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Keep Your Family's Memories Alive

DECORATE YOUR HOME WITH BEAUTIFUL WALL ART USING YOUR FAMILY PORTRAITS

Article by Karen Kwong

Photography by Karen Kwong & Provided

As a family photographer, I always encourage my clients to invest in wall art designed with portraits from their photo sessions. In today's digital world, this is often neglected because many people are used to thinking only digital and social media; although some do plan on designing and printing the wall art themselves. Pictures shared on social media get forgotten very quickly. And the reality of a self-planned home decorating project, is that it often gets put on the back burner and eventually forgotten as time goes by. Pictures that are printed out and displayed around the house do make the best connection with us, as those family memories stay with us for a much longer time.

Why choose a photographer who focuses on wall art?

Quality is the number one reason. Making a digital only product vs. a wall art piece requires different levels of commitments. Digital photos, especially the ones used for social media sharing, do not require much attention to details, because electronic displays compress the image even if it is made with great quality. Therefore, it is overkill for photographers to invest too much time producing work that are only intent to be shared digitally.

Wall art pieces design and production, on the other hand, require the photographers to carry advanced skills both when taking and editing the photos. It also requires the photographers to possess certain level of interior design knowledge. The mindset behind "print big" and "making an art piece" challenge the photographers to be better both in their technical competency and their customer service quality.

Why have the wall art designed and made through your photographer?

First of all, having the wall art designed and made through your photographer ensures that your home decorating project gets done professionally in a timely manner, instead of being forgotten over time. It also saves you a lot of hassles and takes the guess work out of putting a design together.

Having your photographer design and make the wall art also empowers us to deliver the best well thought, high-grade products that would meet your expectations. With the intention of producing an art piece in mind, we plan and make photos that would be great for wall art display during the actually photo session already.

Over the years, I often receive complaints from clients that the prints they make themselves appear to be dark and washed out in colors. Printing through a photographer can avoid that problem. This is because electronic display devices are all calibrated differently. A photo therefore would appear different in colors and tones across different display devices. Photographers usually print through professional labs (or we might have our own in-house printing equipment). Our screens are calibrated to the printer profiles in the labs or our own in-house printing equipment to ensure the prints we make would represent closest to what we see on our own screens.

The last but not least, photographers who value prints always go for archival-grade products. The motivation behind it is simple - we want to make heirloom pieces that can be passed onto generations. Such mentality will be directly reflected in the quality of our work and service.

Most commonly chosen wall art decor items

There are a range of wall art decor items to choose from that would meet different budgets. Gallery wraps and custom frames are still among the two most popular choices.

Many people love gallery wraps for their rich textures and elegant, simplicity look. When choosing gallery wraps, most people love to have that three dimensional feel by having the photo extend to the edge of the print. Depending on the original size of your photos and the size of the wraps you pick, image extensions might be required. This is when a photographer's expertise comes very handy.

When it comes to gallery wraps, I always encourage my clients to go for a big but simple design. It can be a few in a row or just a single piece.

Above is an example of a 30"x30" gallery wrap my client Analisa ordered. I applied image extension editing service so the photo wraps around the edges to achieve that artistic three dimensional look. The photo is displayed on her foyer at top of stairs. Analisa is a "Joanne Gaines wanna-be". She enjoys everything related to home renovation and all things HGTV. She has dreams of one day leaving her corporate job and flipping houses or doing home redesign. I am thrilled to see that as a home design enthusiast, Analisa chooses to decorate her home with this beautiful photo from her summer family outdoor portrait session with me.

Custom frames offer the most flexibility but many people find the process intimidating, because there are way too many elements to consider - whether it is size choice, frame design, mat width/color, mounting option, protective method...getting professional help would save you lots of time and energy. Many photographers, including myself, invest in samples, templates, and software to aid our wall art design.

Here is an example of a custom frame I designed for my client Karen. The picture inside the frame is 20"x30" in size. Karen chose this particular frame design so it matches her overall home decors style. She loves the texture of a canvas in high shine glossy look, but does not like mat nor wish the photo to be covered by glass or acrylic. We therefore chose a high gloss gel coated (for both the look and protection) canvas print and mounted it on 1/8" masonite before framing. If desired, we can also add brush stroke effect coating.

Besides gallery wraps and custom frames, metal, wood, and acrylic prints are gaining popularity as well. They are great for modern home designs but are limited in size choice and other customization options.

How to work with your photographer on your wall art designs

The most effective way is to visualize it. Your photographer will most likely set up an appointment to show you samples and understand your needs and requirements. Such service provides great values and should be taken full advantage of. Your photographer might ask you for a picture of the wall (with surrounding decors, structures, etc.) along with measurement to assist the design. We might also arrange a virtual consultation through a live meeting, or even arrange an in-home visit and take measurements for you. During this consultation, you will have the chance to explore different types of products your photographer offers and determine which ones fit your home decoration needs and requirements. We will then attempt to design the wall art gallery for you using templates or software and plan the shoot to make photos that will go well with the design.

Here is an example of a wall art gallery concept I did for a client using a design template. The family's photo session was planned with different sub-groups and poses in mind so there will be various photos going into this gallery design. The design features a combination of 16"x20" frames with matted 11"x14" prints, 11"x14" frames with matted 8"x10" prints, 8"x10" frame with matted 5"x7" print and 5"x7" with matted 4"x6" print.

Besides wall art gallery, you can also consider display frames on shelves, desks, or arrange a few albums and books be used as coffee table decors. Image boxes and portfolio boxes are great for your home library as well.

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