Amy Ro Photography » Photography blogsite featuring the maternity, newborn and family work of natural light photographer Amy Ro

Bigger Really IS Better – Version 2.0 | Rhode Island Photography

First let me say, please feel free to share this post. And trust me, read what I’ve written to go along with it – it will make much more sense. And be more fun(ny).

**This post does assume you have wall space to put photos on.  If you are limited in space you are limited!  Nothing wrong with that.  But don’t put one photo up – do a collage of a bunch of photos and frame them up – really make that visual impact even if it’s in a small space!!**

In December 2009 I sat down late at night to write out a post. It started out with me wanting to talk to clients about how to go bigger when they were ordering prints for their home. Then I got all sorts of ambitious and created an entire gallery of images displaying different wall sizes. But the point remained the same:

Get clients to understand that BIGGER IS BETTER when they are printing for their walls

But even now, fourteen months later, it’s still not really happening. But the reason why was hammered home for me when I did my first in-person ordering session with a client. She had no idea how big and small prints were in real life. You hear one size and the picture in your mind is sooooo different from reality. I had brought along a 5×7, 8×10, 11×14 and 16×20 to her ordering session. She couldn’t believe the 8×10 was so small – she was sure that was a 5×7 size. (By the way once she was showed the sizes she ended up with a 16×20 canvas and has already mentioned she will probably wish she had gone bigger!) It really just sank in for me – unless you handle big prints all day long and see them a lot, you’re not really going to know what is what and how big things *really* are. So I am back this fourteen months later with a new version of the post using a traditional print-hanging scenario. You can check out the old one by clicking HERE

You have a family photo session. You spend hours shopping for and debating over what outfits to put everyone in. You email your photographer to get his/her opinion on clothes. You stress over whether it is worth the meltdown to make your daughter wear her pretty shoes instead of her converse. You email your photographer and worry about where to have the session and about the time of the session and whether or not the kids will give themselves a black eye the week before. You convince your husband to actually appear in the photos with you guys. You do SO much to prepare. So where is the thinking about what comes AFTER the session? You know – the ordering part. If you are going to spend all of the time and money preparing and then hundreds, if not thousands of dollars afterward, don’t you want something that makes you *happy* when you look up at the wall? Don’t you want gorgeous awesome big reminders of that session you sweated over?

There are two versions of prints when you order or when you print for yourselves if you buy digital files: desk prints and wall prints. Those are what they mean – prints that are sized to go on desks, and prints that are sized to go on walls. Nothing smaller than an 11×14 should ever go on your wall. EVER. Sorry, it’s a truth you might not want to hear but it’s really for the best. Unless you’re doing an arrangements of a few 8x10s together, set the hammer and nails down and walk away! Trust me, you will be so, so happy you did. Plus, remember all of those horrid awesome posters we all decorated our college dorm rooms with? Those were all 24×36 and we never hesitated to put those up!! (Okay, *I* didn’t…)

Here is a nice layout of prints I put together for you over my stunning cream and striped couch that came with the house (don’t be jealous! Oh and don’t envy my ability to hang things at a special crooked angle). For size reference, this is a regular full sized sofa, right around 84″ wide. All the same image (Ashley I really, clearly love your family 😉 ) and obviously all different sizes. Can you tell which is the 8×10?

Personal_0002 copy

SURPRISE!!! Not one single print up there is smaller than an 11×14. Really!!! Here is the same photo with the image sizes labeled for you:


Now that you’ve seen that – want to see what it looks like with the wimpy little 8×10 and 5×7?


And labeled just in case 😉


Now, this doesn’t have the exact same impact when they are all arranged in a group. So let’s take them one at a time. Imagine you have your session. You have a wall over your couch. Or in your dining room, or your bedroom, etc. You have regular 9 ft ceilings and something to hang the prints *over.* So you say to yourself – “Self, I want a BIG print to hang. I know, let’s do an 8×10!!” (By the way, I love Rhode Island, but seriously guys – the concept here that 8×10 is a “big print” just slays me.) Okay. Here is what that scenario looks like:


Considering all of that wall space and all of that furniture underneath there, the overall effect is kinda wimpy, huh?? Well guess what. I tricked ya again. I know, you really should expect it by now. 😉 This is an 11×14. Want to see what one measly little 8×10 really looks like? No fooling this time. This is what an 8×10 “big print” looks like on a regular wall over a regular couch:


Yeahhhh. Not so good. It is completely overwhelmed by the wall and the furniture and totally disappears. So let’s step that up. I have already shown you the 11×14. That is the *minimum* size that should go on your wall unless you are doing a whole grouping of images. So let’s go back to that conversation you were having with yourself. “Self, we want BIG. The 8×10 was teeny. The 11×14 wasn’t much better. Dare we try a 16×20?! NO, no, no! A 16×20 is huge!! We can’t put that on our wall!” Let’s see about that:


Again. Taken in context with the whole wall and the whole couch, it’s not really that much. It’s actually quite nice. But in the whole room, it’s still small. SO let’s be super bold and daring and try the ::gasp:: 20×24!!


Now THAT is a nice photo!! It fits well on the wall, it fits well with the scale of the furniture and the room. I’d be really happy if people got that size. Just for fun, though, let’s look at the 24×30. Slightly bigger, yes, but I have to say that this is the size I would go with!


For a slightly different visual where you can see how all of these line up comparatively, I stacked them all together at the same bottom left corner. And then I put them next to my 15″ laptop. This is a normal sized laptop that a majority of people out there have:


You can really see from the 5×7 to the 24×30, how they compare and how there is such a drastic difference. Left to right again – 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20, 20×24, 24×30

Now let’s pause here for a moment and be 100% honest. No matter what I write here, no matter how much I try and convince people, a majority will still be put off by the last two sizes. I have had a handful of clients go this big and it was awesome. But the rest, they stop at 16×20. (Though I have had several come back to say they wish they had gone bigger… I digress.) Most people will not go bigger than a 16×20. It scares them. So to those people who it scares (and why is that, again??) consider doing something different – one bigGER photo surrounded by smaller ones. Here are some of my family photos from last year, arranged over the couch for a different look. It still makes a visual impact, but because the biggest print is *only* an 18×24 and I have surrounded it by four 10×10 prints, it is less intimidating.


But come on, you know me, right?? (Okay, most of you – some of you are new to me I am sure so, welcome!) That display up there so would not be enough for me. I look at that arrangement and go, yeah, that’s nice. It’s pretty but it’s not enough WOW. I want that WOW factor in there when people walk into my house. And I love my family. I love my family pictures. They make me SO happy to see and I want them big. So this is what has replaced my old collage over the couch. One gorgeous 20×30 gallery wrapped canvas flanked by two 18x24s. (For those curious, the prints are mounted on white foamboard and I used strips of velcro tape to attach all of the prints including the canvas to the wall because it’s an outside / cinderblock wall.)


It doesn’t look that huge does it? Yet just hearing the sizes probably made you shudder a bit. Admit it! 😉 Now here is a little secret – I wanted to add the 10x10s onto the ends – two on each. But I thought my husband might faint. You see, he’s kind of like a lot of you. He likes the idea of big prints but when I got the boxes and unwrapped them I did notice a bit of blanching in his face. I tease. Kind of. When you unwrap an 18×24 or a 20×30 or even a 16×20, it is a scary thing.

But then you put it on the wall and all of a sudden, you realize hey, that lady was right! Bigger really IS better!!


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  • February 22, 2011 - 10:52 am

    Kerri Mathis - Bigger is Better v.2 is awesome!! Thanks Amy – I’ll be linking this on Facebook and my blog for clients to read.

  • February 22, 2011 - 10:54 am

    Sarah King - Great post (again!) I have a 20×30 canvas coming to me very soon and I CAN’T WAIT!!

  • February 22, 2011 - 10:59 am

    Erin - SO TRUE! I have a 24×36 canvas, and sometimes I look at that size and think, ‘Hmmm.. could be bigger!’ I think that your clients should get this when they book a session!! ..great post!

  • February 22, 2011 - 10:59 am

    Laceysmom - Once again…fabulous post! I’ve referred to you first *bigger is better* on several occasions 🙂 Thanks!

  • February 22, 2011 - 11:13 am

    Mandy - Fantastic visual aid! Very well explained and detailed. I hope you don’t mind if I Link your Blog on my blog and website.

    P.s (born and raised in RI but live south now. Stay safe and warm today)

  • February 22, 2011 - 11:24 am

    Chell - Love this. What a great way to show the difference in sizes. I wish everyone would have big prints of their family in their home.. I love seeign large prints of people’s families when I go into their homes.

  • February 22, 2011 - 11:29 am

    Tweets that mention Bigger Really IS Better – Version 2.0 | Rhode Island Photography » -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy Craft, Amy Rogalski. Amy Rogalski said: Yay! I finally finished it!! Bigger Really IS Better – Version 2.0 Enjoy and feel free to share. […]

  • February 22, 2011 - 11:46 am

    Holly - Another wonderful post!!! Thanks for allowing us to share once again 🙂

  • February 22, 2011 - 12:03 pm

    Donna B - Great post! I’m going to share this on my blog!

  • February 22, 2011 - 12:09 pm

    Stephanie - That’s a really great post, and I TOTALLY “get it” but just so you know, it is really a “taste” issue for some people. I LOVE the way collages & “sets” of pictures look on a wall & would NEVER consider putting a GIANT picture on a wall w/ just a few other accent pictures. My walls are covered in frames & prints…even a couple 3.5×5″ pictures of my son have made “the wall”. I know that probably sounds AWFUL to you, but in our tiny house, with limited wall space, this is what works for our family. So, while I understand your point, don’t be too upset if your clients just can’t or won’t order the big prints.

  • February 22, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    becky - fabulous post once again! off to share!

  • February 22, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    Julie Realejo - Wow, this puts things in perspective…only thing is that i am design-challenged, so I would never come up w/ the cool arrangements you picked. I guess next time, you’ll have to tell me what to do!

  • February 22, 2011 - 12:36 pm

    Crystal - Fantastic post!

  • February 22, 2011 - 12:49 pm

    amyro - Hi Stephanie! But see, what you are doing totally works! You have a wall covered in frames and that is awesome! 🙂 If you are going to go smaller than 8×10 then do them in groups – that is what I was trying to say in the one part.

  • February 22, 2011 - 6:58 pm

    Linda - LOVE it! Your family photos look fab! And I love BIG prints too! The impact is just so much more incredible when you walk into a room with large prints on the wall! Totally makes the space complete!

  • February 22, 2011 - 9:45 pm

    Jill Velicer - Great visuals and great explanation. I had to share it on FB!

  • February 23, 2011 - 12:22 am

    jenny - fantabulous post!!! thanks so much for the work you put into it! i’m totally sharing!

  • February 23, 2011 - 3:45 am

    Bigger Really IS Better « Kristi James Photography Blog - […] I came across this post about BIGGER IS BETTER on one of those blogs I stalk * Hi My Name is Kristi and I am a blogstalker* True Story! She gave permission to share… so share I will and I push the issue!!! Enjoy and THINK BIG! *I did not write this and these are not my photos! You can find the original post HERE […]

  • February 23, 2011 - 8:20 am

    Ro - love it! and your family gallery looks awesome!

  • February 23, 2011 - 10:13 am

    Keri Doolittle Photography - Love this, thanks for sharing. So nice to see the visuals!!

  • February 23, 2011 - 3:12 pm

    Celesa - What a great post! I would love to share this on my blog as well. How do I get the pictures and all on my post? Thank you again.

  • February 23, 2011 - 3:46 pm

    amyro - Hi Celesa! Please feel free to link to this post on your blog or facebook page. I get a little freaked out when I see my writing and pictures on someone else’s blog!! 😉

  • February 23, 2011 - 10:46 pm

    Lacey R - Great post! I’m sure it took quite a bit of your time to set up/photograph/upload/write and prepare!

  • February 23, 2011 - 11:18 pm

    Tracy Parron - Bigger is definitely better! I would love to have tons of big prints on my walls… my only problem is affording them!!! I agree… I think that my clients think that 8×10’s are big. It’s kind of crazy!!! Thanks for writing this…entertaining and encouraging! 🙂

  • February 24, 2011 - 5:04 pm

    kelly g - GREAT post, Amy!! Love this! I’m going to share it 🙂

  • February 26, 2011 - 3:58 pm

    Jake Easley - Thank you so much for these posts. I know they are time consuming. Which is why we are all piggy-backing your post 🙂 Educating our clients on size is a tough, tough task. But your posts really help get the point across.

    I shared the original, and I’m definitely going to share this one. And, more than once!

  • March 1, 2011 - 6:18 pm

    Bigger Really IS Better! | Austin Photographer | Moments From The Heart - […] thank you Amy! You can view her blog post HERE on why Bigger Really IS Better! And, might I mention, she is quite funny. Posted in Austin […]

  • March 1, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    sandy - thank you amy for allowing this to be shared! you have a link on my blog & i am hoping peeps will take a moment to read on. thanks again!

  • March 3, 2011 - 11:50 pm

    Salwa - I love this post as much as I love ice cream, which is to say, a lot. (If the ice cream is chocolate flavored with brownie bits, that is. But anyway.)

    I will have to share this on my business page. Beautifully designed depiction of the Bigger is Better concept!

  • March 9, 2011 - 5:11 pm

    Christina - Great post. I like the visuals and will definitely share – I just wrote something similar at the end of last year, but your perspective will be a great addition.

  • March 31, 2011 - 9:31 am

    Page Daniels - I was just wondering if these were canvas wrap or prints? I am assuming they are canvas wraps, but I wanted to make sure.

  • March 31, 2011 - 4:40 pm

    dalia - great post!!

  • April 4, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    amyro - Hi Page! For the example prints they are simply prints mounted on white foamboard. For my family prints, the middle is a gallery wrapped canvas and the two on the ends are foamboards.

  • June 3, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    Bigger Really IS Better | WHITECOURT FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER « Tanya Rae Photography – The Blog - […] Being in the photography industry, I obviously have a huge passion for pictures. I love when clients see an image of their child that they love so much that they would want to make it a piece of art in their home.  They are so excited about this picture and can’t wait to share it with their family and friends. Well, part of my job as your photographer is to help you purchase the right size for the space you wish to decorate with the images from  your session. It is also my job to help you decide on how you want to present those favorite images. So when you come into the studio to view your slideshow and place your order, I do not want you to feel worried about ordering the wrong size, or wrong image, or wrong product. I will help you come to that decision and it’s not nearly as painful as you think Believe me! So when deciding on the right size for a wall portrait, it’s important to know which wall or space you are decorating. I want to share a link to a photographer who posted an awesome blog entry about print sizes, and she has some great images to go along with it. Please, if you have ANY questions at all with regards to what size you should order, do not hesitate to discuss that with one of us, after all, that is what we are here for =) […]

  • July 24, 2011 - 9:47 am

    Print Big! {austin portrait photographer} » spots of sunlight - […] from one blog to another this morning led me here, to a blog post that does a wonderful job of justifying (even proving) that bigger is better when […]

  • October 26, 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Bigger Is Better! » Kelly Garvey Photography - […] Please check out my girl Amy Ro for more examples on why bigger is better here: Bigger Is Better […]

  • January 15, 2013 - 11:58 pm

    Kelly Garvey Photography | bigger IS better!. product post - […] I was inspired by a post I saw here: please check out Amy Ro for more examples on why bigger is better here: Bigger Is Better […]

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