Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Displaying Photographs in your Home

If there is one thing that practically all homes have in common, no matter how big or small, no matter what the style or color scheme ... it's photographs.  Especially at this stage of life that I, and most of my clients and friends are in, it's photographs of our children.  They are precious to us and they accumulate quickly! But how do we find a way to display them that's elegant and uncluttered?

One of my favorite things hanging in my house is this picture my Dad captured of our family at La Jolla Cove in California, a place that is special to us for many reasons. We had tried for a more posed picture where we were all looking at the camera, but this one that my Dad took when we weren't looking became my favorite.  I found the frame pre-made and on sale at a framing shop and had them blow up the picture and print it out to fit the frame.  I also asked them to tear the edges of the paper for an extra little detail that gives it a nice shadowed edge. Believe it or not, it wasn't all that expensive and it is the first thing people comment on when they see our master bedroom.

Today I have asked photographer Meredith Price of Bloom Photography to share a few of her tips on creating interesting and beautiful groupings of photographs in your home.

Meredith is an old friend and I  have admired the stunning pictures she has taken of her two daughters over the years. She has recently decided to follow her dream of starting her own business, capturing those special moments-in-time for others.  Be sure to check out her blog to see some of her amazing photography, as well as her Etsy shop where she is currently selling a series of photographs that make me swoon!

Here's Meredith ....

Finding ways to display favorite photos of your kids and family can be daunting.  How do you turn your favorite shots into art?  There are a few ways to approach this problem. 

The first thing I like to do is create groups of pictures that fit together.  These photos can be pictures that reflect your child’s personality. Do you have several shots of your child doing something he loves?   Do you have a few pictures of your child displaying adorable expressions (glee, curiosity, sadness)? The most important thing is to try to see your pictures in a different way. Rearrange, regroup, and repurpose your photos until you find a combination that works.   If so, group them together for an intriguing display on your wall.

Another way to group pictures is by grouping a series of pictures.  In our home we have a group of photos taken from my daughters’ baptisms.  They were baptized in the same small church in which my husband and I were married.  We grouped together pictures of the girls with a picture of the family church and a few other favorite “scenes” from those days.  Want to display photos of your daughter’s first birthday?  Don’t just put up pictures of her that day, but try to include pictures of her cake, images of her with beloved family members or pictures of just her messy hands after she smashes her cake.  What emotions are being felt that day- try to capture those.  By including other images rather than just posed or facial shots you instantly add interest and variety to your display.

            You can also group pictures based, not on a theme, but rather by frame color.  I have about 10 favorite photos varying in size, color and black and white, old and new that are all displayed together in different silver frames.  Some frames are simple and plain while others have texture; however they are all the same color.  This instantly connects the images together without looking busy or haphazard.    At the same time, you can do the opposite- have different colored frames with different textures housing all black and white pictures or all colored pictures.

            If you don’t feel like you have any pictures that can be grouped or are looking to take new pictures for a display, consider a location that is meaningful to your family.  Is there a special park or preserve that you spend a lot of time?  Is there a beautiful barn (I have a “thing” for barns!) by your home to where you can go? Wherever you choose, snap some pictures of just the location too (a bench in front of a pond at the preserve, the footprints left in the sand by your child at the beach, your front door of your home- you get the idea) to include on your wall with the same shots you take of your child at this location.

Better yet, if you have a ”souvenir” from the location that can be hung on the wall, be sure to include that too! 
Or, consider snapping pictures of your child/children around your home.   Not only will you get pictures of your child or children, but you will have them in a location that means something to you and your family. I love taking snapshots of my kids around the house- in the kitchen, garden, their bedrooms- when I look back on them, I hope to not only recall that time of their lives but where we were as a family as well.  Here is an example of how you can include pictures of your child around the home.  I took these pictures of Miss L in her nursery. By using her nursery as the backdrop, the family will not only remember how their little cutie looked at this age but will have wonderful memories of her in her bedroom as well.

Finally, try to look at your photos in a different way.  Step back and see what the image is showing you.  Ask a trusted friend or family member to look at pictures with you and offer their impressions- they may see something you haven’t yet.   


A big thank you to Meredith! If you have a big empty wall in your house ... especially, perhaps in a stairwell or hallway, why not try one of Meredith's ideas for creating a meaningful wall of art.

I've tried to do this in our upstairs hallway with a collection of black and white photographs ... which I think are always timeless. I've got a mix of portraits and snapshots of varying sizes and different frames.

What are some of your favorite ways to display family photos?