3 Framing Ideas for Black and White Photos

Written by Mark Rogers

We all have those photos we wish we could print off our phone, computer or camera and display proudly. Printing your photos in black and white is a timeless, elegant choice. However, creative framing ideas for black and white photos can be difficult to find.

Should you choose a frame or mat that adds a pop of color? What if you’re hanging your photos within an existing collage in a hallway or down the staircase, or adding them to a display shelf with other photos?

Framing black and white art doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be a lot of fun! Below, we’re sharing our favorite framing ideas for black and white photos.

Keep it classic

Black and White Photos Framed in Black Frames

If you’re interested in a timeless color palette, choose a black picture frame with a white or off-white mat. A light-colored neutral mat with a strong black frame can be a bold statement that draws attention to your beloved art.

The classic silver picture frame is a great way to accentuate the variety of tones in your black and white photos. A light-colored neutral mat surrounded by the elegance and shine of a silver frame can add light and joy to a room.

For something darker, try a stormy grey or charcoal mat. In our Crescent Select 4Ply mat you’ll find dozens of darker tones to choose from such as Cloudburst, Steel Drum, Dark Shale and After Dark.

If you’re looking to set a particular mood with your black and white photos, this may be a good bridge between traditional design and a more custom choice but still a classic look.

With this classic frame style, you can easily create a display showcasing all your favorite family memories or black and white art. Select matching frames and arrange them in a grid—or shake things up with mismatching sizes artistically splashed across a wall.

Because all the frames are neutral, you’ll have more flexibility in shape and location for your gallery. It’s your space, so be as creative as your heart desires!

Tie it in with your existing decor

Wood Profile 502A Honey Maple

When you’re looking for framing inspiration for your black and white photos, don’t forget to look around your home or space. Notice your current decor (shelves, art, knick-knacks, etc.) What themes do you see? Are there certain colors, styles, or materials you really love?

Since frames come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles it's generally easy to find ones that complement your home or family's style. For example, if your home has a more rustic feel, try a distressed metal or wood frame with a small mat or no mat. Or if your home features shelves or accents of a certain color or wood finish, as seen in the photo above, opt to match or complement  them. Our Wood Frame Profile 502A in honey maple is featured in the photo above.

Our Find-A-Frame section features white picture frames that can be filtered by size and paired with either glass or acrylic glazing. If your home is more modern, try a polished metal frame with a large, off-center mat.

Our Build-A-Frame section features metal frame profiles that can be customized to any size with additional options such as double or even triple mats and non glare or UV filtered glazing.

Additionally, look where you would like to display your black and white photos. Will your wedding photos rest on a display shelf above your bed? Will pictures of your family vacation line a hallway with memories and smiles?

Go to the area where you plan to display your photos and draw inspiration from the existing decor in that room. Framing black and white art to match your home is simple: just look around!

Add a pop of color

Often, people want to offset their black and white photos with a pop of color. This can be done with a brightly colored frame such as the Nielsen Profile 117V metal frame or with over 100 hues in our mat board category. If you’re looking for more subdued tones, try the textured Bruxelles, In A Fog, or Sushi in our Crescent Select 4Ply mat. These are perfect colors for a room that already uses a neutral or light palette. In the photo above, our Crescent Select 4Ply Mat in the color 9567 - Cotton Candy is featured.

Feeling bold? Try these Crescent Select colors: Red Hot, NYPD Blue, Pickle or Mandarin. Safron, Bay Blue, and Carnelian in our Papermat 4Ply mat offer deep hues in a non-conservation option. Or choose from ten different metallic colored mats in our metallic collection. These bright colored mats work well in a room with other bold elements, like contrasting black-and-white furniture, large decorative lamps, or feature art.

Final Thoughts on Framing Black and White Art

Whatever style or mood you’re looking for, there’s a frame and mat to match—so don’t stuff your memories into a folder on your phone or computer or hide your work in a digital portfolio. With these framing ideas for black and white photos, you can turn your favorite moments or works of art into a beautiful display that will be cherished for years to come. For more inspiration for the home, visit these tips from Professional Artist and Frame Destination owner, Joely Rogers, on the Top 4 Interior Design Styles and Frames That Fit Right In.

Extras: Examples From Professional Artists & How to Create the Look

Our amazing customers offer examples of how they've chosen to feature their black and white photography, plus other examples of how to get creative with materials when showcasing art.

Professional Jim LaSala says this about his framed black and white fine art photography shown above, "A big thank you to Frame Destination for their great products and professionalism. The shopping experience is easy to understand and use. The finished product is one that I am proud to hang on my wall as well as delivering them to my clients. Packages are well packed and complete. It’s a pleasure to know that Frame Destination is there to help take my images to a higher level. The combination of Moab by Legion Paper along with these frames is a sure winner."

Create this look with Wood Frame Profile 852, Bainbridge 4Ply AlphaMat in Spanish White or Crescent Select 4Ply in White Glove, and UV/Non Glare Acrylic or UV/Anti-Reflective ArtGlass.

Photographer Bobby Baker masterfully captures the lines, patterns, and natural beauty of Cape Cod through stunning black-and-white imagery, as well as in vivid color. His dramatic “Fenced In” photograph above is custom framed in a White Wood Frame Profile S24.

Customer Image 1

Photographer Joshua McCann used old windows he had refurbished to serve as frames for his art during a recent show along with dark mats to dramatically showcase his black and white photography.

Create this look with Crescent Select 4Ply in Jet Black and UV/Non Glare Acrylic or UV/Anti-Reflective ArtGlass.

Frame Destination customer Paul Tipton went with the classic ornate option which is a great example of how to accentuate the variety of tones in your black and white photos. This ornate Wood Frame Profile 200 comes in Silver, Gold, and Burnt Gold.

Frame Destination customer Chuck Smith created this extraordinary 8ft x 12ft Art Wall and chose to complement the sleek dark lines of his decor and other accessories in the room with a selection of simple black frames in various widths. This look can be achieved with either wood or metal frames from our Find-A-Frame black frames collection.