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Annual Exhibition


I have a couple of questions about the Annual Exhibition / print competitions in general:

  1. What paper do you get your prints done on? Can it be the cheaper standard paper or does it have to be something of better quality? Will I get marked down if I use standard paper?
  2. What colour mounting board do people generally use? Just one colour for all your prints or a different colour to suit each print? What is the best 'all-round' colour to use?
  3. Is it always best to sharpen the images more for printing than for digital?
  4. How many images from each category will be chosen for the exhibition?

Tamsin. re you questions on printing here are my personal views

Q1   I would suggest you use a better quality paper, around 200-300 gms weight. I prefer Permajet (other brands are available), Gloss 271 for general pictorial and sport/action images, Oyster 271 (semi gloss) for nature, and either gloss or Lustre 310 for monochrome. This paper is not cheap, but you get what you pay for. I get mine on-line from

Q2  Within the YPU and PAGB dark grey mount board is preferred, with white as an alternative, coloured board is frowned upon. I tend to standardize on charcoal grey which I buy on-line from, pre-cut to 50x40cms (YPU standard size) or max size for LPS. This on-line company also do a good quality printing paper under the brand name, Pinnacle.

Q3  Genarally I think you need to sharpen images for printing more than digital images, but not too much or they will look odd.

I must stress these are my personal approach to printing, other members will have their own preferred methods, you must choose whichever suits you best, the most important thing is to enter the competitions. it's the best way to learn

Good luck


Hello Ted

Thank you for all the info and links - that's really useful.

I'm not printing at home as my printer wouldn't be good enough, but the one I've had done so far was a 'standard' print using Fujifilm paper - so it's probably about 200gms.  Interesting to hear that you print different 'topics' on different paper - I would never have thought of that!

I didn't realise that dark grey was preferred by YPU and PAGB so that's good to know. Very handy to have the mount board pre-cut and the prices seem very reasonable.

Thanks, Tamsin

Like Ted I also buy my mattes from Paper Spectrum. They have a big selection at the 500x400 mm size favoured by our Club and YPU.

I use Snow White textured mostly. But remember, the brighter the print will look very different depending on the mount. You can't go wrong with white - especially with Black and White images. I have had Mono pictures rejected at YPU because I mounted them on a creamy coloured mount (and rightly in my opinion).

Hi Tamsin. If you get your prints done commercially then DS Colour Labs do an excellent job at a reasonable price. maybe you have used them already, if not you can find them on . Their standard prints on Fuji paper are very good. Look at their technical support page for advise on preparing images for printing. Turn round is quick, normally 3-4 days. Worth a try.


Hi Tamsin. I have used DS Colour labs for years. Top quality prints on Fuji  Crystal Archival paper at very low cost. eg an 18 x 12 inch print, £1.30.

It may be because I've been such a good customer but my prints arrive next day

Re Mounting if you haven't got the facilities to make your own you can purchase ready cut slip mounts though this won't give you quite the same flexibility of making your own. I use some slip mounts that Ian recommended, only I can't remember where we got them from now!! maybe someone on here can recommend a supplier.

Howard - I took Ted's advice and got some ready cut ones from Paper Spectrum. It's ages since I've cut my own so it's great there are some ready cut ones available.

The pre-cut mounts are fine but there's one big disadvantage. You are forced to crop to the ratio of the pre-cut size. Since I crop each picture individually, I have to cut my own mounts. What is the solution? I have these suggestions:

  1. there's a smashing chap (I've forgotten his name but José recommended him and her memory's better than mine!) who sets up his framing stall at Otley Market on Fridays (and possibly Saturdays). He has cut mounts for me in the past when I've been too busy to do this myself.
  2. otherwise you need to invest in a mount cutter. Start with Paper Spectrum's 500x400 pre-cut sheets. Then cut your mount to taste using a matte cutter. I use the Longridge system which is the cat's whiskers. Longridge used to offer my old club a discount and I could get in touch with them to see if this is available. Cheaper option (and no less effective) is the Logan system that Ted uses. We could set up a demonstration for you if there's sufficient demand.
  3. Look for a free computer application called BorderCalc. It's fantastic. You measure the size of your picture and enter this and the size of the mount. BorderCalc then works out your border size (in inches or centimetres). It gives you the option of either even borders or mounting the print on the third. It is available f.o.c. for both PC and Mac (see It's not a 64bit app and won't work with Apple Mac Catalina if you're silly enough to have upgraded to that.
  4. Whatever cutter system you use I would definitely recommend Longridge's marker gauge ( No more fiddly ruling of lines, it does the job perfectly.

I have samples of the papers used by The Print Space ( and by DSCL ( I'll bring them along and spread them out on the table by the entrance tonight.

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