Getting a picture framed
Considerations before framing your picture
Getting any picture framed properly helps to preserve it and, any picture, when dressed up properly, always look much nicer.
For a normal photo, I would find an instant frame and pop it in myself, bearing in mind leaving an approximately 1-2 inches of space all around between the work and the frame. Ready-made frames nowadays are nice looking only less sturdy. The glass that comes along is hardly high quality, minding the cost, it is decent enough for a show or a temporary exhibition.
In an order of importance, I’d say that mats are vital, then the glass and the frame, because quality mats help to preserve the piece and provide a place to rest the eye. No, the mats come with the instant frames are not acid free.
A rolled up canvas has to be stretched onto a bar before popping into a frame. Stretcher bars could be homemade, but pay attention towards the right angled corners. Instant ones come in standard sizes, make sure the dimension of your canvas is wider than the bars so that the edges could be stretched over the sides. You could eliminate the cost of adding a frame by dabbing black paint on the side edges.
As a consumer, I'd always compare. Different stores carry different styles of mouldings with different pricing. Some stores advertise huge discounts as attractions while others work on a more personal level. Chained stores may provide the same service, but 'speed against quality' is always an issue; I believe framing is an art itself which requires time and patience to get the job done well.
To prevent being a victim of up-selling methods, tell the framer your budget and stick to it. It saves the salesperson the effort and saves you the time. There are always more beautiful frame combinations as the price goes up. It is up to you to decide what is sufficient and reasonable.
If you think the frame shop is over-charging, it's probably the care, the experience, quality and workmanship involved. For further reassurance, do check out the local framing guild for authentic certification.
Lastly, choosing a frame could be a long process and it might not be a good idea to bring your toddler along!