Well, it’s not Wednesday, but I’m on the topic of walls anyway (albeit a day late!). Today, I’m talking about scale, the scale of portraits you hang on your walls. Most of us have been on Pinterest, we’ve seen great wall arrangements that feature 20 + smaller prints in frames in a great grouping. While that’s a great aspiration…if you’re like me you don’t have 20+ smaller prints framed in similar frames, nor the willpower to mark our precise hanging spots for 20 or more frames. They need to be straight, they need to be evenly spaced, I need new frames….gah! Where do you even begin planning that?

I’ll tell you where you DON’T begin! You don’t begin at your portrait ordering session! Do you know why? Because 8x10s look lonely living alone on the wall, and unless you have a grouping, it can make your walls look awful lonely & sparse. If you’re already working on your grouping, then by all means, add some 8x10s in. If you are not and just thought to hang your 8×10 alone, let’s revisit my naked dining room. Yes, it’s spruced on one side…and naked on the other. So, it makes the perfect setting to illustrate “that room at your house where you have that empty wall”.

It’s bleak and what it needs is a portrait to liven it up. So, you go to your ordering session & sit down to view all of your images from your photographer. Of all the things you would like to do…you decide to splurge a little and get the 8×10 size. It’s very big compared to a 5×7, the crop is even different. You get it home and frame it & place it in the middle of the big, blank wall. You stand back and admire it’s….well…smallness!


What happened to the large photo you had in your head? It’s so tiny you must walk up on it to see it. The truth is, your proportion and scale is way off. 8x10s are nice on a side table, on top of your piano even, and they’re huge in an album, but on a large wall, they don’t have that same impact. Small wall portraits CAN have a larger impact, in a smaller space – a hallway, a narrow wall space or a powder room. But on a wide open wall and even above your fireplace, you need to go up in scale.

I had the photo above printed at a much larger scale to demonstrate the point. Larger image, better cropping and fills much more wall space. On paper, this size seems GIGANTIC. It’s a 24×36 sized Signature Print, mounted on heavy board. Imagine this size as a canvas, and the impact it would have on a wall.

To compare the two, it’s like apples and oranges! When you’re in your ordering session and you’re not sure of what size is proportional for you wall, let’s look at some sample images and compare, or better yet, take measurements of your wall space & be prepared to fill it the right way.

Many thanks to the Jacksons for being my model family (yet again!).

Side note: I went to link to the blog post I was quite sure I made months ago and found the blog post still hanging out as a draft! Stay tuned tomorrow for a very, very late post with the Jacksons from back in the fall!

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