December 30, 2009
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**Since a lot of photographers seem to be finding this, yes it is totally fine to link to it on FB or blogs, I don’t mind :) **

I was originally going to entitle this post “Go BIG or go home” but then realized that my friend Kristina had used that same title for a post earlier this year.  So instead, it’s Bigger Really IS Better.  Below you will see a photo of my lovely Christmas-decorated fireplace mantel.  Totally normal sized fireplace that you would find in any house.  What size do you think the photograph on the mantel is?  5×7?  8×10?

a

It’s actually an 11×14.

Seriously.  Surprised?  SO often people are hesitant to buy what they term “big photos” for their house.  And my question is, simply, WHY?!?!?!?!! A lot of people believe an 8×10 photo is “big.”  Here is what an 8×10 photo looks like on a normal sized mantel:

b

You’ll notice it’s pretty much dwarfed by the wall.  It completely disappears in the grand scheme of things.  8×10 for a wall just doesn’t do it.  In fact, an 8×10 is considered a desk portrait, not a wall one.  At the very *minimum* if you are going to even consider putting a photo on your wall, you should go for an 11×14.  And even then mat and frame it to a 16×20.  And then put more than one of them up there.  Below are three 11×14 photographs matted to 16×20 frames that I have hanging in my dining room (ignore the clutter, this was at the height of orders rolling in).  I honestly wish that I had gone bigger.  You’ll see that while the 16×20 size sounds big, on a big open wall, it still leaves a lot of space.  (There is another two feet of wall space below the chair rail.)  The only thing that helps to balance it a little which you can’t see is that I have three MORE of these hanging on the other walls.  But I still wish I had gone one step bigger.  The cluster of frames does help to absorb some space, however.

C

Here is a 16×20, equal to the framed prints above, back on the same mantel again by itself.  Sounds big when you talk about it, but as you can see, it’s not when put into normal display surroundings.

d

Back to the point.  When debating print sizes, if you are going to take the time and money to invest in a portrait session, why not have something truly wonderful to remember it by?  One of my recent newborn clients got two 20×24 canvases for her walls and I think I seriously had to wipe off the drool when I opened them up.  Sadly I did not take a photo of them, something I am still kicking myself for.  But they were absolutely AMAZING.  And I recently did a bigger display for the wall over my sofa.  I did two 18×24 prints, two 16×24 prints and two 16x20s.  Now you are probably saying those are HUMONGOUS!!   (Admit it you’re saying that.  I know you are!)   Here is what they looked like all put together (and yes, that is my little monkey hiding behind the table ;) oh and please ignore the couch, came with the house and we haven’t gotten around to replacing it) :

e

I seriously totally and completely love walking into my living room now.  I love seeing my kids up there big, it makes my heart smile.  This is my family.  The loves of my life.  I love seeing them up on my wall.  And notice that 16×20 (top left) which probably sounded big, how small it looks on a big wall over a full-sized couch.  This post would have been much more effective had I put the photos on the same wall I have my display on, however I had already put the others up.  To help imagine it, an 8×10 is less than 1/4 the size of the bottom center print.  So here is a quick and dirty photoshop job of what that same space would look like with one print.  On the left is an 11×14.  On the right is an 8×10.

ImagesCouch

Oh and in case you were wondering what one of those “huge” prints looks like by itself  (and, again, I know you were calling my prints huge, I just KNOW it :D ) this is the 16×24 over the mantel:

e

So hopefully as you can see, it’s okay to go big.  You don’t have to do a 20×24 (though I wish you would) but do consider at least one 16×20 from your session.  Or a 16×20 framed by two 11x14s.  If you absolutely insist on sticking with that 8×10 size, consider a grouping of six or eight of them together at least!  Or matting it to an 11×14 size.  If you want help and feel lost when considering wall displays for images from your session I am MORE than happy to draw up a wall display idea for you using your images.  In fact when you get your proofs, I will send you a link to the wall display ideas that I have. And if you’d like, I can make suggestions for what to do.  But the important part to get out of this is…

Bigger really IS better.