Building Custom Photo Frames for a Gallery Show

Having a gallery show is a dream for most artists and photographers, and for my husband, David, and me, that dream finally became a reality. We had to figure out how to build professional looking custom frames for the show!

The aspiration to have a gallery show had been a long-held dream for both David and me. Making art is one thing, but showing your art in a gallery is another thing entirely. We were both excited and anxious when the opportunity finally presented itself.

In March 2023, we received the news that six of our pieces would be displayed at Snap Gallery in Orlando, Florida at the end of May. This unexpected opportunity meant we had only a few weeks to print our artwork, construct custom frames, and transport everything to Orlando. If that wasn’t a big enough challenge on its own, we had more good luck hit us. We ended up getting two more of our photos into two separate galleries in Los Angeles, with both shows opening in the same week as the Florida show. That meant we had a total of eight frames to build in a very short period of time.

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

David builds elaborate photo sets for all of our shoots, so we are used to building things quickly. We’d built frames a handful of times in the past, but those had been for personal use and didn't meet the exacting standards required for a gallery show. We’d never built frames with the intense level of perfection we were seeking for these gallery shows, and we had such a short amount of time to do it in. 

David designed frames that perfectly matched the feel and aesthetic of our photographs. Then, the construction phase began. There were days of building, sanding, wood filling, priming, and painting. Each phase took longer than anticipated because of the level of perfection each frame required. 

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

We color-matched the paint so that the frames matched each of our photographs perfectly, which proved to be a challenge in itself. We even had to go back and repaint one of our finished frames because the color did not match as well as we initially thought.

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

Building your own frames is truly a labor of love, but it allowed us to create frames that matched our artwork perfectly. It’s one thing to see your photos on the computer screen, but the impact is entirely different when you see them printed large, framed beautifully, and hung in a gallery. This experience redefined our connection to our art. It is an undertaking I definitely think every photographer can benefit from. 

Check out the video above to see the full frame building process. Watch until the end to see the opening of our gallery show in Orlando and how everything looked when it was finished and hung! 

Jada Parrish's picture

Jada is a photographer and director specializing in conceptual portraits. Her work is known for its bold, colorful, and surreal style. Her creative style of portraiture lends itself nicely to work in both fashion and the music industry. She is one half of the creative duo Jada + David.

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