Creative photo galleries are all the rage for wall art displays this year. Pinterest, Shutterfly and other Internet resources are providing hundreds of ideas for decorative photo displays. They range from massive black-and-white photo collages to framed prints interspersed with decorative mirrors, block letters and old country artifacts.
Moreover, home-decorating websites offer tips on how to arrange stunning wall displays with cherished family photos. It’s the perfect opportunity for the photo business community to embrace a popular decorating trend and use it to promote and sell its services.
A Photographer’s Approach to Wall Art
Amanda Rose Day, a professional photographer based in Ocala, Florida, is old enough to have photographed her first client on film, but just barely. Driven by a passion for people and imaging, Day learned the business 17 years ago, working part-time for a wedding and sports photographer while in high school.
She opened her own business, Rose Day Photography, 10 years ago. Day’s early years in film give her the experience necessary to promote and sell wall prints to her customers. “More and more people are realizing they’re losing generations of pictures because they only have them on their hard drives,” says Day. “They don’t have anything to hold or share with their children.
“People are beginning to realize that when they have their images handed to them on a USB drive, they end up not printing them. And if they do print them, it is three to five years later. My customers appreciate that I offer professional print services.”
She is careful to relate the differences between ordering color-calibrated professional prints and those ordered from a consumer lab. “My prints are guaranteed by my lab,” she explains.
“Clients don’t have to worry about oversaturated colors or muddy blacks. They know they’ll get beautiful prints to hang on their walls. More of them are now ordering their wall prints through me and using the USB drive to make gift prints for the grandparents.”
Metallic Prints, Collages & More
Day offers metallic prints, canvas wraps and gallery block wall portraits. Gallery blocks, printed on metallic photo paper and wrapped around a wood frame, create a simple, but dramatic, photographic display.
“They look more like a regular photo print than textured canvas wraps,” she says. “They’re one of my most popular products right now.” Day sells the prints as package deals, which encourages her customers to create wall clusters of complementary prints.
“I see more people creating wall clusters than I have in the past,” she adds. “Photo wall displays were popular three to five years ago, and now they’re becoming more popular again, going full circle. For a long time, people were hanging clusters of framed prints, mixing frames of different colors and textures. However, as more clients became aware of wrapped gallery blocks, they started showing an interest in displaying clusters of different size blocks.”
Another display option Day offers is the printed photo collage. “They’ve been growing in popularity again also,” she says. “Parents want to see a little bit of everything from their children’s photo sessions, without taking up too much wall space. The best way to do that is to compromise and combine the prints.”
She creates photo collages for clients of all ages, celebrating all types of events—from family portrait sessions to high school seniors and couple’s engagements. She also offers “Precious Parts” collages, which combine baby portraits with close-up pictures of fingers, toes and other cute baby parts. Her collage prints are typically printed on gallery blocks and range in size from 14×14 to 16×16 inches. You can see samples of her photography and promotional ideas on her Facebook page: m.facebook.com/rosedayphoto.
Promoting Photo Lab Art
Moreover, professional photo labs are taking advantage of the photo gallery trend by offering a variety of printing and display options. Black River Imaging, headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, offers a variety of wall art products. Their offerings include everything from giclée fine art prints to personalized composite collage prints.
Among Black River’s newest display products is their double float metal print. It uses a hidden Gatorfoam mount to float the front metal print a half-inch off of the surface of a larger back print, creating a three-dimensional effect. The background print acts as a 1- or 2-inch frame, depending on the size of the top print, which ranges in size from 4×6 to 24×36 inches.
Black River’s lightweight standout mounts are similar to gallery blocks. They also offer a simple, elegant mounting that doesn’t require a frame. Photographic and metal prints are mounted to either foam board, metal or bamboo bases, in ¾- or 1½-inch depths. The prints are not wrapped, so the mounts come with faux edging in five colors.
The lab also offers its own collection of composite collage prints, They display multiple prints in one image or a single print with text. The collages come in six designs and can be used for small prints, DIY album pages or large-size custom wall art as large as 24×36 inches.
Miller’s Professional Imaging, a professional photo lab with facilities in Pittsburgh, Kansas and Columbia, Missouri, offers a complete photo collage design and layout kit. Professional photographers use the kit to help clients design their photo gallery.
The Collagewall® Display service is available through Miller’s ROES ordering software. It includes digital design tools to create the collage, finished mounted prints and hanging pegs. Moreover, it provides a paper template and an installation guide. By hanging the template and following the supplied grid, you and your customers can create a professional-looking wall display.
The Collagewall service offers 30+ possible print arrangements. They range in size from 2 to 30 square feet and incorporate prints from 5×5 to 11×17 inches. Options include straight-edge rectangular layouts and staggered arrangements. Pro photographers and/or retailers can help clients choose one that fits their wall size and room décor, then order it through the ROES software.
Prints are available on three substrates: luster paper on hardboard, vivid metals and matte metals. Each Collagewall ships with installation instructions and a full-size paper grid. The grid indicates print placement and the location for placing pushpin pegs to provide precise spacing.
Miller’s also offers Collagewall displays through its consumer ordering website, Mpix, as well as MpixPro. The latter is a digital imaging resource and business partnership that provides printing and marketing resources for professional
For a distinct, modern wall display, Miller’s also offers segmented fine art murals printed on brushed aluminum tiles. The image is split into 11.7×11.7-inch squares, each printed on a brushed aluminum tile coated with a white ink base. The tiles are connected using silver snap rings and mounted with a wall bracket—all provided with the order. Finished murals range in size from 24×24 to 36×48 inches.
Wall Art Resources
Whether you’re working from behind the camera, sales counter or printer, the best way to come up with wall display ideas for your customers is to research the possibilities on the Internet.
You can start with Shutterfly’s 85 Creative Gallery Wall Ideas & Photos at shutterfly.com/ideas/gallery-wall or How to Display Framed Photographs on a Wall, by Lily Rose at dengarden.com/interior-design/wall-decor-photo-display. Be sure to display wall art you’ve created and share your ideas with customers to sell more wall prints.