How should a print be prepared for a fundraising auction?

I was thinking of submitting a picture for the auction and was wondering how it should be prepared. This would be a first for me.

Would getting a good print inside of a black frame be adequate? How about the size? I was thinking the print should be 8x10 as would the frame.

So far, it would seem that for $30, I could get this done.

Update #1

  • the fundraiser is for my kid's school (300+ kids from grade from K-5)
  • this is the first time this event is held at this school
  • no idea on people that will be attending
  • no idea in terms of sale price, this is mostly an opportunity to see how much one of my prints can fetch.

This is really all I have to go with.

  • 2
    There's a whole lot missing here, but to start: what kind of fundraising? How big an event? What's the expected sale price? What has been done in the past or is this a new event? How many people will be there? To be honest, as it is, I think this question is way too broad. – John Cavan Jan 30 '14 at 3:33
  • @john-cavan see update #1... this is what I have to go with ATM... – TekiusFanatikus Jan 30 '14 at 12:54

Just some general tips, for a more professional presentation, you will probably want to use a larger frame than the print size and use a nice matte on which you can mount the photo. This gives a nice border between the frame and the photo and can help maintain accurate looking color regardless of viewing environment since people will see it in context of a fixed color background.

Without the matte, the edge of the frame may crop part of the image and the color of the wall on which the frame is mounted will influence the way the colors are perceived more.

You also need to decide if you want to do matte, luster or glossy printing, keeping in mind that if you are going to use a glass frame, then the glass itself is going to be glossy as well.

$30 is certainly a doable cost for making such a print, but it can really vary a lot depending on how nice of a frame you use, how you mount, how nice of a matte you use, how nice of printing you use, etc. Getting a top end 8 by 10 print alone could run you $15 to $20 potentially and it's easy to spend more than $100 just on a frame.

If you want to do some cheaper ones as well, getting some mounts, some 3M spray adhesive and some sheets of foamcore can be a nice, cheap way to make good looking prints that could sell at a lower price (might be a good idea if this is your first attempt at a sale). Black foamcore can work as both the mount and the matte and will hold up well for wall mounting. It is also still thin enough to be placed in a frame if someone so desires. If going for a foamcore mount I highly recommend either luster or glossy printing and possibly lamination. An 8 by 10 foamcore mount (with print) can probably be done for around $15 with moderate quality printing. Probably $10 if you go with cheaper printing (something like Sams Club or Costco quality.)

It really depends on how much you think the print is worth and what kind of cost that justifies spending on the presentation. If you expect the print to go for $50 then spending $30 on production might even be a bit much. If you expect it to go for $300, I'd go a bit more elaborate with the mounting and framing.

  • I have no problems spending $30 ATM. I have no idea what it would go for though. I was going to give around $30 in value for the auction. I was thinking, why not try to see how much one of my pictures would go for and also use it to learn a few new things. – TekiusFanatikus Jan 30 '14 at 12:58

I would strongly consider an 8x10 print as a minimum size placed in a 12x14 frame with a 2" matte around the edges. Select a neutral color for the matte and select a frame color and style that complements the content of the photograph. You rarely, if ever, see prints framed in galleries without matting. To place a print directly in a frame would make it look less desirable from a potential bidder who is familiar with the way fine art prints are framed and displayed.

If you are in the U.S. a good place to find decent frames on a budget including help with cutting custom matting is Hobby Lobby. They usually are running a "50% off" frame sale about one out of every three weeks. They also sell matting and can custom cut it for you.

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