If you’re like a lot of people (myself included), your phone is full of pictures. Maybe you have pictures saved on your computer, too, or posted to Facebook or Instagram. How often do you actually sit down and take time to really enjoy those pictures?
Pictures are meant to be seen. Whether you fill a little photo book with snapshots from your phone or print your professional family portraits on canvas to hang on the wall, this post is my way of encouraging you to print and display all your favorite photos.
If you’re not sure where to start, that’s totally understandable. It took me two years after we moved into our house to get any pictures up. But now that I finally have some wall art in our living room, I love having pictures on our walls! I have some tips to help you get started displaying your own photos.
Where to Print
If you had professional portraits taken and want to order prints, there’s a good chance you can get prints through your photographer. Your photographer can make sure the images are formatted correctly, order from a professional lab, and double-check your prints or products to make sure there are no errors or blemishes before handing them off to you. This is a great option if it’s available to you.
If you’re ordering prints yourself, I recommend using Mpix.com. Mpix does great work. You’ll get a quality print that is much better than what you can get from your local drugstore photo lab. Not only will the image look better, the print will last longer. When you get prints from a drugstore or supermarket, the color tends to be off and the images often look grainy or soft. Printing at these labs can be quick, convenient, and a little cheaper, but as is often the case, you do get what you pay for.
I love having pictures on the walls in my house. Framed prints, canvas gallery wraps, standouts, and other specialty products make great focal points for a room. If you’re ordering prints to hang on the wall, don’t be afraid to go big with your print sizes! We often think of 8×10 and 11×14 as “big” prints to hang up, but these sizes look much smaller once they’re actually up on a wall being viewed from across the room. (In this picture of my living room wall, the large images are 16 x 24″ and the small ones are 8 x 12″.) Measure your wall space and select a print size that will fill it.
Another option, rather than hanging one big print, is to hang multiple pictures to create a gallery wall. When it comes to a gallery wall, the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can use multiple print sizes and mismatched frames to create an eclectic, fun wall. You can frame black and white prints in simple black frames and hang them in a grid layout for a minimalist design. You can do anything and everything in between!
Laying out a gallery wall can be tricky, especially if you want to incorporate multiple print sizes or orientations. Mpix offers pre-determined wall arrangements to make this step easier for you, and they send you a big sheet of paper that helps you measure where to put them on the wall. If you want to create your own arrangement like I did, I have a few tips in the next section to help you plan and hang your wall art.
Wall Hanging Tips
To plan your arrangement, you can use pieces of paper (or cardboard, or whatever) cut into the print sizes you want to order and hang them up with painter’s tape. That way you can easily move them around to try out different arrangements and how they will look on the wall.
Some products (like canvas gallery wraps and many picture frames) come with a wire for hanging or one fixture to hang on a nail. The standouts I printed came with two holes in the back for hanging. I used a piece of painter’s tape to trace the holes, taped it on the wall where I was planning to hang it, and put the nails right in the tape where I had marked the holes.
Other Ways to Display
Large pieces of wall art aren’t the only way to display and enjoy your favorite photos. Small framed prints are a great option for displaying on shelves, desks, or mantles. They can also work well as wall art in small rooms like offices or along a hallway or staircase.
I’m also a big fan of photo books, especially for the everyday snapshots you take of your family. There are many different options to order online (Mpix has great ones!), and online vendors have programs that make it easy to just drop your photos in a template and add captions. Photo books with captions and dates for important memories will be priceless to look back on years from now.
There are so many other options, too! These are just my favorites. Go big or start small, but either way, I hope this will encourage and inspire you to print and display your own photos. You won’t regret it!