Gallery Walls

I think it’s safe to admit that I have a lot of photographs. I love printing our photographs and it’s something I always encourage friends, family and clients to do. There is something that gets lost when looking at an image on a screen instead of an actual print.

So what do I do with ours? My favorite way to display our favorite photographs is in frames on our gallery walls. I thought it would be fun to share my two main gallery walls and some tips to create your own!

Gallery photography wall

So many people tell me they want to do a gallery wall in their home, but most are just nervous to take the plunge. Go buy the frames and start working on them! It’s time consuming, but you will be SO happy when you have them up. Did you know having images of your children displayed in your home helps their self-confidence?

Gallery photography wallI do have a couple of disclaimers…

1. I didn’t think to take nice photographs while I was working on the walls with my camera. So, there are a couple grainy phone photos. The photographer side of me will silently cringe.

2. I may not do things totally by the book, but this worked worked for me! (I did the stair walls on my own, except for the top right frame because my arms weren’t long enough. So ladies, don’t be afraid to pull out the measuring tape, level and hammer some nails).

Let’s get started!

Expect that this will take time. It doesn’t all have to be done in one day.

1. Know your wall size. Make sure that you are using frames that will fill your wall space proportionally (using a few 4×6 frames will probably not do it). Mine are 11×14, 8×10, 5×7 and double 5×7 matted, so the frames are actually bigger. Using too few or tiny frames is one of the biggest mistakes I see on gallery walls. GO BIG.

Gallery photography wall


Gallery photography wallI bought most of my stair wall frames on Black Friday because Target had them 50% off. Fun fact, you can buy the same frame in another finish and exchange them when they are back in stock at Target (be sure to double check with an employee). I also buy frames when Target clearances a frame style out. See a pattern? Target is my go-to for wall frames. They are good quality for a good price.

I keep my frames the same, but I have seen some awesome galleries with mismatched frames.

2. Some frames come with handy paper templates (make your own if they don’t). These are amazingly helpful. I start laying them out roughly on the wall with blue painter’s tape. It’s easy to move them around until you find a layout you love. I’ll use a design program on my computer quickly try options if I’m feeling stuck.

Gallery photograph wall



I have a personal preference to keep my frames lined up on the outside edges and on the top if the wall is rectangular. This gives me a good starting point and the finished look that I prefer.



Gallery photography wall

3. Keep in mind how the spacing looks. You can’t have giant gaps between frames or it looks off. I leave the templates up once I think I have it figured out. I try it out for a few days and make any minor changes that I notice.

4. When your layout is set, it’s time for some math and measuring. I first figure out what the spacing will be between the actual frames. I keep each individual row equal spacing. Every row won’t be the exact same as other rows for certain layouts, but make sure they are comparable to each other. If they are not adjust your layout. Next, figure out the spacing horizontally. I keep horizontal spacing the same for all frames.

5. If you have the templates that came with the frame, they show where the nail holes are. I still like to write down what the spacing between each nail hole so I can double check before I start hammering. Using your level(s), hang the templates up exactly where the frames will hang (you don’t have to leave templates up and just measure and mark nail holes, but this kept my sanity for the stair wall).

6. You can finally start hammering and hanging! I keep the frames up as I start to hang so I can check and make sure everything is measuring correctly. I use my level to check the top row and the sides.

Gallery photograph wall

7. Step back. Make sure everything looks right. If you have the photos in the frames already, just use your level to level each frame and take small pieces of mounting putty and place under the bottom corners of each frame. This will save you from the headache of shifting frames.

Gallery photography wall

Other tips:
– Keep in mind that 57 inches from the floor is gallery height (your frame centered vertically over 57 inches).
– Prep your frames. I wash the glass before I put photos in them. You will be amazed at how dirty they actually are. Be sure to them dry thoroughly!
– Gallery walls with the same size frames are much easier to layout. Go this route if you want less of a layout headache.
– The actual photographs matter. I’m hoping to eventually have photos of relatives and some from our childhood, but for now they are filled with our family. I make sure that everyone is equally represented. Your kids will notice. Trust me.

-Blue painter’s tape
-Laser level, level w/ruler
-Measuring tape
-Hanging nails and hooks
-Pencil with eraser
-White mounting putty

Gallery photography wall

I hope this helps! I still smile when I walk past our gallery walls and my kids LOVE seeing photos of themselves. I don’t change out all of our photos, but I typically update images of my husband and me, and ones that are more of a yearly images that I take (like my three kids every fall).

Are your family photographs outdated? Visit my contact page and we can schedule a photography session!

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