm||35 x 25 cm|
|16×12″||40.64 x 30.48 cm||40 x 30 cm|
|20×16″||50.8 x 40.64 cm||50 x 40 cm|
|24×20″||60.96 x 50.8 cm||60 x 50 cm|
|30×20″||76.2 x 50.8 cm||75 x 50 cm|
|40×30″||101.6 x 76.2 cm||100 x 75 cm|
There are different ways how to sort out your photo printing and framing. To choose the right sizes and make sure you order the products of the correct size.
Important note about purchasing frames.
Before ordering frames and prints make sure you have picked the right size frame. I know it sounds obvious, but you will be surprised. The trick is that shops normally sell print size, not the frame size. Say you want 10×8 frame and you search. Very often you will find that shops sell photo size, not the frame size. Your actual frame could be 12×10″ not 10×8″ as you thought. They add 2 inches around the photo for the window mount. Just pay attention, easy mistake to make.
Standard picture frame sizes in UK and Europe
Standard picture frame sizes in INCHES. UK standard frames. These frames are based on 2″ window mount size. Meaning your photo will have 2 inch border around the photo.
Standard picture frame sizes chart
|Frame Size||Photo size in the window mount|
|16×12″||12×8″/A4 (4″ border)|
|20×16″||16″x12″ (4″ border)|
Non Standard frames with photo mounts.
|Frame Size||Photo size in the Window mount|
|12×10″||8×6″ (4″ border)|
Examples of how window mount will look in the certain size frames
Making photo walls
I always recommend getting the frames first so then you know what size prints you need. Consider the colour of the frames. If this is your forever home, then you can experiment and get goldy, grey or more creative finishes to match your house decor. If you think in the future you might move, I would probably then consider choosing more common finish colour tone. Like white, black, ivory.
If you are doing DIY frame project at home, I would recommend starting by looking at the wall and decide on what combinations and sizes frames will work. It is very popular these days to make frame collages in different sizes, but the challenge is to figure out how these print and frame sizes will look together.
Ikea, for example, sells you a template with few frame size combinations, but you are limited to frame finishes. I love the simplicity of this and how easy is to assemble the whole thing. Stick the template on the wall. Add frame hooks in marked places and take the template off the wall.
If you are planning to do like a recycled frame wall. Get some cute vintage frames in different sizes and shapes, then there would be a couple of ways to visualise how these frames would look well together.
You either lay them out on the floor or you get a brown paper roll. Place frames on the paper and cut the shapes out and stick them on the wall. This will give you a good idea of how the combination will look together.
TIP: Check what material comes in the front of the print. It wouldn’t matter so much but if you have small kids who might play with toys in that room, you might consider getting the frames with styrene glazing instead of glass. If anything happens, the glass won’t be shattered all over the floor.
Check what type of hanging mechanism you have at the back of the frame. Sometimes small frames come only with tabletop holder and there is no way to hang these on the wall. Ideally, you would have both options.
Tip: If by mistake you have bought the frames and there is no wall hanging clips at the back or no wire, there is a solution. You can get these S Type Photo Picture Hooks which you can place on the top of the backing board and you have the hook to hang the frame.
Photo print mounting
I will talk from my personal experience only. This is what I recommend to my own clients as well. Once you have sourced your frames, please double-check what photo print sizes you need.
There are three ways how you can do photo prints for the frames.
The first option would be the most inexpensive way.
Make your own DIY project and you do everything yourself. It will be cheaper, but it will require your own time to get everything right. For this reason, there might be some procrastination to get the project completed. You purchase right size print and frame picture mount separately and assemble everything yourself. Sometimes frames might have a standard 2mm window mount already. Check what is picture mount here.
TIP: Do not use sellotape to tape the print to the window mount. Buy the standard backing board tape. It is brown in colour and it is specifically meant to be for framing and mounting prints. You can find some here.
The second way would be to order ready mounted prints from your local framer or possibly a professional photo lab who offers print service to photographers too. The reason why I talk about ready-made mounted prints is that if you do it yourself, you need to know what type of tape to use to and how to mount the prints properly so they don’t fall out in few years down the line. Tape drys and photo falls out of the window mount. You might spend a bit more but it will make your life so much the easier print will last for generations.
The third way is not to do window mounted prints at all. My personal preference is always to have a window-mounted print. It just adds that more special feel. The disadvantage of using a window mount is that your actual photo print size becomes smaller. Normally anywhere from 1-2 inches. This would mean that you need to purchase larger frames to have larger prints.
TIP: If you still would like to have a white border around the print, some photo labs offer to add from 1-2 inch white border around the photo print. This way you have sort of the window-mounted effect.
Photo print finishes.
This is one of the most asked questions at my photography studio. People generally get confused by photo print sizes and finishes.
I always recommend printing photos in matt finish or sometimes it is called lustre finish. Photos will not scratch so easily and colours won’t fade as well. Gloss prints do have more punch in colours tho. So again personal preference here.
Your printer might offer a few more finishes like metallic paper (achieves high definition in prints, but be careful it ads contrast too), pearl finish paper and fine art papers (these are printed on special papers and finish highly depends on what type of fine art paper they use. Photos can look warmer, darker).
In terms of where to order prints, it all depends on your location. I know that Cosco has a pretty good quality photo print service, locally we have a couple of Kodak shops and few pro labs which print for general pubic too. Try to avoid your standard self-service photo printing, I have done a few tests and print quality is really bad. Colours are way off and photo paper quality is very mediocre.
I hope it was helpful for you and I will be updating blog story with my own photo frame wall installation. It will be DIY project to show you how to do this from scratch.