Your guide to standard frame sizes

1) What are the standard photo and frame sizes?

Standard Photo Sizes in the USA (in inches)
  • 4x6
  • 5x5
  • 5x7
  • 8x10
  • 11x14
  • 16x20
  • 20x24
  • 24x30
  • 24x36

We measure picture frame sizes in terms of the size of the glass that fits into the frame. So the “size” of the picture frame refers to its inner dimensions. Its outer dimensions are greater. For example, if a 4x6 inch frame has a 2-inch wide moulding, the outside dimensions of the frame are 6-by-8 inches.

The most common frame sizes for personal photos have traditionally been 4x65x7, and 8x10, which look great in most environments. Recently our 5x5 picture frames have become popular for Instagram frames and photos. Their square size means that your Instagrams don’t get cropped, and the relatively smaller size means that low-resolution Instagram photos look good in their printed form.

2)What size print will make my digital image look good?

Have you ever printed an image that you thought looked great on your device, only to receive a blurry or pixelated print? The issue here is photo resolution. “Photo resolution” refers to how many of your photo’s pixels fit inside each inch of paper when printed. The more pixels you have per inch of printed area, the sharper the resulting print is going to look.

We recommend that you use photos above 300ppi (pixels per inch) for the best quality prints, but we have found that anything above 150ppi looks pretty good. The Frameology team is a really focused on quality, so we actually don’t allow images below 100ppi. Take a look at what that means for digital image dimensions (in pixels) for different frame sizes:

Frame Size       Frameology Minimum      Recommended
4x6 400x600 1200x1800
5x5  500x500 1500x1500
5x7  500x700 1500x2100
8x10  800x1000 2400x3000
11x14  1100x1400 3300x4200
16x20 1600x2000 4800x6000

Photos taken with most modern smartphones at their default quality will look great in any standard sized frames. Unfortunately, many photos received via text or messenger app are not suitable for printing as these apps tend to compress the image files and reduce their resolution. It’s generally best if you use the original image, which can be transferred via email (when emailing image files, make sure that the sender chooses to send the image at full resolution).

If you are uploading your photos from Instagram, they are low resolution files. Instagram saves your images at a resolution of 640x640. But these do still look good in our 5x5 frames. However, they will look even better if you upload the original photo from your mobile device. Frameology allows you to upload images directly from your phone, making framing these photos just as easy as posting to Instagram in the first place. Alternatively, you can just upload photos to our frames directly from Instagram.

If you upload your photos from Facebook, they can actually be a quite high resolution. It depends. Facebook used to save all photos at a low resolution, but now photos can be saved up to a width of 2048 pixels wide. What does this mean for framing? These photos may look great in frames up to 8x10 assuming you uploaded a high resolution file to Facebook in the first place.

Regardless of how you upload your image to Frameology, we will guide you through the process and suggest frames that are an appropriate size given the resolution of your digital image.

3) Which size frames will look good?

There are two main characteristics of your image that you want to pay attention to while framing: the resolution of the image file and the content of the photo. As discussed above, the higher the resolution of your image, the bigger the photo you can print and frame. As for choosing the right frame for the content of your image, it depends on your preferences. But there are some things to consider:

  • It’s hard to see the details of everyone’s faces in group pictures unless you print them in a large enough size. We recommend 8x10 picture frames or larger for group shots.
  • If you display a group of framed photos together, choose size based on importance. Your favorite wedding shot? You probably want to go with an 8x10. A fun but less substantial moment? Choose a 5x7 picture frame.
  • Did you have professional photos taken? For an engagement or graduation, for example? Larger frames, like 11x14 picture frames, tend to show off professional photos best.

 Mats add an additional display element that complements the photo contained within. For this reason, many of Frameology’s wall frames contain an acid-free, museum-quality mat.

Ultimately, if your photo file is large enough, choosing the right sized frame boils down to preference. But if in doubt, the above tips are sure to steer you in the right direction.

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