#WeDo Photography : From Camera to Walls

Camera & Photos on chevron

Welcome to my installment of #WeDo: Photography

in collaboration with Amy from The Charming and Annie from The Ranting Latina

Tips on printing and hanging those photos you love!

If you’re anything like me, you absolutely ADORE photographs. I mean, who doesn’t love a good flashback to freshman year of high school and that atrocious blue eye shadow no one ever told you looked hideous? nobutseriously. If you’re anything like me, though, you’re also TERRIBLE at remembering to ever do anything with those memories. Editing your photographs, sending them off to be printed, finding a frame, and hanging them up on a wall. Why do those four steps sound so darn hard? Obviously just forcing yourself to do it is the first step, but here are a few tips to make the process easier!

  • Editing  This doesn’t have to get complicated. Do yourself a huuuuge favor, though, and at least get rid of those flashing red, you-look-like-a-devil eyes. Even the simplest editing program that comes free on  your desktop has this tool. Click on it, form a box around the offending pupil, and bam! Red eye should be gone and photo immediately jumps about 110% in quality.
  • Printing  I know there are about a million and one printing labs out there and this can get confusing fast. As a shout-out to my own profession, there really IS a difference between the quality coming from professional and consumer labs. While you might not have access to the professional labs, there also is a huge difference in quality between certain consumer labs. Don’t worry – you don’t have to do any homework. Thankfully, multiple photographers have gone the extra mile drawing up lists of their favorite (and least favorite!) consumer labs. {If you enjoy reading about this process, check out Corey Ann‘s comparisons, Beryl Ayn Young’s top five “best of” printing places, or my personal favorite, a post by Rebecca Danzenbaker comparing consumer and pro photo labs with hilarious results!} Regardless, across the board, everyone seems to agree (and my own experience definitely supports) the opinion that Shutterfly, Snapfish, Walgreens, and CVS produce the lowest quality prints. Kodak and Walmart got slighter higher ratings, with MPix and AdoramaPix winning the polls.

*** BONUS TIP: you’ll find when ordering prints, multiple types of paper are available. While the specialty paper can be fun (example: metallic), I always recommend a plain matte or lustre print. These will look more timeless and elegant than a trendy specialty paper and don’t have as much shine (or tendency to pick up finger print smudges!) as glossy paper does.

  • Location, location, location!  Now the fun part begins: where are you planning on hanging your photographs? The second my husband and I moved into our new apartment, I began plotting where to hang a massive collage of my favorite prints. You’ll want to choose a wall that isn’t directly in the sunlight (bright sunlight = photographs fading fast). Try to avoid very dark, narrow hallways as well, as ain’t nobody gonna be able to admire your photos there. And really now, isn’t that the point?? I chose a wall in my living room, right above our couch.
  • Choosing frames  I really love collages made up of a variety of different types, sizes, and colors of frames (like my sister’s collage pictured below), but for my wall I decided to go all black frames. If you’re at a loss with how to start planning what type of frames to buy for yourself, go to Pinterest and type “wall collage” into the search engine. BAM, welcome to framing awesomeness. If you’re not feeling inclined to sort through Pinterest’s endless photographs, here’s a link to my own Pinterest board of inspirations for Framing & Hanging.

My sisters photo collage

  • Frame it Michaels is a great option for frame purchasing. If you sign up for their emails (IknowIknow..yuck, spam. But isn’t that what a promotions folder in your inbox is for?), you can receive fairly decent coupons. Hold out for the forty or fifty percent ones! You can also keep an eye out on their sales – they’ll often have massive across-the-store frame sales. Another good option is to stalk your local Goodwill stores. I’ve found in-perfect-condition frames there countless times for a couple of bucks or only-slightly-dinged up frames for even cheaper that look better than ever with a quick touch-up of paint. Cheapest option is to just scrounge around in your parents basement. Each time my parents move or simplify their house, countless frames get booted to the storage room. The plus side to shopping at Michaels, though, is that you can go into the store and put the frames on the floor to see how’d they’d look next to each other on the wall. Yes, I am that crazy person who plays with products in the middle of the aisle. Things to keep in mind when purchasing a frame: having a white matte in the frame WILL make the photo look more professional and beautiful, as will having a piece of glass rather than plexiglass, covering the photo.
  • Hang it all FINALLY, your print has arrived in the mail and your frames are purchased and ready to be hung. Go ahead and do what you did (or didn’t do) at the store and lay all your frames out on the floor exactly how you want to hang them on the wall. You can even go ahead and put the photos on top of the frames to see how the combination looks. You want to make any changes now, before you have half a dozen holes in the wall. A lesson I’ve learned the hard way. Once you’re sure, hang away! Or in my case, pretty-please your husband into doing it for you, because he’s way more careful about hanging things straight, using a level to double check how straight is straight, and measuring properly. Plus I’m just lazy. Don’t forget to use a soft pencil to mark where you want to put the nail, thus avoiding the whole juggling frame + hammer + nail + finger on the wall situation. Another good idea is to avoid snapping photos of your husband doing the work for you, because you know that is just the ticket for an annoyed glare to be sent your way. I would share this photo, but unfortunately it got deleted. Completely accidentally, of course.

AND YOU’RE DONE! Now doesn’t that feel good?

Photo Collage

My lovely living room collage!

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