You can use the best gear in the world, take the best photos in your market and have a solid sales process in place but, if you’re not creating products your clients will love, then you’ll have a difficult time keeping your photography business afloat.
At Swift Galleries (affiliate) we use wall art as a sales tool. This post will teach you how to choose the right space, photos layouts plus inspiration for galleries for every room in the home.
Choose a room for wall displays
Here are considerations to help let the room set the tone for a wall display showing.
What is the mood of the space?
Does your client have a formal living room with big, ornate leather furniture, muted wall and accessory colors and many leather- bound books? You’ll probably want to go with images where everyone is looking at the camera and layouts that are symmetrical.
Funky colors and playful accessories throughout the room? Spontaneous, candid photos and asymmetric gallery layouts will be right at home in this space!
How will their canvases interact with existing furniture or artwork?
Be sure to consider how your client’s new canvases will work alongside the furniture they already have in their space. Balance the size and design of the galleries to complement the furniture or any architectural features in the space. As a rule of thumb, always try to hang artwork at, or as close to, eye-level as possible.
How will their artwork interact with the existing colors in their room?
Try contrasting bold wall colors with muted or black and white photos to make them stand out. Muted wall colors in a playful room just beg for bold splashes of color, images with interesting compositions and layouts that show off different subject sizes. Don’t be afraid to “break the grid” and work with asymmetric and funky layouts!
Ideal room size for wall displays
How much wall space does your client have?
Don’t try to sell the biggest piece for your client’s space, sell the right piece for their space. Sometimes this will mean filling a space from side to side, and top to bottom. Sometimes a collection of smaller images is perfect. If they’ve got a large, white, blank, boring wall to fill, go nuts and fill it with a mix of large and small images. Symmetrical layouts that fill a space are an easy way to make a bold statement on an otherwise boring wall. If you’ve got only a small amount of space to work with, or other busy elements nearby, something smaller and understated will be the way to go.
How far away will your clients be when looking at their artwork?
If your clients have a large room and you’re trying to fill a space on the far wall, large pieces will work well there. In a smaller room, say a bathroom or hallway, where you’ll be much closer to the piece when viewing it, you’ll want to go with much smaller images. Think of it as sitting too close to the IMAX screen in the theater, you don’t want to have to physically move your head in order to see the entire image.
Don’t sell the biggest piece for the space, sell the right piece for the space.
What photos to choose for wall displays
Pay Attention to Resolution
When choosing photos to be printed large on canvas, you’ll want to be sure to use the largest files possible. Most modern DSLR should be able to create an image that will print well on larger canvases. Thankfully, you can get away with a few more imperfections on canvas, since the viewing distance is greater for a large image, and you won’t be right on top of it when looking at it.
Mix it Up
When creating a canvas gallery of family photos, choose a full-family photo, as well as combinations of groups and individuals. So you might do a large full family image, surrounded by a photo of just the kids, each parent with the kids and each kid individually.
Mixing Color and Black and White Photos
Mixing color and black and white photos in the same wall gallery can be an easy way to create a dynamic, eclectic canvas collection,
so don’t be afraid to give it a shot. We’ll talk a bit more about how to pull this off when we discuss choosing layouts in the next section.
Be Careful When Cropping
Before you crop your photo, be sure it’s exactly what you want, since you’ll degrade the quality of the final print (because the resolution will be lower than a full-size image). Also, if you plan to print your photos on gallery wrapped canvases, where the photo wraps around the edges of your canvas, you’ll want to leave a little space to be sure nothing important is going to wrap to the side.
This photo would make a fantastic wall image, but that adorable family might wrap around the bottom edge if printed on a gallery wrapped canvas.
Kate Whitmore Photography
Tell a Story
Think of your canvas galleries as pages in a photo album. Try to tell the story of that day, moment or event through the images you choose for your galleries. If it’s a wedding, include portraits of the bride and groom as well as photos of the little details that made that day so special. If it’s a gallery of a client’s kid’s first day of school, tell the story by including photos of his clothes laid out before he woke up, him brushing his teeth and pouring his milk before jumping on the school bus for the first time.
Choose a Consistent Mood
Try to keep the mood of the photos consistent within your canvas galleries. If the main image your client loves is playful and candid, stick with playful, candid photos for the entire collection of canvases instead of mixing in more formal photos as well.
Try to tell the story of that day, moment or event through the gallery images you choose.
Chris and Adrienne Scott
Set the Scene
Don’t be afraid of negative space in your canvas galleries. By using a lot of negative space, you’re helping to tell the story of the moment because you end up showing so much of the surroundings. Since canvas photos are typically printed large, fun compositions with a lot of negative space tend to work really well!
The Same Rules Apply
You know all those rules you try to follow when creating your images? Things like the rule of thirds, leading lines and such? Yep, those all apply here. Yes, sometimes these rules are made to be broken, but for the most part following good photography compositional rules will make for a much more interesting and aesthetically pleasing canvas gallery.
Choosing your gallery layout
Featured and Supporting Images
Now that you’ve selected a space and images for your client’s new canvas gallery, choosing a layout is simple! The first thing to consider is whether or not there is one image that you’d like to feature among the rest. If your clients do have a favorite photo out of the bunch, make that your largest piece and place it at eye-level. Build the rest of the gallery around this featured image, with smaller supporting canvases.
Balancing Canvas Sizes
While it’s totally fine to create asymmetrical gallery layouts, it’s still important to keep a balance in your designs. Consider your featured image to be the center of the see-saw of your gallery, keeping as much “weight” on one side as the other. Did you add two small canvases to the left side? Great, add one large canvas to the right, and you’ll be good to go.
As you start adding photos to your layout, be careful to keep similar colors separate from each other. If mixing black and white with color images, try to alternate them throughout your gallery so you don’t end up with one side more heavy with black and white or color than the other.
We maintained balance in this gallery by separating similar poses, locations, groupings of people and similar colors across the entire layout.
La Dolce Vita Photography
Balancing Content and Composition
Along the same lines as the previous two points, try to maintain balance in the compositional style and content of the photos in your gallery. If you have a few images with a lot of negative space, spread those out across the gallery instead of placing them near each other. If your chosen photos have multiple locations or similar poses, spread those across the gallery as well.
When in Doubt, Triptych or Grid
If you’re just looking to create a balanced, clean gallery layout, you can never go wrong with a triptych, which is just a fancy term for “group of three photos”. Triptychs are tried and true and they’re about as visually appealing as any layout can get. Not feeling a triptych? Try a grid, instead. Both layouts epitomize balance and can be easy to fit into just about any space.
If you’re just looking to create a balanced, clean gallery layout, you can never go wrong with a triptych.
Chris and Adrienne Scott
Gallery ideas for every room
Steal these ideas outright, or use them as a jumping off point for creating a beautiful, one-of-a-kind canvas collection for your clients’ homes.
Living rooms, sitting rooms, family rooms, dens, etc.
The Tried and True
Formal living room with a traditional feel? You can’t go wrong with one large family portrait over the couch or fireplace. If one canvas doesn’t quite fit the bill, try a large family portrait flanked by a portrait of mom and dad on one side and a photo of the kids on the other. We’ll talk about this a bit more when discussing choosing images and layouts, but collections that show off different groups of family members can be a fun way to feature all of the unique personalities in your client’s family!
Tell Your Family’s Story
Don’t worry about filling a space all at once, instead add a new piece to an ever-growing, always-evolving gallery as your clients’ family reaches new milestones. This is a great way to bring their life into their home and to create something that will be handed down and cherished for generations.
And Now for Something Completely Different
Feeling bold and want to try something new? Build a gallery that turns a corner in a room and invites viewers further into the home as they experience your one-of-a-kind gallery!
The Long and Short of It
Hallways are a great place to create a long gallery of smaller images. You can tell a story with these types of galleries, by starting at one point in time and moving chronologically down the hallway. Or mix it up and just give them a fun collection of images to enjoy as they walk from room to room. The important thing to remember here is to keep these images smaller, so that they can enjoy them from the up close and personal hallway.
Forego the long line of canvases and opt instead for multiple small clusters of canvases throughout a hallway. These work well if you give each kid or family member their own canvas cluster, like their own little star on their home’s very own Walk of Fame.
Give each kid or family member their own canvas cluster, like their own little star on their home’s very own walk of fame.
Kitchens and dining rooms
The Art of Cooking
Kitchens are a fun place to mix things up with other types of images. Create small groupings of canvases featuring up-close black and white photos of various kitchen utensils or colorful fruits and vegetables.
The Family that Plays Together
Kitchens and Dining Rooms are also a great place to show off candid, fun photos of each family member. Shoot a series of close- up goofy photos of each member of the family and display them proudly above the dining room table. Pair this with some word art or fun quotes about family and you’ve created a space worthy of gathering around and talking about the day!
Kitchens and dining rooms are a great place to show off candid, fun photos of each family member.
Fill the space above a headboard with a gallery of family photos. Don’t be afraid to go big here, as there is typically plenty of wall space over a queen or king size bed.
Tell the story of your client’s big day in a simple 3-image collection of the first look, first kiss and first dance.
Film Strip Fun
Create a fun film-strip across multiple canvases of your client’s kid playing with blocks that spell out their name.
Ten Little Monkeys
Embrace your inner child with a cluster of photos of the kids (or the entire family) jumping on the bed, displayed over a kids bed or in the master bedroom!
My Family and Me
Create a two-image canvas gallery that includes a family portrait and a portrait of your client’s kid to go over their bed.
Want to learn more? Grab our free Wall Art Sales Blueprint (affiliate), a 40+ page guide to designing and selling your work as wall art.