Photo Frame Sizes Chart

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Photo Frame Sizes Chart

With digital home photo printing within almost everyone's grasp, the only thing one has to actually go to the store for is the photo frame. Home printing has made it easy to print photos in any size, but finding a frame to fit can be a little difficult. Finding an attractive frame is as important as the picture in it. For this reason, it may be wise to shop for the frame first and then print pictures to suit the frame. At the same time, not all photos can be printed at any size with good results. One has to know a little about digital picture resolution in order to print a photo at the best size. Poster-lovers might also want information on how to frame posters in an attractive way. This guide includes both a chart on standard photo frame sizes and tips on framing photos and posters.

Standard Photo Frame Sizes

Frame sizes are expressed in terms of the photo size that fits inside the frame and do not reflect the actual frame size. For example, a 4-by-6 inch frame actually measures 8 inches by 10 inches if it has a 2-inch decorative border. This is rarely an issue but should be taken into account when choosing frames for tight spaces. The table below lists standard photo and poster frame sizes.

Photo Frame Sizes (in inches)

Poster Frame Sizes (in inches)


4x6 (common)

5x7 (common)

6x8 (common)

8x10 (common)





11x14 (common)



16x20 (common)

20x24 (common)


24x30 (common)

24x36 (common)







As the chart shows, photos come in many more sizes than posters. The frames for photos and posters differ mainly because posters are generally longer. Horizontal frame sizes may be expressed with the length first (i.e. 6x4 instead of 4x6), but the vast majority of frames can be used both horizontally and vertically.

Tips for Framing Photos

A frame costs much more than a photo and yet its purpose is to blend into the background to bring out the best in the photo. For this purpose, frames come in all kinds of styles and colors, from minimalist black frames to ornate silver ones. Frames can be made of wood, plastic, metal, or even glass with small clips to hold the photo in place. Before buying a frame for a digital photo that will be printed, however, one should make sure the photo will look good in the size one wants. This depends on the digital image size of the photo.

Print Size and Digital Resolution

A digital photo's size is measured in terms of pixels. When the photo is printed, the pixels are spread out over the size of the print. If they are spread too thin (that is, at a very low resolution), the print looks pixelated and shows squares of color that chop up the picture at close range. Therefore, in order to achieve a given print size, there is a limit to how small the digital image size can be. There is some flexibility in choosing the resolution, which is the setting that determines how many pixels are printed per inch. A resolution of 300 ppi (pixels per inch) is used for professional applications, while 200 ppi is generally enough for home printing purposes. The table below shows the minimum image size for the print sizes one might want, assuming a resolution of 200 ppi.

Desired Print Size (in inches)

Minimum Digital Image Size (in pixels)









For other print sizes, simply multiply the length and the width of the print size by 200 to calculate the minimum necessary image size at a resolution of 200 ppi.

Matting Photos

Small photos can be mounted on a mat board (also called a matte board) before being framed to give a professional and striking appearance. Pre-cut mat boards are easily available, but with a little practice, a beginner can learn to cut a mat board with just an X-acto knife and a ruler. If a photo must be matted, the frame size depends on the size of the mat board used. Mat boards come in standard sizes as well as large uncut sheets to make custom framing possible.

With an irregularly sized photo, matting can be a way to make the photo fit in a standard frame. Simply choose a standard-sized mat board in a size larger than the photo, and cut a custom opening for the photo in the mat. The mat can then fit inside a standard frame, saving money on custom framing.

Multi-Photo Frames

Some frames allow multiple photos to be placed in various openings to create a collage. This is a great idea for family pictures or baby pictures. When securing pictures to a mat board in a multi-photo frame, use just one piece of tape. This allows the photo to expand and contract with temperature changes and prevents warping.

Tips for Framing Posters

Posters require different framing from photos because of their size. Many posters that are framed are also irreplaceable collector's items or artwork that has to be preserved carefully. For this reason, the frame has an aesthetic purpose but more importantly, a protective function in holding the poster or artwork. Here are some framing tips specific to posters and reprints of artwork.

Archival Quality for Posters and Valuable Prints

The backing of a frame used for posters, collector's items, or valuable photos should always be archival quality. This means the backing contains no acids or lignins that could break down the photo over time. If using tape to secure the poster in place, the tape should also be acid-free tape. In the case of posters and other large items, the recommended material for the frame is UV-filtered plexiglass and not regular glass. This is because large sheets of glass can break and irreparably damage posters. Also, glass does not prevent UV rays from damaging the color quality of the poster. Photos and posters fade over time if exposed to direct sunlight.

Use Static to Hold a Poster to the Backing

Getting a poster perfectly positioned within the frame can be frustrating because even a tiny shift in the poster can show in the frame. To help the poster "stick" to the backing without using tape, rub a towel over the poster as it lies on top of the backing. The static build-up will make the poster cling to the backing, giving the framer time to correctly position the plexiglass on top. Be sure to clean the glass or plexiglass as well as the poster to avoid unsightly dust or streaks inside the frame.

How to Buy Photo and Poster Frames on eBay

Having a photo or poster framed by professionals can be costly. Especially in the case of posters, the large sheets of plexiglass and custom framing needed can be prohibitively expensive. For this reason, many people choose to frame their own posters and photos. By ordering materials from online sellers, you can avoid the costs incurred by brick-and-mortar framing shops.

The main concern with shopping online is the reliability of the seller. With eBay, you can take advantage of the public feedback system to see any seller's history on eBay. By choosing a seller with a high feedback score (or one who has earned the title "Top Rated seller") you can make sure you only do business with reputable sellers with a history of great customer service and fast shipping times. This makes eBay a great place to look for custom framing supplies.

To look for frames and framing supplies on eBay, enter a search term like "photo frame" in the Search box at the top of any eBay page. You can then refine the search by frame type, size, material, style, color, and more criteria. eBay's advanced search functions make it easy to find just the frame you need in a matter of minutes.


Photo framing is an art form all of its own. Framing a photo or a poster requires an eye for aesthetics and some know-how. Understanding the standard photo frame sizes is a good start because these frames are the most common and affordable. Custom framing is usually expensive, so customers are well-advised to stick to standard frame sizes. Digital photos need to have a certain minimum resolution in order to look good when they are printed. Matting photos is a solution when irregularly sized photos or artwork need to be framed. Matting also makes photos look professional. There are special techniques for mounting and framing posters and other valuable collectors items. Those framing posters often use special materials like UV-filtered plexiglass and acid-free tape. These materials as well as a huge variety of frames can be found at affordable prices on eBay. eBay's security features and advanced search options make finding all the necessary materials easy and save a customer money on custom framing when it is not necessary.

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