Go big AND go home (to your big, beautiful wall art!)

A question I get all the time is this: "How much for an 8x10?"

It seems we lovers of photography have got it in our heads that an 8x10 is a must-have item for our homes.  I'm with you.  I really love 8x10's!  Every store you go to has an 8x10 ready to buy and anyone who's ever had a baby shower or wedding shower probably has a stack of lovely gift frames ready to rock.  8x10's look great on a shelf or a bookcase or a night stand but there's one place they don't look good and that's on your wall.

Let me show you why...


Check out this beauty!

Hmmmmm... leaves  a little something to be desired, no?  Can you even tell what we're looking at?  If you were standing right next to it (that is, leaning over the couch and probably knocking some things off the coffee table while you're at it) you'd be able to peer in at this family image and see the expressions, gestures, and details.  And remember all that hard work you put into dressing everyone just so and getting the extended family and kids on location, on time with smiles on their faces?  It's a shame that we can't even appreciate those details from just a few feet away.

Now let's see that same image again nice and big...


Oh there!  Now that's better!  Now THIS is a size I can take in and enjoy.  Any guesses what size this is?  It's a 30x40.  Would you ever have thought to print that big?   If you want to have a family picture stand out as a home decor element all by itself, this would be the size I recommend.  Or, even larger still.  Just remember to choose a great company for your print production (or go with your photog's access to pro products) and make sure the retouching is done with appropriate TLC.  A stray hair across your cheek on an 8x10 is hardly noticeable but on a 30x40, it can be maddening.

Now what if you want to really make an Impact?  I define an impact piece as a print that shows our subjects literally larger than life.  So, for a portrait of your kids,  you would choose a size that shows their faces nearly as big or bigger than their actual cute, adorable, visages.  (Thank you, Mrs. Murray, for my vocab.)


See what I mean?  IMPACT!

With today's high ceilings and large, overstuffed couches, you need a BIG piece to stand out.  And more importantly, you need a BIG piece to truly enjoy what's going on in the image.

My biggest problem is that when I wrap up a shoot, I can't just pick ONE image.  I want to remember what it was like when the little girl twirled her fancy dress.  I want to see the baby taking steps with grandma.  I want to see the kids snuggling and enjoy their laughter and smiles and curious eyes full of wonder.  And yes, I want that perfect image of everyone standing together too.  So this is when I turn to wall art groupings.


This particular grouping is a favorite of mine and my clients.  It's actually 4 1/2 feet by 2 feet.  Whoa!  That is a far cry from the good old 8x10.  Now you might be surprised to hear that there are actually 8x8 and even 5x5 prints in there.  (See, I'm not totally opposed to small prints.)  The key is to artfully work with scale, color harmony, storytelling and composition to let the little pieces serve the whole and create a gorgeous conversation piece that will have you, your kids, and everyone who crosses your doorway smiling.

This particular arrangement was created using materials from a custom professional lab with an artist's eye (that would be mine), but you can certainly get crafty and make your own DIY wall art designs.  I've got some great examples for you using common sized frames.  View them on my Pinterest board.

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