Printing your photos is one of the best things any photographer can do for themselves. There are lots of reasons why you should be printing and it gets brought up here on Fstoppers all the time. In my opinion, one of the best reasons is because a decent sized physical print really brings your work to life and gives it a presence. We have become used to swiping through countless amazing images that just stopping and looking at a great print on the wall really has a different satisfying feeling to it.
There are also countless ways to print your images including tonnes of materials and products to print on. The quality of options available today is just incredible. One idea I have been playing with lately is wall displays that create a story from several images. This was inspired by some of my editorial work that uses a variety of images from establishing shots, portraits, and detail shots to explore deeper themes in my subjects. When I’m traveling on an assignment I often take advantage of some of the amazing places I have traveled and shoot a variety of content that is outside my typical work. This might be wildlife, travel, and more recently macro images of my ants. I’m always looking for new ways to benefit and use this work and recently I've been getting a lot of requests from family and friends for prints of these types of images. I’m sure almost all photographers get these requests and like me often give prints as presents during the holidays. The problems I run into usually are the costs and display mounting. I tend to print large as I feel this really shows off the value of our high megapixel cameras. People also always want a couple of images, not just one, so I started looking for an affordable ready to hang solution. I decided to go with CanvasDiscount.com, which has a large selection of options for canvas prints with your photos and even offers some pretty decent wall display bundles. These wall display options ranged in overall size from 20”x66” to 60’’x74’’ and more.
Now wall displays certainly are nothing new and portrait/wedding photographers have been making a living off of them for decades. However, there is something about both the process of designing a theme or story and the resulting look hanging on a wall that I really enjoy. I started looking into options for the above reasons but there are lots of great reasons to print wall displays. Maybe you just returned from a photo adventure or family trip. Perhaps you have a personal project you want to display in your office or studio. You have a set of images that individually are not useful but combined really capture a location.
I decided on stretched canvas prints so that each print would be ready to hang and be easy to arrange on a wall. This also took framing and mounting off the table which can get pricey. The main goal for me was to be able to create a large display ready to hang at an affordable price while being able to use multiple images.
Using CanvasDiscount.com’s built-in bundles and templates I was able to create several really cool stories from my images based on themes like; Wildlife, Atlanta Aquarium, etc.. In most of these designs, I used one of my more popular images but also was able to incorporate several images that up until now had just been sitting on my HDD to help fill out the story I wanted to tell.
Here Are Some Tips and Ideas to Help You Create Your Wall Displays
Do the Images Tell a Story, Describe an Event, or Location?
I like to think of my layouts as pages in a magazine spread. I approached each one the same way I would an assignment from an editor. Even if this is something you have never done before it's great practice for creating more compelling narratives in your work. You can even thumb through a few magazines for inspiration.
What Is the Mood of Your Theme or Story?
When I designed my wildlife layout I started with one or two images I knew I had to have. I then realized that some of my images are much more aggressive than others and when displayed together it completely changed the feeling I was going for. I decided to go softer and more cuddly but depending on what I was making the layout for I could have just as easily gone more fierce and wild.
How Will the Images and Colors Interact With Each Other?
Color can be a really fun way to display emotion and intent in your layouts. Maybe it moves from cold to warm from left to right. You can mix color with black and white images or use only black and white. The possibilities are endless. The entire story or theme you want to tell could be through the color of the images while the subjects have nothing in common. This has been a popular esthetic on Instagram feeds for a while and works just as well here.
Don't Be Afraid to Crop
Our cameras take very large and detailed images these days and can easily accommodate printing from some pretty extreme crops. Play with your layout designs by making unusual crops that work with other images in interesting ways. Think about detail shots or close up shot next to a wide shot of the same image.
Do You Have a Focal Point or a Direction You Want the Viewer to See?
Sometimes I start with one image and then branch out from there. Other times I have a beginning image and an ending image. There are lots of ways to help guide your viewer to experience the design the way you intend. Deciding on this, in the beginning, can really help narrow down the images you want to use.
Overall when designing your layout it's a good idea to start by following a lot of the same compositional rules we use in photography. Incorporate negative space, leading lines, don't be afraid to split an image into multiple prints. Use the original compositions your shot to help design the larger composition.
CanvasDiscount.com was kind enough to give Fstoppers readers a 15% additional discount off all already discounted canvas prints on their website. To get the discount just use the code FSTOPPERS during checkout.