Traditional are prints are either hinge mounted or dry mounted and framed. Hinge mounts are OK for small prints, but dry mounting to a high quality rigid substrate for framing is advisable. Otherwise, the print will not lie flat. Hinge mounting allows removal of the print to another mount while dry mounting is permanent. I occasionally hinge mount prints for my own use, but am usually not satisfied with the result. Dry mounted prints give a better presentation, though the print is non-removable from the substrate.

In larger art markets prints are sent to a specialized shop that mounts them. The print goes to a framing shop and is matted and framed.  A typical framing shop can ruin a print attempting to dry mount it. The more knowledgeable shops will not even try to dry mount high gloss prints, but will competently frame your mounted print. A workspace that is not dust free will produce bumps in the print that can be seen across the room. The mounts need to be done in a clean environment. My default media are satin photo paper and matte or satin fine art papers. These are less susceptible to damage when mounting, though certainly not immune. Do you have access to a shop that can competently dry mount prints? Shipping a mounted print to a framing shop is a good option.

Handling prints requires judgement and experience to avoid damaging them – handling mounted prints marginally less. It is crucial to keep fingerprints and dirt off the print, and it should be unnecessary to say avoid scratches or liquid spills. Because a print is mounted does not mean it can be picked up by a corner, like a plate, without damage. Dibond is great material but susceptible to this type of bending damage, Ultraboard less so as well as being lighter and less costly.

The first image of a framed print looks fine, right?

The second image shows the result of a poorly mounted gloss print on an inappropriate substrate. Viewed straight on the defects are obvious. Under sidelight the mount is a disaster. This was done by a shop I use for framing and would use again for framing – NOT mounting. It was done as a test. It is a mess.

The last two images show ‘moon divots’ were inflicted on a glossy test print. The big divot means your print is ruined. The smaller might be teased out on a satin print by a competent mounting shop, maybe not. On a glossy print, it is ruined. These divots are very easily inflicted on a print.