You have two choices about how to add a photo—you can mat it, which means you border the photo with paper to make it stand out, or you can put it on the page as is.
(Note: Usually when something is matted, paper underNEATH it protrudes out to form a border. But you can also mat something by simply creating a border around the item. This is only important because if you go to a framing shop and they suggest a “mat” for your piece of art, they won’t mean something protruding from underneath.)
Either way you decide to display a photo is fine—matted or unmatted. Sometimes, for the sake of design or space or impact you’ll choose one way over the other. Typically, if you need the photo to stand out, you’ll mat it. For example, if the photo is small or if there are a lot of photos and you want one to be special, you’ll mat the picture. You might also mat the photo to bring out colors in the picture. Or you might mat the photo to make it more prominent because it might by itself be too small on the page. Finally, you might mat the photo because the patterned paper you’ve used would overwhelm the photo.
Two Pages--Two Ways to Add Photos
One shows a large photo on the 1/3 and 2/3s proportioned page. As you can see, there’s no need to mat this, and a mat would probably cause the photo to take up too much room as it’s already big.
The second page shows a lot of small photos on the same proportioned background. To distinguish my mother’s baby photos from mine, I matted hers.
Now, there’s a hard way and an easy way to mat photos. The hard way is to adhere your photo to a piece of paper and try to trim all the sides so they are even. You’ll probably keep chopping down the sides until you need a new piece of paper for a mat!
Here’s the easy way: Put a photo split smack-dab in the center of the BACK of your photo. Stick your photo to the paper you want to use as a mat. Trim the mat paper as best you can. Now, GENTLY peel the photo off the mat and reposition the photo so that the borders are even.
(Note: To adhere a photo split, first remove the blue waxy tabbed square from the sticky split, then PRESS the split down hard where you want it to go, now peel off the ribbon backing. Do NOT try to remove the sticky split and stick it down. You’ll just get it stuck to your fingers. Trust me!)
Next week we’ll talk about embellishments…what they are and how to make them.