Top: Cheap-ish but reasonably nice Michael's 8x10 frame (with included mat)
Bottom: Unbelievably cheap Michael's 11x14 frame with an 8x10 photo in it (mat an extra $5)
Michael's, the mecca of compulsive scrapbookers everywhere, has been seducing me lately with extremely well-priced picture frames. While many of their products are surprisingly good for the price, avoid the value-pack frames like the plague. Even though they're ridiculously cheap and even of an acceptable quality, they seem to cheapen the picture inside of it. I have this 3-pack of 11x14 frames I got for something like $20 after several coupons. While they are thankfully not shiny, even after I put a mat in it, it still doesn't look quite as good as the other frames I bought in singles (made of real faux-wood rather than plastic). It just seems to lack visual "weight". It became painfully obvious this morning as I was framing one of my better "big city" shots (i.e., one of my only "big city" shots, since I live among feral deer and rabbits in suburbia).
I shot one of my first HDR pictures on top of the Empire State Building, and though I am not usually a fan of HDR, I was quite proud of this one. I could have bought another 8x10 frame, but I remembered that I had that 3-pack of 11x14's, so I decided to print it 8x10, mat it, and put it in the 11x14. The result was acceptable, but certainly not as good as I would have hoped. Now, instead of placing it in a more prominent area of the house, I have relegated it to a dark corner in an upstairs hallway. It's too bad, really. I mean, I could get a better frame, but ultimately, laziness prevails once more.