I have a lot of clients who ask, “What is styrene, and why do your force me to have my larger prints mounted on it?!” I’m sure most of you are used to just ordering a plain ol’ print, with the option of adding a backing if you so desire, and it may not make a lot of sense as to why you are required to have your photos mounted. Here’s why; as a professional, I’ve had lots and lots of experience with prints. I have them all over my house, large and small and I’ve noticed something..these prints that I have so painstakingly edited to near perfection (no one is really perfect, right?!), and paid a nice chunk of change to have printed large (it’s not cheap for me, either) have begun to show a sign of age we know all too well…wrinkles! It appears that over time, the natural moisture in the air will cause this wrinkle phenomenon. Since this realization, I’ve begun adding backing to all of my large photos, and it’s really paid off! They are smoother from the beginning, and still fit into most store-bought frames–you just take out the cardboard and it fits perfectly!
Now I’m sure some of you think this is some money-making ploy, but I promise you–it’s not! I charge you exactly my cost for the mounting–anywhere from $7 for smaller prints, to $30 for larger prints. I’m more concerned with you getting a product that will last for years to come, than making a few extra bucks.
The photo on the left is one that has been hanging framed in my living room for about 2 years, and was not mounted on styrene. The one on the right is a newer print–only about 6 months old–but is mounted on styrene. You can see a huge difference in the smoothness of the paper, and trust me when I say that the one on the right will continue to be that smooth for years.
Another great thing about styrene is you can stand up your photos! I don’t recommend doing this for an extended period of time, as the styrene does have the potential to warp over time. But it’s nice to be able to lean your photos up as soon as you get them until you have the chance to pick up a frame!