I read recently that there are just 190 one-hour photo stores left in the entire US. That’s one for every 1.7 million people. And you can bet that this time next year there will be less than 190. That’s just where photography is going—hardly anybody is printing their photos anymore.
I’ve written a number of times in the past here on the Plug-In Blog about the importance of printing your images. It’s a great way to archive them, instead of just leaving them on a hard drive which will eventually fail. And it’s also the only way to fully enjoy your images. I truly believe that the power of photography is only realised when an image is printed. So today I’m going to talk about how to make printed photographs a key ingredient in the decor of your home.
I’m a people photographer, so when I think about printing photographs for my walls, I think about portraits of my family. I think it’s really important that we continue the tradition of hanging family photos on our walls because it lets our kids know how important family is to us; it reinforces the family bonds. And it’s never been easier to get our images printed. There are loads of options online, and there are also some awesome and affordable inkjet printers that let you do the job yourself. The advantage of printing your own images is that you get to choose the paper type, and there are some really gorgeous fine art papers out there.
Trends Become Dated
Personally I’m not a fan of the quirky family portraits that you sometimes see online nowadays. For me a lot of them represent trends that will look completely out-of-date in a few years. One example (and you see this a lot at wedding photo booths) is the empty picture frame that subjects hold in front of them. If that is your cup of tea however, make sure to hold the frame close to you so that it doesn’t cast a shadow over your face.
Keep It Natural
I prefer photos that are more natural, more genuine, because I believe that these are the photos that will stand the test of time. So how do you create portraits that look natural? One of the things you need to do is keep the camera to your eye longer. People generally get a little bit self-conscious when you point a camera at them, but I find that that feeling actually passes pretty quickly if you just show a little patience. Another good tip is to give people something to do. If you photograph someone in the midst of doing something fun or something they particularly enjoy, they’ll quickly forget that there’s a camera around. I think that’s the most important thing; you have to distract your subjects from the photographic process, so try and talk a little bit while you’re shooting, and also; don’t get stuck on one pose or set up because people get bored quickly. Move around and keep things interesting for your subject.
Choosing Photos For Your Walls
One strategy you might like to employ when choosing images for your walls is to pick a certain type of image for each room. For example, you might put a couple of nice big family portraits in your living room. It’s likely that people will spend longer periods in one spot in your living room, like on the couch or in an armchair, so they’ll be able to appreciate a really well composed family portrait. If you get it printed in a decent size, like 16”x20” or larger, then you can choose an image which shows lots of background, like a photo taken at the beach or at a park. And it is entirely possible to take a nice family portrait yourself nowadays. Not only do you have the good old self-timer, but with a camera like the Canon T6i you have the ability to shoot remotely using your smart device, so no more “press and dash!”
In the kitchen, you might like to hang a bunch of playful portraits. You can make these really close up if you like, and in fact one of the tips I gave in a recent article about shooting portraits (How To Take The Best Photos Of Your Kids And Pets) was “get closer.” Spend an afternoon as a family, just goofing around and trying to make the silliest photos you can. Shoot in continuous mode because there’s often those in-between moments where you’ll catch that huge and genuine smile. Buy some frames and you can make a feature wall with a cluster of your favourites.
The Golden Hour
For the bedrooms, I think it’s nice if you can hang some moodier photos. I wrote an article recently about shooting at the Golden Hour (Dusk and Dawn; Tips To Get The Best Pictures During The ‘Golden Hour’), and the light at this time of day really lends itself to making images which are a bit more intimate and moody. Unfortunately, as the days have gotten longer this spring the Golden Hour now coincides with the Witching Hour in my house, when my kids start to get a little less manageable, to put it politely.
If you use an editing program like Adobe Lightroom, you can play around with the white balance and the colours to further enhance the mood in your images. I like to bump up the white balance in my images to create a warm, kind of nostalgic feeling, and I often desaturate the colors so they’re less eye catching. You can also go all out and try to recreate some of your favourite Instagram filters too. In order to give yourself the most options for post-processing, it’s important that you shoot in RAW mode, so that you get the biggest file possible from your camera with the most amount of information. This will also allow you to make bigger prints from your files.
Here are some other articles you may be interested in:
How to create a great portrait gift
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