Updated: Sep 3, 2020
One of my clients sent me an email that basically read - I want a photo wall but I can't do it and I don't want to learn how. Can I pay you to walk me through every single step?
My response - YOU BETCHA!
People tell me that photo walls feel really overwhelming to do - I have a theory though that photo projects aren't difficult if you know how to do it. So, put me in coach I'm about to demystify it for you and I won't charge you. In fact, if you wanted me to do I would tell you to hire a designer.
Let's get started - the most critical and fundamental step in all photo projects is to know what you want to and release the idea that it will be perfect. Perfect artwork is boring and uninspiring.
Ok, first step is figure out what you want to do.
Step 1: Figure out what you want and where you want to put the photos. In my family we have a wall of my favourite artwork. I walk into our front door and immediately feel happy. Some pieces felt like big financial investments, some were special gifts and one is a $10 poster we got in San Francisco. My dining room has turned into the kids school space so when I tried to photograph the space he freaked about added back those damn sticks he decorated and all the other clutter. Ok, I'll stop ranting. The key to selecting a style is to first find inspiration and showcase your very favourite things. Ask yourself how do you want to feel when you look at it?
Step 2: Start collecting photos you love. A photography professor once had me print off all of the photos I thought I wanted in my portfolio. He told me to tack them up on a wall in my house and every time I walked by to remove the ones I was so/so about. It's amazing what happens when you print a photo. It's important not to skip this step - create a folder on your desktop and simply move your favourite images into that folder. Once you have your photos send them to Costco or Walmart to print - quality doesn't matter because you'll likely throw them out or let your kids play with them - don't be precious about this it's art not science.
Step 3: Select your design - now that you have your photos it's time to decide how you'll display them. If you follow me on Pinterest I have a board stuffed with gorgeous photography display ideas. Once you decide on the look you love - take a roll of painters tape and draw it out on your wall. Emily Henderson, one of my favourite designers has a great blog post on how to do this - find it here.
Step 4: Pull it all together - I can bet you printed WAYYYYYYYY more photos that you have slots for. That's ok, stay committed to culling your photos until you get jussssstt the right amount you're looking for.
Step 5: Choosing where to buy your frames - it doesn't matter where you purchase your frames but the sign of a good frame is one that has corners that meet perfectly in the corners. If you're buying from a big box store or roaming around your local thrift store make sure the corners look good before purchasing. If the corners aren't perfect they will eventually shift over time.
On a final note - please don't overthink this task. It will never be perfect and if you hate it you can switch out the photos.
by Emily Doukogiannis
Emily Doukogiannis is a Toronto-based portrait photographer, expert storyteller and compulsive photo book maker. Her commitment to telling people's stories is something Emily does in her spare time via Emily D 4 Change and countless media outlets.
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