As a documentary photographer in love with shooting real, un-posed moments, I hear these laments from clients often: “Oh, how I love this photo, but I just don’t know how I would display it!” or “I love candid photos, but I need a posed family portrait for the wall.”
While every mom (including myself!) loves a good posed family portrait and certainly should have one or more on their wall, you can also have beautiful, moment-filled walls in your home.
Imagine being surrounded daily with your all-time favorite memories: summer sprinkler runs, fall leaf piles, winter snow angels, and spring puddling jumping, right where you can see them every day. I’ve welcomed these memories into my home, and you can too. Here’s how I display candid, joyful moments all over my house!
The Framed Gallery Wall
Above the couch in our main living room, I have twelve 8x10s of my favorite images from the past year framed and matted. I switch them out only once per year, so it’s really hard to choose!
In Lightroom, I make a collection and fill it with some of my favorite images from the year. Then I narrow down the moments so that they span the seasons, show a mix of my kids alone and together, and look good as a set. I find that, for above a couch, 8x10s are still a little small, so I tend to choose clean images with contrasting colors and uncluttered compositions for this collection.
The Bulletin Board
While I love my gallery wall, I shoot a lot. I wanted a way that I could enjoy more of our favorite moments on the wall – something with lots of space that would enable me to frequently change out the photos. The bulletin board is the answer!
The board holds seventy-seven 4×4 square prints. It’s in our kitchen, right above the table, so it often serves as the centerpiece of our dinner conversation. One child will pick out a photo that had previously gone unnoticed and say, “Remember when….”, and we’re off. It’s a lovely backdrop for a place we gather daily.
I change the bulletin board more often – either 3 or 4 times per year, so that it stays fresh and relevant. I used to order new pictures after each season of shooting and display them in the following season. But that proved to be too much work in culling, ordering, and changing the display. Now I order all my photos for the whole year in the summer (the twelve 8x10s for the Gallery Wall and more than three hundred 4×4 square prints for the bulletin board).
When I get the piles of square prints from our daily life, I just rubber band them together according to the four seasons. This way, I display last autumn as we experience this autumn, and I have last year’s winter all separated and ready to display when I start to wish for snow and hot chocolate! The entire family enjoys looking back at last year’s memories. It reminds us of things we want to be sure to do again and shows the kids how much they’ve grown since last year. We are in a constant state of looking back and moving forward. After all, what are photo stories for if not to remind us of our shared history?
And finally, in a spot tucked high up in our attic library are some of my favorite prints for me as an artist. They are 5×5 textured matte prints from Artifact Uprising. These thick, gorgeous prints are a pleasure to hold and a treat when they arrive in my mailbox! I used four Ikea 40 inch photo ledges to display them.
When I build a set of images I would like printed this way, I am always inspired to choose my favorite work. Of course, most of my favorite work still includes my kids, but it also includes sunrises, spider webs, and the light on the wall. The attic library is my special place, and these prints simply make me happy. What also makes me happy is the ability the ledges give me to rearrange, switch out, order varied sizes, or give a print as a gift whenever I want.
I can’t begin to express the feelings of happiness and gratitude these moment-based prints bring to my family and I every day. It’s a physical reminder that even when we are knee-deep in the hard parts, there is still so much beauty and so much for which to be thankful. I encourage you to go out and curate your own walls of memories!