Quick quiz. How many of you spend time, money, and/or tons of effort creating beautiful family portraits every year or so, only to enjoy them by pulling up the digitals on your computer? Yeah, show of hands here. Yup. I see you. I admit. I've been guilty of this, too.
But your families are BEAUTIFUL! They are your treasures here on earth (especially when they're sleeping, am I right?). So it's time to get those portraits OFF of your computer and ONTO the walls of your home!
Now for some of you, this might cause a bit of a panic attack. Where do you start? How do you know which portraits to put where? What's too big? What's too small? Is there even such a thing? (yes and no) If these questions spring to your mind, then this blog post is for you! I'd love to share with you a few important tips to consider before pulling out the hammer and nails.
1. CONSIDER PORTRAIT SIZE
When I discuss portrait prints with my clients, I use two terms. Gift prints are for anything 8x10 and smaller. Wall portraits are for anything 11x14 and larger. This is not a random decision or a way for me to have two different items to sell. This is because anything sized 8x10 and smaller really belongs on a desk or table, not on a wall. It's too small to be up on a wall, especially if it is hanging alone. So decide what you are thinking about for your home. Are you looking to display a nice portrait in the built-in book shelves in your living room? Then go with 8x10 or 5x7. If you are looking to hang your portrait(s) on the wall, then go 11x14 or larger.
2. CONSIDER THE PHRASE "GO BIG OR GO HOME"
I'm a sucker for this one, but it's true. I can't help but chuckle when I hear someone tell me that they're considering going large for their wall, and want to order an 11x14. If you've said that, I'm sorry I'm chuckling at you. I'm not being nice, am I? But consider this. Have you ever walked into someone's home and seen a wall display (whether family portraits or landscape or art) and gone "Wow! That's beautiful!". Was it ever over an 11x14? Probably not. So hear me out. I love my family. I adore my kids. I especially love having captured moments (rare moments) when they are happy, connected, and showing love for each other. So those moments are going big on my walls. My favorite wall in my house is my "wow wall", a display of 3 separate solo portraits of my kids, each one a 16x20 in a matted 20x24 frame. I update them each year, and years later, walking by that wall still makes me stop, stare, and smile. Go big or go home.
3. CONSIDER COLLECTIONS
I know many photographers (myself included) create portraits with collections in mind. When I am posing children for solo portraits, I consider how mom might want to display these portraits. I create both landscape and portrait sized images. I create combinations of kids alone, mom and dad alone, full families, and solo shots. I love to shoot both traditional poses and relaxed, unposed, more "outtake" like shots. Then I sit down with families and work to create a beautiful wall collage. Your portrait photographer should be able to offer this help to you, so that you can enjoy your entire session in one collective display. This is a great way to showcase lots of moments, expressions, and images at once.
4. CONSIDER QUALITY
Ok, ladies (and gents?), this one is important. I know you may not think so, but I promise it is. Please consider the quality of the prints you order. If you are working with a professional photographer and ordering prints and portraits from him/her, then you can expect that your portraits will be from a professional print lab and of the highest quality. If you are not working with a professional, that does not mean you can't get similar high quality. That means staying away from the penny sites (those sites offering 100 prints for a penny). I once made the mistake of trying such a site for my family pics. I always use a professional lab, but I came across that discount- 100 prints for a penny. I should have known better. First, it was 100 4x6 prints and who wants that? (remember I am of the belief, "go big or go home", so 4x6 prints have no business in my house). Second, it's true. You get what you pay for. I cringed when I received those prints. My kids suddenly took on an alien like resemblance (and I'm not talking about their crazy antics!). Greenish tint on some, pinkish tint on others. It was a disappointment. Now granted, I hadn't wasted money, so that's fine. But if you are looking to display portraits you spent time, money, energy on, then you want great quality portraits. Professionals have thier favorite labs, and mine is Mpix! I use their pro site, but they have an everyday site that you can use, even without a business account. Please go check them out. www.mpix.com
5. CONSIDER TODAY
Don't wait. Seriously, go do this now. How many of you have that disc in your desk drawer? Or those beautiful images in a Drop Box folder? Get going already! Don't stay stuck because you can't make a decision. Because if you wait too long, the kids are going to grow, change, become even more beautiful (how do they do that???) and you'll need to update your family portraits again! So take a chance. Choose your favorite family portrait and go order a wall portrait (remember what size that is?). Or one of each kid. And if you really feel stuck, email or call me!!! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to help you sort through family portraits and create a great wall collection for you, or a starting place for your first portrait. This is what I do. This is what I love to do! I can help.
Are you ready to get those portraits up on your wall? It's time to start displaying those portraits for your own personal enjoyment, as well as for those who you welcome into your home!