vendor tour: Casco Bay Frames & Gallery


owners: Tony & Heather Cox
address: 295 Forest Avenue, Portland
phone number: 207.774.1260

When I opened my studio last year, I knew I wanted to partner with a local frame shop to display some of my images & offer to my clients. I chose Casco Bay Frames & Gallery. I truly feel that they understand my vision and work with me to frame every image to reflect my style and brand. What I love most, in addition to their high quality framing and customer service, is that the staff are all artists in their own right. They even host a staff art show!

On to the images...

In Portland's Hannaford "strip mall," with the best views of Back Bay and seagulls swirling overhead, is a gem of a store, Casco Bay Frames & Gallery.

Inside, a bright, spacious shop and smiles.

This is co-owner Tony Cox. Together with his wife Heather, they have owned the shop for 6 years, purchased from Heather's family. Her family has been in the framing business for more than 30 years.

Everyone expects to see a wide display of frame options when they visit a frame shop. And variety, there is! But I wanted to show you all, my loyal blog readers and clients, how a photograph is framed from start to finish.

To do this, we head back to the workroom of the shop where all the magic happens.

I loved seeing that I was on their calendar, among their busy tasks for the day.

I arrived with a 5x7 print.

The first step is to choose a mat and frame combination. Tony and Holly put their heads together to come up with the best look.

Holly finds the mat we selected from their huge stock of sizes and colors.

Next, we enter the dimensions of the photograph and mat size into a computer, which is then cut automatically. Yes, automatically! My heartstrings tugged a little when I saw how simple this was, remembering hours spent in the photo lab in college meticulously measuring and cutting mats with TLC the old fashioned way- with a ruler and razor blade.

Holly double-checks the opening, and mounts the print to the mat with a t-hinge (taping the top of the photograph to the mat, allowing it room to breathe once framed).

While Holly cuts the glass, I head back to the frame cutting room with Michael.

We selected a black Soho frame for my print, a simple black matte frame with a hint of red on the edges.

Once cut, Michael applies glue to each edge and secures in a vice clamp to dry. When dry, he fastens each edge together with a pin that looks like a square-edge staple.

As evidenced from the build-up of glue drips on the vice, Casco Bay Frames & Gallery has been located in the same space for more than 20 years.

Back in the workroom, it really starts to come together.

Holly carefully dusts before laying the glass over the photograph. Then, Emily joins the frame and matted photo together (top right), adheres a brown paper backing (middle), and measures for the wire hanger (bottom).

Next, Emily secures the wire hanger.

The shop uses an ammonia-free glass cleaner to wipe down the frame.

A putty is used to touch up the corners, if needed, to match any exposed wood to the frame color.

The last step is adding stickers with care instructions before wrapping in a protective plastic sleeve for transport.

Voila! My beautiful framed print now awaits hanging at the studio!

Thanks so much (L to R): Michael, Emily, Tony and Holly for a very fun and educational tour!

Happy March! To celebrate the start of spring this month (meanwhile, it's snowing outside in Maine as I type this!), emilie inc. is extending 20% off all framed prints from your portrait session or wedding! Please stop by the studio to see all of the beautiful options, or email me with your address to request a price & size guide.


  1. Wow...what an operation!

  2. Emilie -- I so enjoyed this post! Love reading about people who take such care and excel and joy in their craft, their work. Your photos are wonderful, and that last shot -- lol, perfect. Thank you to Tony and Heather, and to you for inviting us to share in the tour ... :-)

  3. That is a fabulous tour of Casco Bay Frames! Thank you for sharing. I love the crew at CBF--they are the best & you really showcased the great work they do! :-)


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