Q & A: Creating a Gallery Wall with Quality Photos

Your home is all about telling YOUR story throughout. The style of your front door, the placement of your furniture, the colors on your walls, the fabric draped on your windows, the photos and artwork displayed on your walls, the style of your lighting fixtures, and the flow from one room to another all make your home unique to you. 

When someone walks into your home the one thing that differentiates your home from anyone else's are your portraits and family photos. Photos make a home personal. A gallery wall allows you to easily display all the special images important to you like your family pictures, precious moments/trips, or beautiful portraits. This can be done with as little as 2-3 framed pictures to 15-20 images grouped together. The number of frames depends on your wall size and how many images you want to display. 

I took this opportunity to ask portrait photographer, Kirsten White of Kirsten White Photography to share her expertise of using quality portraits can tell YOUR story.  

Sabine: How long have you been a photographer?

 Kirsten White, Owner & Photographer of  Kirsten White Photography

Kirsten White, Owner & Photographer of Kirsten White Photography

Kirsten: I've been a professional photographer for 7 years. Prior to that, I always "played photographer" for my friends and family since around middle school. I studied any book I could find on cameras, light, and photography. I spent my free time replicating photos in fashion magazines. About 10 years ago, I had a short stint doing makeup as a side hustle and liked to promote my makeovers with before and after photos. Soon, women were calling me more for the photos than the makeup and I really loved doing the mini photo shoots. I started getting more and more elaborate with my "after" sessions with lights and wardrobe. Lol! That's when I decided to go focus on photography. 

Sabine: What type of photography do you specialize in?

Kirsten: I specialize in photographing women. I love helping women to celebrate their beauty and express themselves with portraits. There's a hashtag that I love to participate with - #ExistInPhotos. That movement is important because so many times women simply don't exist in family photos or on the walls at home because she's either taking the photos or she's hung up on some aspect of her appearance and fears she doesn't look good. I think we're all guilty of hiding from a bad hair day or wanting to avoid pictures until we lose a few pounds. Sometimes, however, this avoidance goes on for years! I like to have a meaningful consultation with my clients and find out where they are regarding self-image and draw out strengths and ideal experiences. With that information, I can design a dream photo shoot showcasing the woman looking and feeling her best! I also really enjoy doing headshots and branding images for women and their businesses. It's so important to have fantastic images to make a great online first impression! 

"A great portrait is timeless and captures the uniqueness and beauty of the moment." - Kirsten White

Sabine: Why are portraits so important?

Kirsten: Portraits are important because they last forever. One thing we can never replace is time. A great portrait is timeless and captures the uniqueness and beauty of the moment. As a mother, I absolutely cherish my photos of my children. They grow up so quickly and I love looking at each portrait and candid photo and reminiscing about them at the age in the image. As a daughter, whose mother is deceased, the photographs I have of and with my mother are easily my most precious possessions! Same with my grandmother. I'm so glad I insisted on doing a generational photo session with me, my daughter, my mom, and my grandmother several years ago. My grandmother passed away about a year later and I lost my mom 2 1/2 years ago. Every time I look at our portrait, I remember how much fun we had together that day!

Sabine: What's the key to quality photos?

Kirsten: The key to quality photos is to relax and enjoy the moment. It's all about the sparkle in the eyes. Whether you're smiling or not, a strong connection in the eyes can take a portrait from good to great!

Sabine: What's your advice to creating a story through a gallery wall?

Kirsten: The best thing about a gallery wall, to me, is the story being told through the pictures. When I photograph a client, I'm actually shooting with this in mind. I like to do flow posing where each pose seems to naturally flow into the next. In a gallery grouping, it almost looks like she's dancing or moving right in front of you. You can also make a great gallery wall with lifestyle portraits so when displayed in a chronological grouping, it tells the story of the day. 

 Gallery wall and Interior Design by Georgette Marise Interiors.

Gallery wall and Interior Design by Georgette Marise Interiors.

Sabine: Can someone combine portraits, family pictures and scenery photos all on one wall?

Kirsten: Yes! You can absolutely combine portraits, casual family pictures, and scenic photos on one wall. I like to see this especially in homes where each family member gets their own row. The rows are separated with a row of family pictures, and the wall is anchored with the scenic photos that provide cohesion by showing what they like to do together or where they like to visit/vacation as a family. 

Sabine: What's the key to selecting the right frame? Do you recommend a mat inside the frame?

Kirsten: Framing is very important to galleries and to portraits in general. To me, it's like the finishing touch that elevates the art. I always prefer mats inside frames. It just adds a beautiful high-end touch, in my opinion. With frames, I like them to be the same color and texture, even if they aren't all the same size or shape. My mother had a more eclectic approach and liked walls with different frame colors, shapes, sizes, and sometimes different materials. She looked for the frame that she felt best complimented the photograph. It's all about personal preference and what makes you happy. The big takeaway is to print your photos and do so through a professional lab (easily done through your photographer). All photo paper is not the same and while you may save a little money at the time, you don't want your precious photographs fading from the sunlight or over time. You also don't want to "just get the digitals" to save money because in most cases you'll never get around to having the photos printed. There are millions of photos trapped indefinitely on CDs or thumb drives! In my packages, I include the digital file for each portrait that's purchased. That way, I know my client is getting the best in both quality products and service. 

Want to schedule a photo shoot with Kirsten? Book online here or email Kirsten at kirsten@kirstenwhitephoto.com.  Comment below and share with us on Facebook your gallery walls! 

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