- usually 1/8 or 1/16 of an inch looks good to my eye. Wider margins are good for writing a caption. Much wider margins can be very artistic. A slightly wider bottom margin helps "ground" the photo.
- Mat colors of white, grey, light blue, cream, and black seem to work best. 4x6 pads of neutral color cardstock papers are good staples. After cropping photos and selecting the background page color, try different colors to see which color seems to complement the photos and the background color.
- To actually mat the photo, adhere the photo (I use one photo adhesive square on the back of each corner) to the lower left of the mat, keeping the left and the lower margins equal. Then only the right and top margins need to be actually trimmed.
I use special matting is used less frequently to keep it "special:"
- Double matting a stacking a neutral color close in a thin margin close to the photo and a more vibrant wide color on the bottom.
- Asymmetrical matting of the left and top margins thinner than the wider right and bottom margins really frames photos that you want to be the center of attention.
- Very bright mat colors work with very bright photos and subject such as children's parties or Disney theme parks.
- Cropping photos square, matting in white, then trimming with "perforated edge" scissors creates the look of "vintage" 1950's and 1960's snapshots.
- Trimming mats with lacey or scalloped edge scissors creates a fantasy or princess look.