Monday, May 17, 2010

Picture Perfect: A master photographer's tips for displaying your captured memories

As seen in May 15th's edition of the Home & Garden section of The Daily Sentinel

Picture Perfect: A Master Photographer’s tips for displaying your captured memories

My walls are too bare. At least that’s what my older sister told me. The same sentiment was echoed by my feng shui practitioner, and then confirmed by my good friend and master photographer, (That is her job title. She has a masters in photography.) Kelli McCall.

Even after living in my current home for six years, it still pains me to put any nails, screws, or hooks in the walls. It feels like I am putting a hole in my very own soul. But when three ladies, whose opinion I value, all told me the same thing, if figured they had to be right.

So I asked Kelli to give me her advice on how to get my family pictures out of the drawer and on to the walls where they belong. She took me on a field trip to her mom’s house to show me some of the photographs that she has taken over the years for her mom and how they have displayed them in interesting ways.

Here is Kelli’s advice:

When choosing the perfect frame, keep in mind that the frame molding generally should not be wider than the main subject in the picture. For example, if the subject’s head is two inches wide the frame should be no wider than two inches. This will ensure that the portrait will be what you focus on and not the frame.

Wall Placement
The portraits on your wall should hang at standing eye level. This will allow people to enjoy them without straining to see them.

If displaying more than one picture, display an odd number of pictures to create an art piece. Then group them in ways that tell a story or share a similar theme, like senior pictures or baby’s first Easter. Don’t hang dad’s fishing pictures, next to grandma’s wedding photo.

Choosing Clothing
If a wall portrait is what you have in mind, first consider where you want hang it or display it in your home. Then choose your outfit for the photo shoot according to the color scheme of that space. Remember that the people are more important than the outfit, so dress in solid colors so the focus will go to the faces instead of clothing.

Walls aren’t the only place for photographs
Coffee tables and shelves are perfect display points for smaller photographs. Make your groupings interesting by adding other decorative items like, candles, plants, and figurines, still keeping in mind the rule of odd numbers.

Matting, the frame within a frame
Matting your photographs can do a lot to enhance the look of the picture. Choose a mat color from a color in the photograph that will compliment the picture.
When you want to fill a larger space, mat your print up a size. For instance, if you have a 5x7 photograph, choose an 8X10 mat and frame.

Let them know they are loved
Did you know that displaying pictures of your children increases their self esteem? A child who sees himself in a wall portrait will undoubtedly know how much they mean to you. The most precious and unique artwork you could ever find is a portrait of those you love. Capture those moments that will tug at your heart and display them as artwork. What better décor for your home than portraits that are personal and unique.

Armed with some great advice and inspiration, my walls will be less bare and have more flare. It may mean that I have a few more holes in my "soul,” but at least they will be nicely covered by pictures of my favorite people and memories.

To find out more about master photographer, Kelli McCall, and her services check out her website


  1. I need to hang more pictures too! We only have a couple up on our walls. Thanks for the great advice!

  2. When I move to my cute new house I'll have to come back an re-read all these tips :)

    (I need help. Big time)

  3. I used to think that all my frames needed to match. Now I know that they don't have to match, they just have to go.

  4. love it! great article, annie!

  5. This article was fantastic! I knew some of those things, but I also learned a lot that I didn't know!

    After painting a room, it kinda sorta bugs me to start hammering nails or drilling holes in the walls, because there is nearly ALWAYS a mistake in hanging things. Something usually needs to be moved around, then there is an ugly mark or hole left behind to contend with. That's why I always keep a little tub of Spackle on hand! It's really no big deal to quickly fill the hole, let it dry while doing another chore, then hit it with a bit of touch up paint!

    Here's a little tip that saves me time: I buy several small Ziploc or Gladware plastic food containers, and pour leftover paint into them. I write on the lids with permanent marker, labeling the exact color and which room it was used in, then seal them tightly. It really makes touch up chores a lot more convenient, not having to pry open a big gallon can!

    A friend of mine likes to recycle her little acrylic paint bottles when empty by filling them with touch up paint. It's an excellent idea, but I like storing a larger quantity than that!

    The end.

  6. It certainly takes a creative mind for that job. A personalized photo collection would be a very productive hobby. Thanks for the advice.Portrait Photography


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