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Family Photo Wall ~ Gallery of 20-inch Square Frames

Several years ago, I decided to put up a gallery wall of family photos à la famous and fabulous photographer Tara Whitney.  And it was love at first sight.  Just sitting at the kitchen table with those huge, cheery pictures made me happy.  My boys never tired of pointing out new details they noticed or asking questions about what was happening when the photos were taken.  But then eight months ago we added baby #3, and something (or rather, someone) was missing from the wall.   Ever the model of efficiency, it only took me about 7 1/2 months to put together an update, and though I hardly thought it possible, I now love looking at the whole shebang even more.

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Determining a layout and which photos to feature was the fun part.  I tend to take way too many pictures of my kids, but for a project like this, that compulsion came in rather handy.  I couldn’t decide on black and white or bright and colorful, so I ultimately opted for a mix.

I ordered three boxes (4 to a box) of 20×20-inch square clip frames from Quadro Frames.  This left me with a few leftover frames that I used elsewhere in my house.  Despite being packed really well, a piece of glass in one of the boxes was broken.  However, the issue was quickly resolved via e-mail and I soon received a replacement pane.

When I need large and/or high quality prints, I typically order my photos from Nations Photo Lab.  I’ve always had positive experiences with this company.  They regularly run great sales (I always wait until the print sizes I need are at least 50% off), the ordering process is easy, and the photo quality is excellent.  For this photo wall, I ordered color corrected prints in a metallic finish.  Since my computer monitor is not calibrated, I like to ensure that my colors won’t be off when I’m blowing up a photo to such large dimensions.  And the metallic finish is sharp and bright while adding a nice depth to the photos.  I’m sure I would be equally pleased ordering from some of the other quality photo printers out there — Mpix comes to mind as another company that I’ve heard good things about — but I don’t know if NPL’s sale prices can be beat.  When you’re talking about ordering nine large prints, costs quickly add up.

But how do you ensure that your photos remain sharp and clear when you blow them up to giant 20x20s (or larger)?  Pop over to this tutorial to learn a resizing trick in Photoshop that allows you to increase print size without losing resolution!

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This gallery wall is particularly dramatic because of the dimensions of the photos and the size of the overall display, but it could easily be replicated in a smaller space using 10- or 12-inch square photos.  Of course, smaller photos wouldn’t serve the dual purpose of camouflaging smudges and stains on a wall of unforgiving flat paint in too-close-proximity to a cute but food-slinging high chair occupant.  I can promise you that pureed peas wipe off of picture frame glass more easily than the wall.  In fact, maybe I should consider hanging additional rows of pictures floor to ceiling…

So sorry…where was I?  Keep in mind that the above photos depict my most recent, updated display.  When I first hung this gallery, I added a TTV (Through the Viewfinder) effect to my pictures using Photoshop and tutorials linked in Tara Whitney’s blog post.

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This TTV technique adds a digital overlay to each photo to make it appear that it was taken “through the viewfinder” of an old camera.  The edges of the viewfinder create a thin black frame and the dirt, splotches, and scratches of the aged lens are also visible across your photo.  Of course, if you have a 3-year-old, be prepared to field repeated questions about why the pictures you hung have black marks all over them. Whatever.  Some people just don’t appreciate fine art.

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The TTV enhanced photos looked striking and artsy and I adored the appearance of the overall display, but when it came time to update pictures, I decided to change things up and go with a cleaner look.  So which do you prefer?  With or without the TTV overlays?

A good gallery wall brightens a room and captivates everyone who spends time studying it.  But most importantly, it is an ideal canvas to feature the people, places, and things closest to your heart.  I hope that this photo display has inspired you!

 

This post is linked to the following parties: Strut Your Stuff Saturday (Week 100) at Six Sisters’ Stuff, Linky Party #11 at Suburbs Mama, Hookin Up With HoH #157 at House of Hepworths, Give Me the Goods Link Party #23 at Rain on a Tin Roof, Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop 38 at Carrie This Home, and Throwback Thursday #1 at Glitter, Glue & Paint.

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Comments

  1. Suburbsmama says:

    I love your gallery wall. Thank you so much for linking up.

  2. OOooo, I love the clean, “crispness” of the new gallery. So fun! I have a collage like this in my hallway, but we don’t have cool, tall ceilings, so it’s 5 pictures wide and 3 long. Decorating with my family photos makes me happy and I think gives the home a cheerful warmth that art wouldn’t!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I totally agree, Tonya…decorating with family photos is my favorite way to go! I never get tired of looking at them… 🙂

  3. This looks great! I love big pictures and I too take so many pictures of my kids. I really like the mix of black and white and color. I always think to stick to one or the other, but now I’ll have to try a mix. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier! I’ll be pinning this!
    Corey

  4. Such a great idea. Looks really nice! I love the mix of black and white and colorful pictures. It is so great that you can change them up as the mood strikes.

  5. I love, love, love how this gallery turned out! Those pictures are fabulous! Your photographer friend is really talented. I have a smaller gallery wall in my kitchen and it really brightens up my day seeing my family smiling back at me.
    Would you mind to link this up to my blog hop? Our readers would love to see this! Just click on the Carrie This Home above and it will take you right there. Thanks!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much for the sweet words, Carrie! I totally agree that it brightens my day to pass by this gallery of happy pics of my family. I’ll definitely check out your link party. I really appreciate you stopping by!

  6. This is beautiful! I’d love if you’d link up to The DIYers.

  7. Happy Labor Day! Just wanted to let you know that you were featured at Give Me the Goods. Come by, grab a button, and link up some more fabulous projects!

    Rachel @ Maison de Pax

  8. I LOVE THIS. Definitely will be stealing your idea to reproduce in our upstairs hallway… the walls are a big blank canvas right now!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`¤… Jennifer
    Jenn’s Random Scraps

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks so much, Jennifer! I’m sure a display like this will look fabulous in your hallway. It’s a great way to fill up a blank wall, that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by… 🙂

  9. Samantha! I love the idea that you mixed color and black & white photos. It’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing this at Throwback Thursday!!

    xoxo
    Denyse

  10. So happy that I found your blog! I’m working on replicating this gallery wall at my house, and am hoping you can give more detail about the frames. Can you tell me which “glazing options” you chose? I’m also trying to decide on the prints themselves, glossy or matte? Thanks so much for your help!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Kelly! I apologize for my delayed reply! Like I mentioned in the post, I typically order metallic prints from Nations Photo Lab for the gallery walls in my home, and I would probably describe that finish as more matte than glossy. So if choosing between regular matte and glossy, I think I’d choose matte, mainly to cut down on the glare.

      There actually weren’t glazing options for the clip frames back when I ordered them (like, 5 years ago). But I can tell you that my frames have glass panels. It seems to be just regular glass, not glazed or anything. That being said, I just looked at the current options on the Quaddro website and I see that glare-free plastic is an option. I might actually recommend going with that! The glass on my frames is pretty delicate (I’m always afraid a kid is going to bump into one of the frames and crack the glass, though that hasn’t happened yet!), and a few panels of glass were actually broken in the box when the frames were initially shipped to me (although the immediately sent me replacements for free). So if plastic is an option, I might do that and get the anti-glare coating, which will help you actually see your photos from different angles. 🙂 Hope that helps and I’m sorry again that it took me a few days to get back to you. I hope you love your gallery wall when it’s complete! I’m actually due to swap out the photos on my wall…just need to get our latest family photos printed. 😉 Have a great rest of the week!

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