How to Build a Photo Gallery WallJuly 8th, 2016
By Amanda Burse
Photo gallery walls are a big trend these days, but making your own can seem like an overwhelming task. As a professional photographer, I have helped many of my clients design photo walls but had never made my own until now. Being a mom of four, I have many family photos I wanted to put on display so I was eager to get started.
The first step was choosing a location, since that would determine how many photos I could feature and what size my gallery wall would be. In a perfect, Pinterest world I would have a photo wall in my hallway. In real life, the hallway was not ideal because I have toddlers, teenagers and a feline that is prone to sporadic and unpredictable jumping spasms. So I decided to put my gallery on this wall instead.
The most difficult part for me was choosing the pictures. I combed over hard drives and years of documented memories—I wanted to hang them all. With sweat on my brow, I started grouping favorites in a folder. I would put one in, take two out, and stare at the folder on my desktop. After much deliberation, I was able to decide as to what images to feature on my wall.
The design part was easy, because I already had an idea in mind. I have a favorite photographer who featured her own photo wall project on her blog several years ago, and it has stuck with me. The general rule of thumb is to have a sense of order, whether you go with an asymmetrical or grid layout. I went with a grid. As far as the size of the pictures, I have always preferred large photographs. I made the mistake of buying the standard sizes when I first started photographing my children, and the pictures were lost in a sea of wall. The first time I bought a 20 x 30 print, I knew I was never going back!
There are so many printing options to choose from: canvas, prints with frames, acrylics, and more. After spending a great deal of money on canvas in the past, I didn’t want to go with that medium for this particular project. While I love canvas, I wanted to be able to change the photographs as the kids grew.
I finally decided on clip frames. I have a small house, so every inch matters. Clip frames are unobtrusive to the space and have clean lines. They are also inexpensive, so I was able to buy more photographs! A big thank you to Quadro Frames for helping me choose the best frames to fit my space.
The tools I used to complete the project were patience, cute kids, a small hammer, photographs printed by Mpix Pro, and a laser level. I am a terrible judge of levelness, so I cannot stress enough how much easier this project was with the laser level.
I just love how the finished project turned out, and I feel like it is something that the space has needed for a long time. My gallery wall has a lot of photographs, including a mix of black and whites and color. Initially, I was worried that it would be too busy and visually overwhelming. But my wall is 100% reflective of my family—chaotic and perfectly imperfect.
If an overwhelmed, self-proclaimed photo commitment-phobe like myself can put a photo gallery wall together, so can you. Don’t put it off another moment. Show off your work so you, your family and friends can see and enjoy it!
Amanda Burse is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of three and 13. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for nine years.