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How to frame A4 photo prints: Everything you need to know

Read our top tips for framing A4 photo prints with and without a mount. We also give you some inspiration on where to buy A4 photo frames including our favourite, tried and tested photo frame, the Lomviken from IKEA.

What you’ll need

It has never been easier to buy high-quality A4 sized photo prints online. Thanks to PostSnap’s easy-to-use upload tool – you can order professional quality A4 photo prints in seconds. A4 prints are one of the most popular large photo print sizes, which is no surprise because A4 size is the most requested print size in the world and picture frame manufacturers often make photo frames and photo mounts to fit A4 photos.

Generally speaking, A4 photo prints are purchased to frame photos of the children, family and pets etc and hang on the wall but once your A4 photo print arrives, do you know how to frame it correctly? Making sure your framed photographs are correctly sized and formatted will ensure that your treasured memories look perfect in your home.

In this post, we are going to be answering some commonly asked questions regarding A4 photos like “what finish should I choose for a framed photo print – gloss or matte?” and “should I use a mount with a photo frame?” We’ll even give you advice on the best place to buy an A4 photo frame”.

Understanding the size of your photo print in metric and imperial measurements is your first task because photo prints are usually sized in imperial measurements whereas many photo frames use metric measurements.

A4 photo prints in imperial and metric measurements

To start planning the framing of your A4 photo prints you need to know the size of the photo to pick an appropriate frame.

Standard photo paper is sized in imperial measurements such as 8 inches and 12 inches and so on whereas many photo frames are sized in metric measurements such as 30 and 40 centimetres. Therefore, it is useful to know the size of A4 photographic paper in inches and centimetres.

The size of an A4 print is:

Imperial Measurements

  • A4 Landscape Photo Prints

         11.7 inches x 8.3 inches (length x height)

  • A4 Portrait Photo Prints

         8.3 inches x 11.7 inches (length x height)

Metric Measurements

  • A4 Landscape Photo Prints

         29.7 centimetres x 21 centimetres (length x height)

  • A4 Portrait Photo Prints

         21 centimetres x 29.7 centimetres (length x height)

Although most people are familiar with A4 size it is not a standard photo paper size. However, this size works well with popular 21x30 centimetre frames and mounts sold by most of the leading UK picture frame retailers as A4 is similar in size.

Photo frame sizes

Photo frames, from Ikea for example, are generally advertised at the appropriate photo size required for the frame rather than the actual frame size or mount aperture (opening) size. This sizing allows for a few millimetres of the photo to go behind the frame or behind the mount.

However, it is always advisable to purchase your picture frame before purchasing your photo prints and that way you can double check the photo frame and mount aperture measurements with a tape measure prior to buying your prints. This also allows you the opportunity to consider the option of using a mount or not.

As a few millimetres of the photo print will be behind the frame or mount and therefore not visible it is important that no part of the photo you want to display is close to the edge of the print.

Therefore, if you purchase a photo frame advertised at 21x30 centimetres or which has a mount aperture of 21x30 centimetres an A4 sized photo print should be the optimum fit for your frame or aperture.

Should I use a mount for an A4 print?

A mount is a piece of white card or paper often used when framing photos or prints. It is used for decoration and to provide a frame around the photo or contrast between the photo and frame. However, it also has a practical purpose. A mount made of thick card can separate an A4 photo frame from the print. This stops the photo from sticking to the glass. This can occur when the emulsion in a gloss photo in particular reacts to water in the air, or if a framed photo is in direct sunlight.

A well-mounted A4 photo frame will ensure your prints are the centre of attention and are well protected.

Before you purchase a frame, be sure to check the mount aperture (opening) sizing to see if it corresponds with the A4 print that you want to display.

A4 Photo Prints With Mount
A4 Photo Print Framed

Bleed for A4 photo prints

It is important to remember that the image of the photo you see on screen includes the bleed area of approximately 3mm around the edge of the photo. A4 prints and other large photo prints are trimmed after they have been printed and this bleed area is typically trimmed off during the final finishing of the photo print. Therefore, it is important to consider adjusting or cropping your image if important details are close to the edge.

It’s also important not to have important parts of the image near the edge of your print because these may be behind the frame or mount. Another option for your A4 photo print is to include adding a thin white border to your print, so you do not lose any of your original image during the final trimming. If you use PostSnap to print your A4 photos this is an easy to apply option before checkout.

Picking the right photo paper for your digital photos is the next challenge. The two main options are gloss and matte. The finish you opt for will depend on your photo and whether you want to display your print in an A4 photo frame with glass.

Gloss A4 photo prints

There are pros and cons to gloss and matte prints, so depending on the type of photo you want to print, and the frame you plan to use, one will suit you better than the other.

For gloss photo prints, one of the main advantages is the shiny, glossy finish. They are smooth and designed to reflect as much light as possible. That means a gloss A4 photo print tends to highlight colour and make photos appear more vibrant. For example, framed beach photos with bright colours may look best printed in gloss.

If you want to frame a gloss print, it is worth looking at an anti-reflective acrylic as the cover. This will ensure your photo is clearly visible - and doesn’t reflect too much light - as it has a matte finish to reduce glare.

The cons are that gloss photos are that this finish is prone to chick to the glass of a photo frame giving the impression that the print is faulty. In addition glossy prints can produce a glare that can be off-putting and take attention from your A4 photo print. You also need to be wary of touching gloss photos, as they show fingerprints. These can be difficult to remove if the photo has been repeatedly handled.

Generally, a glossy photo will not work as well as one with a matte finish with a glass A4 picture frame.

Matte A4 photo prints

Matte, also sometimes described as a lustre finish has its own pros and cons. Photos on matte photo paper have a non-reflective almost textured quality to the finish. That often makes matte prints more suitable for glass framed photos as it is less likely to stick to glass as compared to a gloss print.

Matte photos can be displayed, even in direct light, without glare becoming an issue. They are also more resilient when it comes to scratches and fingerprints.

One of the disadvantages of a matte photo is that the colours can appear duller. While they can really suit black and white and sepia images, they don’t provide as clear definition with really bright colours as do gloss photos.

How to frame your A4 prints

Firstly, decide if you prefer to use the frame in landscape or portrait and with or without the photo mount.

Before you open the back of the frame, make sure the print is ready — minimising the time the cover is open reduces the chance of dust getting onto it. Take out or spin the metal clasps on the back of the frame to release the backing board, then clean the glass or acrylic panel with a microfibre cloth to remove any smudges or dust.

Should you choose to use a mount there are several ways to fit an A4 print to a mount. Make sure that you have a clean surface available as you will need to lay your image on a flat surface. The mount needs to be positioned so that the photo is aligned correctly, and no important aspects of the photo are obscured.

Photo frame with A4 mount
A4 photo frame back

Once you're happy, secure the print onto the mount with longer strips of Scotch Magic tape, making sure they’re nice and smooth. Place the print and mount in the frame, drop the backing board on top and fasten the clips.

If you are not using the mount remove it from the frame and lay the photo on the frame and secure it with smaller strips of Scott magic tape. Once you are happy place the backing board back on the and fasten the clips.

Tour framed print is now read to hang.

Pick the perfect spot

When planning a new large or A4 photo print frame for your home, don’t be too specific about where you will hang or display it. Changing the location of your pictures is a simple and effective way to change the ‘look’ of your interior décor without having to redecorate.

The two main options are to hang prints on the wall, or to display them on a mantlepiece, cabinet or shelf.

Large photo prints framed can make a big impact, and can be hung in sets of four or six, or mixed with smaller prints to create a unique gallery wall.

Framed Photo Prints

Where can I buy photo frames for A4 prints?

If you’ve been asking yourself, “where can I find A4 picture frames?” - we’ve got good news for you. Good quality A4 picture frames for photos can be purchased online and in-store at many well-known brands including:

These frames come in a range of colours and materials including wood, plastic metal and acrylic.

If you think you need help with your framed pictures, an independent framing company can offer specialised support.

The frame and aperture you choose comes down to personal taste. But as a rule of thumb, it should be in proportion to the A4 print. Don’t worry too much about finding a frame that matches your home decoration. Trends change frequently, but you can take inspiration from Pinterest and other creative sources. We believe a simple and timeless design is best.

Be aware that some materials for A4 photo frames are less durable – such as MDF. Metal and wooden frames tend to last the longest.

One of the best A4 photo frames for prints is Ikea’s Lomviken frame. This is a popular frame because it comes in a range of frame& mount sizes including: 21cmx30cm, 30cmx40cm and 40cmx50cm. It is available in classic black that will compliment almost all large photo prints for wall display. It also includes a cream-coloured mount and plastic front protection.

Prices start at just £8 making it one of the best value frames on the market. The largest size of 61cmx91cm is available for just £25 (prices effective November 2022).

Summing it up…

Now that you know how to choose the perfect frame for your large A4 photo prints, you are on your way to displaying your photos beautifully in your home. Whether you’re looking to create a gallery wall, or simply display some framed beach photos on your mantlepiece, knowing they are framed correctly will ensure your pictures look their best!

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