Begin by deciding to assemble a group of photos on a wall in such a way that it fits into, and enhances, it’s surroundings and is pleasing to look at. Then, proceed:
1. Draw up a plan view of the room where a photo wall might be put together. On it show the placement of all furnishings, windows, doors, lamps, plants, etc so as to determine which walls, or portions of them, could be used to display a group of photos on.
2. Next, make an elevation view drawing of the wall(s) you select. Make the drawing(s) to scale (try 1″=1′. If that’s too large, try 1/2″=1′ or 1/4″=1′). Include on it the carefully-measured wall, door(s), window(s), chairs, sofas, lamps, plants, etc.
3. Choose photo subjects to suit the room: ask yourself what goes on in the room? Is it a restful or high activity room? Think of the room from the viewpoint of someone who spends a lot of time there. Give thought to what sort of photo subjects would fit in with such a room and it’s use. For example: a room meant to be restful and relaxing as a remedy for stress could feature a photo wall with a group of photos having a ‘nature’ theme; perhaps some beautiful landscapes, evocative wildlife scenes or nature close-ups, etc. A son or daughter’s bedroom could have a photo wall that features photos of their school events, personal interests/pursuits or milestones growing up, etc. If the photo wall is in a business office, then photos of staff and business activities, products, achievements, etc could be featured there. There are so many different kinds of subject-matter. Choose what will suit the room and its normal activities.
4. Now, figure out::
- the number of pictures to use, and their placement within the group of photos.
- the appropriate size to use for each picture (8″ x 10″, 11″ x 14″, etc) taking into account picture size and the area of the whole wall, or portion of it, being considered (if using many small photos, mass them together for a larger effect; if using just one picture, choose a size that puts it in balance with the surroundings; if a very large effect is needed, you may need a photo-mural).
- the picture alignment: generally, the top or bottom of pictures should align with others in the arrangement. Pictures over one another should be vertically aligned along a common edge. Alignment gives a sense of order to the whole arrangement, but shouldn’t be overdone. A few pictures can align, then the regularity broken with a larger picture, and alignment picked up again on the other side. Avoid slight jags in an alignment by moving one of the pictures to make a new visual line.
- balance of the arrangement: make use of formal balance (pictures all the same size, in a straight line) and informal balance (pictures of different sizes, different number of them, on either side of an imaginary center line, but both sides roughly cover a similar size area) in your group of photos.
- good spatial relationships: take note of how the wall space and the arrangement of pictures goes together. You can hang pictures in one sweeping line in a hallway, and if they’re all the same size, keep the distance apart constant. Small pictures can be closer together than large ones. Allow for some open space but don’t trap a blank space with pictures all around it. Design your group of photos from the inside out. The overall picture arrangement can take many shapes, but it should always ‘fit’ well into the wall space.
5. To help you do the tasks in #4: cut out small cards representing different size pictures(to the same scale as the elevation drawing of the wall). Jot on them which pictures they represent, and try numerous arrangements of them on the elevation drawing of the wall, to find the ones you like most. Place a sheet of tracing paper over each arrangement that appeals to you and trace it. Then you can compare the various arrangements to find the one you like best of all. Note: if still unsure which sizes to use, cut out full-size pieces of paper, tape them to the wall according to your design, stand back and observe the effects. Determine if they are the right size, (or too big, too small) and if the arrangement suits your liking.
6. The Finishing Touches:
- Give consideration to mounting, matting, liners, and framing. Think about how you want the finished photos to look as part of the room’s decor. Mounting, matting, liners and framing serve to both protect the photographs and set them apart from the surroundings. Further, they support the photos so that they can be properly installed wherever. One or all of these features can be used depending on photo content, where they’re being used, and personal taste. The room’s situation may suggest a certain approach or it’s existing decor may be the determining factor for enhancing your group of photos. Consulting together with a professional interior decoration shop can provide you with helpful guidance in matters of photo enhancement.
- The final step in creating a photo wall involves the actual hanging of the finished photographs. There are many different methods and means for hanging a group of photos and you’ll want to choose those that are the safest and most effective. Here, a professional frame shop can provide you with helpful guidance in such matters.
In conclusion: As you work with the above process, you’ll become more adept with it. You’ll find yourself working at the different facets of good design all at the same time and you’ll be creating a composition with your group of photos. Remember, photography is a communications medium as well as a decorative art. You can emphasize one aspect or the other without sacrificing either. In a commercial area photographic decor can say a great deal with style and taste. In a home a group of photos featuring the family may provide just the right accent to a room and evoke treasured memories. I hope the above tips and guidelines prove helpful in putting together your own photo wall, making effective use of an exciting decorative medium.