Remember when it used to be enough to have any old art on the walls in order to add color, pattern, or to take up blank space in your home? Once you start your family, however, it’s time to re-think your interior design and learn how to beautify your home with heirloom photos and collections.
Begin curating (and printing) your best digital photos
The first step in this project is to finally sit down, carve out a day (or 15-minutes a day for a month) to go through those scads of digital photos you have stored on your computer. Create a separate file for “The Good Ones,” and start moving any potential candidates into it.
Once you’re done with that process, you can go through the VIP file and choose your favorites - or all of them - for printing. Think about which photos you would want printed as a canvas, in large format, or to be displayed via smaller format clusters.
Finally, I highly recommend printing photos professionally at a local photo shop that uses high-quality photo paper and ink. Home printers rarely do a good enough job for this type of project. Also, stay away from big box stores and pharmacies, since they rarely have consistency in their quality and color.
Don’t be afraid to think BIG
Evaluate your home for the wall spaces that might benefit from a large format print or two. Entryways are often great for this, as are the wall above the baby’s crib, or the wall space above your kitchen’s eat-in area or the family room couch. Large focal points made by your own images are breathtaking and infinitely more valuable than a store bought print. And the bigger you print, the more detail you’ll see in that picture.
If your kids or family are okay with it, you can choose an eye-catching portrait or close-up of one of them, or the whole family. If this feels a little too personal, try to find a stunning photo from a family vacation - like the one when the kids were all in the tent, backlit by the lantern and with a backdrop of the night sky or standing in shadow in front of an iconic local skyscape.
Sometimes those landscapes that include smaller or even blurred images of your family are still poignant memories, rendered artistically, without making any one face too big - or too close - for comfort. Your beloved pets also make wonderful subjects for larger format displays.
Mount on paper before framing or hanging collections
If you plan to use a series of photos in a collection, spend time considering frame shape, sizes and dimensions - as well as the arrangement. You can create impermanent models by adhering prospective pictures to paper (removable glue dots are great for this) that is the same size/shape as the frame(s) you’re considering. Then play around with the arrangement(s) until satisfied. A leveler and a tape measure are your best friends during this stage, as well as when you hang them “for real.”
Create a hallway gallery featuring each child
Who doesn't love hallway family photo galleries? It’s a classic way to post all those favorites in a spot that is typically altogether vacant or becomes more like “wall storage” for the art that didn’t make the cut in the main areas of the house.
For a fun twist, divide the hallway evenly and then create “sections” dedicated to each person in the family, or one for you and your partner, and a separate section each of the kids. Start with the central photo - and make it a professional newborn image. From there, you can radiate out into pictures from various stages of their life. You can further enhance each section with some framed pieces of art that your child(ren) made along the way.
Professional Tip: Let each of the central photos be the same size, and in the same frame, for continuity. Then, regardless of the various sizes you add afterwards, keep the distance between the frames identical. This makes each arrangement appear more organized and proportioned.
Use a giant frame with equal sized photos in spaced rows
Have a collection of old printed family photos in 3x5 or 4x6 sizes? Consider mounting photos of the same size, side-by-side, in rows, inside extra-large frames. The result is like a series of blown up negatives, and it’s a great way for average and wonderful family photos to all get used up and put on display in a way that works. This is another clever way to create a large format photo installation without anyone feeling overly exposed - photos don’t really come into focus until people look at them closely, one by one.
As a professional maternity and newborn photographer, I help many families in the Bay Area decorate their homes every year. My services include customized wall-art design so your new professional pictures look their best in your space.
Are you interested in capturing stunning images of your pregnancy and those first, sweet and precious moments of your newborn’s life? Contact me, Marcela Limon of Lemonshoots, and let’s set a date to meet. I’d love to help you create beautiful art for your walls with the most important thing in your life: your family.