How to Measure a Picture Frame Correctly

If you want to get your picture framed, you need to take its exact measurements. Depending on them, you can select a suitable frame that will make the colors in your photo pop and give it extra depth. However, it might be difficult to get the exact size correctly. In case you are wondering how to measure a picture frame, read this article. Here, we will explain how to use different measuring methods to achieve the best result.

Method #1. Measuring Frame Only

how to measure a picture frame only

To understand how a frame is measured, you need to consider its inside dimensions. If you have a 5x8 image, you might want to order a frame with the same measurements. However, it will be a mistake. The dimensions of a frame refer to the size of its opening. If the size of your picture equals the size of the frame, you won’t be able to fit the latter in.

This is why it’s important to measure the inside edge. If you take a closer look at 4x6, the most common frame size for pictures, you will see that you need to get a 4x6 frame disregarding the size of the frame from the outside-to-outside edge. If the frame doesn’t have a mount, you can quickly check whether your picture fits into a frame.

STEP 1. Put your picture on a flat surface.

STEP 2. Measure the height and width of the picture that you want to get framed. In case you need to trim your photo, it’s important to do it before measuring its height and width. It might happen when your photo has white borders that you may want to remove.

STEP 3. Record the width and height of your image in millimeters without changing them. 

Keep in mind that people use a standard format for indicating the measurements of a picture, such as 5x8. Some people order the wrong frames because they don’t know which number stands for height and which for width. It’s important to remember that the width is always indicated first. The standard size is indicated as W x H. If your photo has a size of 5x8, it shows you that its width is 5 inches, and its height is 8 inches.

Method #2. Measuring a Matboard

how to measure a picture frame matboard

To emphasize your photo, you may decide to add a mat board to the frame. It might make it difficult to take precise measurements and select a frame of a suitable size. If you are wondering how to measure a picture frame size, keep in mind that matting will create a border around your piece. In most cases, it is made from a matboard designed specifically for such types of use.

By adding a matboard to your picture, you can make it stand out and give it extra volume. Matting is typically used to drive attention to photos and emphasize their colors. When you use matting, keep in mind that you will need to add the size of matting to the size of a photo to select the right dimensions of the frame.

STEP 1. Put your photo on an even surface that doesn’t have any irregularities. 

STEP 2. Take measurements of the picture that you want to frame. 

STEP 3. Check your measurements to ensure that they are precise. 

STEP 4. Record the measurements without changing the numbers. 

STEP 5. When selecting a mat, keep in mind that the opening size should be a bit smaller. It will allow your picture to stand out more. As the result, your image will be perfectly visible.

The next thing that you need to do is to decide on the width of a mat to ensure that it will fit into a standard size. For instance, if you take a closer look at the 5x8 format, which is one of the standard photo sizes for printing, and add 2 inches from every side, it will mean that you will need to use a 9x12 mat and a frame of the same size.

Method #3. Measuring for a Replacement Frame

how to measure a picture frame replacement frame

Many people ask: “How are pictures measured if you need to replace a frame with another one?” When it happens, you need to check which height and width your mount has. Make sure to measure it from one external edge to the other one while keeping your ruler or tape horizontal. Then, measure the opposite site to ensure that you have the correct width and height measurements.

STEP 1. As you don’t need to use the old backing board of the frame, remove it carefully. 

STEP 2. Put a new backing board on an even surface. 

STEP 3. Take precise measurements of its height and width. 

STEP 4. Double-check your measurements and confirm them when you are sure that there are accurate. 

STEP 5. Record your new measurements without changing the numbers.


Most such frames are compatible with a variety of memory cards. Besides, some of them support USB sticks, which makes them more convenient to use. You just need to insert a memory card with your pictures in the frame, and it will automatically start running a slideshow.

  • • What do picture frame sizes mean?

When measuring picture frames, you will notice that width is always indicated first. It is followed by the height, which is why the size is written as WxH. After taking a look at the higher value, you can understand which orientation an image has.

For example, if you have a frame with a size of 8x10, you can be sure that the first number is the width and the second is height. Since the height’s value is higher, it means that the image has a portrait orientation.

  • • What is the main difference between portrait and landscape frame orientations?

Both types of orientation are suitable for creating framed pictures. The choice between the portrait or landscape orientation depends on which design you prefer, vertical or horizontal. You can experiment with different orientations to decide which one suits your needs best.

Most portrait photos have a longer height, while landscape photos have a longer width. If you have a photo of a beautiful landscape, make sure to select a suitable frame for it. You will need to buy a special frame for a portrait photo as well.

  • • What are the standard sizes of frames?

The most popular frame sizes are 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10. Such prints are suitable for offices, private houses, and apartments. These days, many people also use the 5x5 format.

  • • What size is a 4x6 photo?

4×6 pictures are about 4 inches by 6 inches. This print size is widely accepted as it is the same as the aspect ratio of the viewfinder in most camera models. However, when you take pictures with your smartphone, you may notice that their aspect ratio is a bit different.