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Digital Picture Frames: Why You Should Convert From Traditional Frames

Most people have converted from traditional cameras and photographic equipment, ones that require film and developing, to digital cameras and digital pictures. A similar transformation is happening with picture frames as more and more people realize the benefits digital picture frames.

It's highly likely you are one of the vast majorities of people who have converted from using tradition cameras to digital cameras. The idea of using regular photographic equipment with film that actually requires you to take it to get developed into prints seems archaic. It's hard to believe that only 10, even 5 years ago, many people still used this type of traditional picture-taking equipment. Despite the fact that most people now take and store pictures digitally, picture frames still mostly display printed photographs, not the digital ones we take and store.

However this is rapidly changing. Digital picture frames are one of the hottest new consumer electronic products, which allow digital pictures to be displayed in their true form - digitally. No longer do photos need to be printed to be displayed. Instead, by transferring them to a digital picture frame through the use of a memory device (SD memory card, memory stick, or USB flash drive), they can displayed as is on a LCD screen the size of a picture frame (usually somewhere between 5 inches and 15 inches in size).

What makes this more exciting is that once you go digital with you picture frames, many more possibilities open up. Instead of a digital frame displaying a single photo all the time, a digital picture frame can store dozens or even hundreds of photos, and rotate them in slideshow type fashion on your LCD frame. Thus your picture frame is now a dynamic digital display device that shows constantly changing pictures based on setting that you set - way more exciting than a static tradition frame that only shows a single image (until you get the motivation to swap it out). Putting new pictures on your digital picture frame is also much simpler in the digital realm, especially if you have a wireless capable digital frame that can accept streaming pictures from your PC and Flickr account.

Major manufacturers of digital picture frames like Smartparts, Portable USA, and Kodak are also adding new feature that open up even more possibilities. Digital picture frames now can also display other information such as a calendar, clock, or news and weather using free services that work similar to RSS feeds. So not only will your digital photo frame display crisp, clear pictures, but be another information portal in your home or office besides your computer and television. Many digital frames actually combine a collage of information (calendar, clock, photos) based on your setting on the screen at one time.

Besides the digital nature of digital picture frames, you can likely find a frame that suits all your other needs in terms of style and décor. There are so many manufacturers now that there are plenty of digital frame sizes, wood finishes, colors, and styles. Certainly this is a growing category of products, and selection will increase and prices will drop, but shop around and you will likely find one that matches the room you are trying to accessorize, or wall you are looking to hang it on. Speaking of which, digital picture frames are also getting larger and larger in size. It's not unusual to find digital frames up to 15 inches, and recently Smartparts released a stunning 32-inch digital picture frame that is less frame and more portrait.

So if you haven't started the process of converting your traditional frames to digital picture frames, you likely will soon. Unless you are one of the ones still using a regular film camera!


What You Should Know Before Hanging Your Picture Frames

Now that you have your photo and picture frame all ready it's time for the important job of hanging your picture frame. Hanging a picture frame isn't hard, but there are a few important steps that you should do before you start that will help you save some time. This article will explain the different ways to hang your picture frame and provide tips to help you hang your frame more easily.

Ways to Hang Your Frame
There are basically three ways to hang your picture frame - screws, nails, or adhesives.


The most common way to hang photo frames is with finishing nails. Finishing nails are easy to install and won't create a large hole in your wall- if you use a small nail. Hammer the nail in at a 45 degree angle and, if possible, into a stud. If you're hanging heavy or large picture frames, it's important to put the nail in a stud. Never attempt to hang your picture frame with a nail that's only secured into sheet rock as it won't likely hold and could damage your picture frame. If you don't know how to locate a wall stud, the best way is to use a stud finder (available at any hardware store).


Hanging picture frames on concrete, stone or brick walls requires the extra strength and support of screws. Screws do make larger holes so you normally don't want to use them unless you have no choice. To secure screws into concrete or brick you need to pre-drill a hole in the rock wall using a mason drill bit the size of the screw. You should also consider using screw anchors as they will help secure the screw into the wall.


The third method for securing a hanging wall frame is with the use of adhesives. They are fast and simple and don't require a hole in your wall. Adhesives, like 3M's Command Strips, are available in Velcro and hooks and are becoming increasingly more popular. Always read the instructions carefully as the weight limitations and instructions must be closely followed. Hanging small picture frames with adhesives works best, but some adhesives will hold up to 5 pounds. If the picture is too heavy for the adhesive to hold, you could damage your picture so use with caution.

Once you've decided how you'll hang your wall frames, you now have to decide where your picture frames will be hung.

Tips for Hanging Wall Picture Frames

When hanging your picture frames on the wall, it is best have someone help you with this step. You can have your helper hold the frame at different heights and positions on the wall so you can find the right spot. If you're not sure of how high to hang your picture frame, you generally want to hang it around eye level or about 3/4 of the way up the wall.

If you're hanging multiple wall picture frames, it's best to decide upon the spacing of each frame before you start hanging them on the wall. Hanging multiple frames can be tricky so to make your wall look coordinated and well put together, arrange them on the floor until you're satisfied with the look. For best results, follow these steps:

1. Measure the wall area where the picture frames will hang.

2. Use a string to outline the measured wall space on the floor.

3. Carefully place your picture frames on the floor (protect with a towel or blanket if there is no carpet) and arrange and rearrange them until you are satisfied with how they look.

4. Once you have the right placement on the wall then transfer this placement on the wall. If at all possible, get someone to help you with this step. If you have an empty wall with no other objects on the wall, start in the center of your arrangement and work outwards. If you have other items on the wall and have a limited space, then you should start on one side and carefully work to the other end using the measurements from your floor arrangement.

5. Before placing the nail or screw, check the back of the frame and see where the hanger is placed so you don't make your frame higher or lower than you expect. And, if you have a small level, use it so you're picture frames will always be straight.

Now with your new found knowledge of hanging picture frames, hopefully this will make the whole process a lot easier and prevent you from making a bunch of unnecessary holes.


The Basics of Picture Frame Care

If you have lots of photos displayed in your house, chances are good that you don't know how to properly care for your picture frames. Find out what you need to do to safeguard your pictures and keep your favorite framed photos looking great for years.

Creating Duplicates of Your Important Photos

One of the best things you can do to care for your pictures, is to make sure you have a way to create a high quality duplicate.With digital cameras, it's easy to take and print photos whenever you want.But what about your old photos displayed on your walls or table tops?Do you know where you keep all of your negatives, slides or CDs stored in case you need to replicate them?

Those special one-of-a-kind photographs require high quality replication to help make sure that you never lose your photo memories. There are several ways to make copies of your old photos, but it is best to seek the help of a professional who will correctly replicate your photographs and ensure they're not damaged in the process.

Clean Your Photo Frames Regularly

Just like any other item in your home or office, picture frames get dirty and need to be dusted regularly.The best way to do that is to lay your picture frame face down on a thick towel. This will protect the frame's finish and glass from scratching. Next, remove the backing and carefully take out the picture.

Once you have opened the back of the frame and taken out the photo, you can lift out the glass from the frame. Go ahead and clean the glass with a glass cleaner.Remember if it's acrylic you should only use soap and water as glass cleaner will ruin the acrylic. Paper towels can scratch the surface of acrylic, so it is better to use cloth towels.If you're wanting to use conservation techniques and protect your photos , you should only clean the glass with a cloth as paper towels leave an acid residue behind on the glass.

The care of your picture frame depends largely upon the material and finish of your frame. To clean a wood picture frame with a smooth lacquer finish use a dust cleaner or a water dampened cloth.To prevent damaging your frame, find out if your frame has a lacquered finish so you don't ruin your frame by cleaning it the wrong way. And, be sure to remove your picture from the frame before cleaning with a spray cleaner.

For unfinished frames with a raw or unprotected wood surface, be extra careful with these frames as they can be damaged by improper cleaning. Unlike finished or lacquered wood frames with a protective finish, unfinished wood picture frames should only be dusted with a soft dry toothbrush or possibly a small vacuum. This method cleans off dust without leaving the frame wet or with pieces of towel or paper towel stuck to the rough unfinished wood finish.Avoid using wood or dust cleaners on unfinished wood frames as they can discolor or stain the bare wood frame.

How to Care for Your Metal Picture Frames

Metal picture frames can be cleaned in several ways.Use a water dampened towel to gently clean off any metal picture frames.Wipe the frame carefully and then dry with a soft dry cloth to avoid leaving water spots.

If you have a precious metal frame, like a solid pewter photo frame, silver plated frame or sterling silver frame, you need to determine if it has a lacquered finish. In most cases, if you've had the frame for a while and it hasn't tarnished you can be pretty sure it's a lacquered frame. A lacquer finished frame should only be cleaned with a water dampened cloth and gently dried with a dry, soft cloth towel.

If you have an old silver frame that's tarnished, then you can be pretty sure that it doesn't have any lacquer coating and should be cleaned with a quality silver cleaner. Be sure to carefully read the cleaner instructions before applying. And, remember to always take out your picture before cleaning your frame so you don't ruin your picture.

Anytime you use any cleaner, always test a small section of the bottom or back of the frame to make sure the cleaner works well with your metal frame.Once you're done with cleaning your metal frame, wash you hands so you don't transfer any cleaning residue onto your photo. Before replacing your photo, make sure the glass and frame are completely dry before putting back your photo. If there is moisture remaining on the glass, you can run the risk of having your photo damaged if the photo sticks to the glass.

As you can see, it's easy to take care of your picture frames properly by following these simple steps. By regularly taking care of your pictures and frames, your framed photos will always look their best.


Photographing and Displaying Wildlife Pictures

If you have some empty frames that you would like to fill, a good way can be to take some wildlife photographs. Even city dwellers might take opportunities to photograph critters, like the birds that nest outside of the high rise office building windows. Wildlife can be either truly wild, living on its own, or it may be within the charge of humans, like animals in a zoo or aquarium. No matter where they live, wildlife may become a very nice subject for any amateur photographer. Yes, your journey to the local zoo can yield shots that are so memorable you'll find yourself trying to find picture frames in order to display them.

Getting Wildlife Pictures

Wildlife shots can be a bit harder to get than traditional subjects. It is not very easy to request one of the animals to smile and say "cheese". However the time and energy spent in taking wildlife shots may be truly worthwhile if you end up having memorable shots that you love. The ideas which follow will help you shoot and capture beautiful wildlife images with ease:

• When you take pictures of wildlife, don't just limit yourself to head shots. A much better image includes the surroundings the animal lives in, along with the animal itself. This gives a feeling of place to your photograph, and in many instances, the environment is quite spectacular anyway. Allow the background of the wildlife photographs to become an important part of the overall composition of the picture while still giving significance to your wildlife subject.

• Don't be afraid to shoot wildlife photos from the car. At times you are going to be able to approach an animal when walking to take the picture, but it often is going to be scared off when you're getting close. Animals that reside in such places as national parks are often used to seeing vehicles, and the animals won't feel threatened while you are within the vehicle.

• When possible, make use of a tripod. If it is not possible to bring a tripod along, then use some kind of support to take the best wildlife shots.

• Choose the best time of day to shoot your subject. If your chosen wildlife subject may be shot when you can find ambient lighting conditions present, this is actually the best time for you to shoot outdoor shots, period. Avoid taking snapshots of wildlife in direct sunlight in the middle of the day. In fact, shooting in the shade is ideal, because it allows the object to retain its subtle relationship between light and dark.

• If you would like to capture sharp images in low light, consider buying an image stabilization lens. This will lessen the level of movement when the camera is in your hands, which results in top quality photographs.

Displaying Your Wildlife Photography

The very best way to display your wildlife photographs is in matted picture frames. Once they are properly framed, a wildlife photograph is a superb way to add an exciting feel to the interior space. Whether you decide to display wildlife photos on the desk, mantel, side table, or other position in the home or office, the best shots in carefully chosen picture frames can be a beautiful addition to your décor.

Taking pictures of wildlife and then displaying your best wildlife shots in picture frames might be extraordinarily rewarding.


Design A Wall Of Picture Memories

If you are similar to many families you are likely to have hundreds of pictures all over your house, stored away in compartments, boxes, and photo books. Even if you have got your photos safely stashed, you probably do not look at them and appreciate them as much as you really should. Rather than keeping these great pictures where you cannot see them, why don't you use them to create a wall of photograph memories in your home? If you have always admired photo memory walls in the houses of others, here are a few tips you will be able to use to set up one of your own.

Deciding on the Correct Wall

Selecting the perfect wall to display your photos in the greatest way possible is a crucial part of the process. In most cases, you will want to choose a wall that is big enough to provide plenty of photo display space. Picking a prominent spot can be a great way to make certain that your photos will be seen as much as they really should. A family room wall, hallway wall, or even a living room wall can all be great locations. Try to steer clear of walls that get a great deal of sunlight, as this might cause your pictures to fade.

Choosing Your Photographs

Because families usually have such big photo collections, it can sometimes be challenging to choose the photos they wish to put on display. If you want to find good photos for your wall, you may want to begin with a look through your family albums as well as the school picture frames around your house. Also, even if some of your pictures already are in frames, you might want to think of including them in your wall. Since of course, if you like a photo enough that you've already framed it then you will certainly want to add it to your wall. If any of the photos you select are delicate or old-fashioned, you might want to scan and print copies of them to display on the wall. Of course, you certainly would not want an irreplaceable original to get damaged.

Selecting Your Picture Frames

Choosing just the right picture frame to display your photos to their greatest advantage is also an essential part of the process. If you favor a more formal theme, choosing frames that complement each other or have visual similarities may work well. On the other hand, if you would like something that appears more casual and exciting, you can certainly use any frames which you find pleasing.

Making the Wall Arrangement

Sometimes it is hard to decide on the best wall design. Try planning your arrangement on the floor before you put holes in the wall that you don't need to. Just use masking tape or painters tape to mark off a portion of the flooring to the basic dimensions of the wall. Then you may move around the pictures in this space until you determine an arrangement that is just right. Or you may making the job even simpler by measuring out some wrapping paper and then taping it together to make the same dimensions and shape as the wall. Organize the pictures on the paper, tracing around the frames with a pencil. You may then simply tape the wrapping paper on the wall to use as a guide. Then tap the nails directly through the paper, and into the wall. Then, just remove the paper so that you can hang the photos in the correct positions on the very first try.

So now you have nothing to keep you from beginning your perfect wall photo layout right now!


Picking an Appropriate Picture Frame Mat

Contrary to popular opinion, the size, texture, and color of your picture frame mat actually aren't the most significant thing about it. The crucial thing is really quality; acid and lignin-free board is the best thing you can get, or else 100% cotton rag. Here are some factors to think about when selecting a mat:

There is one kind of mat called a transitional mat; this is the one that touches your photograph. Find the coloring that shows up the most frequently all around the outer edges of your picture, and then match your transitional mat to that color.

If you are not sure what color to decide on because there are equal amounts of both warm and cool colors, then the lowermost third of the picture should be what you match the mat to. Don't select a mat that is more saturated with color than the photo being framed. Along those same lines, you don't want to combine two mats that contrast more than the colors in the picture do; although you will not have to worry about this unless you opt for using more than one mat.

If three mats are being used, the middle one is called the accent mat. If you want something that will bring out accent colors in the picture that might not usually have been noticed, then the accent mat is the thing to do it with. If it is used correctly, the accent mat can easily help the viewer's eye move freely, uninhibited, throughout the artwork without any distraction from the picture frame and mat.

When you are using a very vibrant color as your accent mat but you don't want it to stand out very much, just make it so that the portion of that mat that shows (aka the reveal) isn't as much. This, needless to say, can be more easily achieved with the help of a professional framer - unless you have the tools and the necessary knowledge to cut your mats yourself.

If there is one thing that is the very most important thing to achieve precision in it's value s well as its shades of color, then that would be the mat which is on top. Be sure that when you're choosing your top picture mat, you take your time to find the one that will truly be best suited to give your art a nice accent.

If the mat you choose has darker or more saturated colors, then be sure to use one or two more mats beneath it in order to draw out everything that is taking place in the picture and to provide it with a richer look.

For a more simple look, select a wider top mat; it simplifies the overall look by making less visual detail close to the picture or painting.

If the reason you're framing your art is simply to sell it, then it could be a waste of time and resources to spend a lot of either one on expensive framing mats or picture frames. After all, it really is very likely that in order to make it match their home's decor the new owner would want to get a new picture frame and mat for the photo anyway. Most often, the best thing to do is to select a white or off-white picture frame mat to match the color of the paper or substrate or the most light white tone in your picture. You can typically accomplish the same result by using a black or dark gray mat. Also, if you're looking for a kind of picture frame that will go with just about any color mat, then black gallery picture frames are usually your best bet.

The majority of museums and art galleries typically like a more simple and modern look, which can be achieved by framing your artwork with just one mat.

So get out there and do a little framing! Selecting a mat and making your images look great can be simple now that you know the most important tricks for doing the job correctly.


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