Last month I shared the importance of displaying family photographs in your home and why you need to hang your family portraits on your wall. In short, children whose parents display family photographs on their walls grow up with greater confidence, sense of belonging, stronger feelings of value and a better understanding of where they came from.
So how do you decide which photographs to put on your wall and where do you start?
Fill Your Space
First decide which wall in your home you’ll be hanging your family photographs on. The biggest mistake most people make is choosing a size that doesn’t appropriately fill the wall.
We tend to think of 4”x6” photos as the ‘normal’ size, 5”x7” photos as the size for ‘special’ photos such as school portraits and Santa pictures and 8”x10” photos when you want to go big.
Here is what an 8”x10” photo (matted and framed to 11”x14”) would look like over a couch.
It looks more like a postage stamp than a beautifully displayed family photograph!
In general you want the total width of your gallery to be close to 2/3’s the width of your sofa.
Here are some examples of photos that fill the space well. The frame on the left is 30×40” and the ones of the right are 20×26” and 16”x20”.
One Image or Multiple Images
Next you’re going to decide on how many photographs you want to fill that space – one large portrait or a gallery of smaller images.
One large family photograph provides great impact though it can overwhelm, especially in a smaller room. If you decide on one large family photograph for your space, choose a wider-angled photograph (one taken from further away) to give the image some breathing room.
A gallery of multiple family images lets you fill the space without being overwhelmed and allows you to feature more beautiful photographs of your family.
Which Images Do You Choose?
Think beyond the traditional ‘everyone smiling at the camera’ photograph that most people default to for their wall. I call this one the Christmas card photograph. You know the one… everyone is posed and looking at the camera, smiling beautifully.
Yet often this isn’t the photograph that elicits the greatest emotional response. Fill your walls with the images that bring you the most joy, which very likely is the one of all of you cuddling together and loving each other or the one of your husband throwing your little one up in the air while she squeals with glee.
There’s nothing wrong with displaying that beautifully posed image of those you love most in the world, but before you immediately decide on that one as the centerpiece, consider your options.
Try It Out
If you’re still not quite sure about the sizes and arrangement you’ve chosen, try it out first. You can buy a large inexpensive roll of Kraft shipping paper at most drug stores, postal outlets or big box stores. Cut out pieces of paper the size of your frames (not just the photographs) and tape them to your wall.
You’ll know within 24 hours whether the gallery you’ve chosen is too small or just not quite right. You’ll have the added benefit of previewing the height of your gallery so you’ll know if you want it a touch higher or a touch lower when it comes time to hang your photographs.
Looking for more inspiration on how to display your family photographs? Each week on the Jenn Di Spirito Photography Facebook page. Jenn features a new wall gallery to inspire. Or visit Jenn’s site to find past weeks’ sample wall gallery features.