My Tiger and I take thousands of photographs every year. It’s so easy to push the button on your digital camera and it costs you nothing. But how do you make the most of your digital photos without them gathering virtual dust in cyber space? For me, saving them onto external hard drives with a copy in ‘the cloud’, wasn’t quite cutting it.
One of the things I cherish most about ‘family’ is the bank of happy memories you build together. And for me, a joyful element of life is making those happy memories front and centre. For some people, this might mean creating playlists with songs that take them to a special place, saving photos to Instagram or facebook or recording thoughts in a journal. Those ideas are great, but I love to be surrounded with photos that capture some of our treasured moments.
Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
Here are my favourite 4 ways to get your photos off your hard drive so you can make the most of them, share and enjoy them.
1 CREATE PHOTO BOOKS
Without a doubt, my favourite way to display our happy memories, is to create photo books that become keepsakes forever. I typically create a book for special occasions – family holidays, mum’s 70th birthday, the girls’ childhood – but you could also put a photo book together with highlights for every year of your lives.
I create my photo books through Blurb using their free publishing software, bookwright. This gives you lots of layout options and the ability to customise as much as you like. To make it cost effective, I always hold out for their 35 or 40% off coupons (they are offering 35% off right now). The quality of the books is beautiful, and they are always delivered promptly within about a week of ordering.
If you don’t want to go to the effort of laying out your own beautiful photo book (I promise you, it’s so worth the effort) Officeworks has software which will lay out your photos for you (in no particular order) and print it into a book format. At least then you will have some physical record of those special moments in time.
One of the upsides of creating a photo book, is that you can print as many copies as you want at one time. You can even print additional copies for your children, so there’s no fighting over photos when they’re adults. The perfect way to make the most of your digital photos.
2 DISPLAY (A SELECT FEW) PHOTO FRAMES
For years we’ve seen people decorating their home surfaces with dozens of photo frames. Big frames in front of small, mismatched sizes and finishes all jumbled together. You can barely see the photographs or the furniture under them. In my view (no judgement I promise – we’ve all been doing it), this isn’t the best way to show off our favourite family moments.
If you’re going to display photos on your furniture (I love too), try and keep it to a select few. The secret to doing this well is to keep your display simple and minimal. Cut down on the cluttered frames and display those treasured memories in an organised and stylish way. You can also check out my article on how to Style Your Clutter into beautiful arrangements.
3 DISPLAY PHOTOS ON PICTURE LEDGES
Simple shelves or built in ledges are great places to create a striking artistic photo display. Mix your photographs with vases, pictures, books, artwork or candlesticks. The beauty of this kind of display is that you can change the arrangement as the mood takes you – perfect for those who like to mix things up. Because the ledge is narrow, you can easily see all of the photographs., there is no room to over-clutter.
4 CREATE A GALLERY WALL
Gallery walls are timeless. They never go out of style and are the perfect way to break up an all-white colour scheme. Incorporating your photographic memories into a gallery wall is the perfect way to create a really special display. A great gallery wall will add character, pull your colour scheme together and create a focal point. Here are my tips and tricks to make sure you get your gallery wall just right and really make the most of your digital photos.
a I Decide On A Theme
Selecting a theme for your gallery wall will allow all of the pieces to tie together in a unified manner. The best thing about a gallery wall is that you can display so many things at once. Your personal photographs alongside abstract art, illustrations, paintings and anything else you can think of.
A great gallery wall will have at least one element that pulls everything together. It could be something about the artwork itself, the frames, the colour scheme or the style of the display.
- The artwork could be black and white photographs, a mixture of neutral photographs, paintings and sketches or a display of colourful travel photos.
- The frames could all match or perhaps you want them to be the same colour even though they are different styles and sizes.
- The colour scheme could be neutral or perhaps there are bright pops of colour scattered throughout.
- The overall style of your gallery could be symmetrical or free from with different types of artwork in different frames which appear to be randomly placed.
b I Select A Colour Palette
A clear colour scheme will give your gallery wall a more cohesive look. It should work with the overall feel of your space.
Bring a white room to life with some accent colours in the artwork. Keep a space calm with a neutral gallery with different textures and materials in the frames to provide interest but not overwhelm. A sleek monochromatic scheme of black and white photos will always be in style or add some serious wow factor with bright colour.
Choosing accessories that pick out the colours in your artwork will help draw your rooms colour scheme together and will intensify the colours in your photographs or artwork.
c I Mix It Up (If You Want An Organic Look)
Now that you have a theme and a colour palette running through your display, don’t’ be afraid to mix up some of the elements if you are after a more free-form look.
- Your collection could be a mix of artwork, paintings and photographs mixed together to create more interest than just one type of item on display.
- Your frames could have different textures, styles, colours or shapes to add interest to an otherwise neutral scheme.
- Mix up the format of your artwork by displaying horizontal and vertical pieces together. Consider other shapes and three-dimensional items such as a clock, light fixture or sculpture.
d I Consider Height, Balance & Proportion
You want to achieve balance in your display. This means creating harmony between larger, more heavily framed pieces and lighter, smaller pieces. Generally, I like to install the largest piece more central to a group and the smaller pieces towards the outer perimeter.
Your gallery proportions also need to complement the size and shape of the wall space you have available. Tall groups look better with nothing but skirting beneath, while wide rectangular groups look best above a sofa or sideboard. A horizontal group looks great leading the eye along the length of a hallway.
If you’re hanging artwork above furniture the proportions of the artwork should work with the furniture that sits below. A group just shorter or 2/3 of the width of the furniture item will work well.
Finally, positioning your gallery at the right height in your room is key to its success. So often, gallery pictures are hung too high, creating a disconnect between the image and the furniture below. Ideally, the centre of the gallery group should be at eye-level (around 1500mm above floor level). In a living room, you’ll mostly be seated, so the picture might need to be a little lower.
e I Select the Gap Between The Artworks
When you are displaying multiple pieces together, they need to read as one large group at first glance, not as individual pieces. This is achieved by grouping your pieces in a grid. When artwork is spaced too far apart the group lacks cohesion. Group small pictures so the gaps are no larger than 5cm while allowing up to 10cm between large pictures.
Although beautiful spaces, the images below show two galleries with large, random spacings between the displayed photographs and artwork. To my eye these galleries look ‘messy’ a little too random and inconsistent and they don’t appear as a unified overall display.
f I Lay It Out Before Hanging
Perhaps the most important step of all – always arrange your pieces on the floor prior to picking up your hammer. Start with the largest frame first and work the others around it until you find an arrangement you like. If symmetry is your thing, measure the spacing carefully before hanging to ensure it is even.
5 CREATE A SLIDESHOW
A fun way to show of your beautiful photographic memories is to create a video slideshow of them. With websites like Icecream Slideshow Maker, you can simply prepare a free video slideshow of your photos. The website allows you to add music and share it directly with your friends. It’s the perfect idea for a birthday party, weekend away or special dinner and a fun way to share these memories with your friends and family.
6 TURN PHOTOS INTO SPECIAL GIFTS
One way to make the most of your digital photos is to turn them into special gifts for your loved ones. Here are two of my favourite beautiful gifts you can create:
At My Jigsaw Puzzle you can create a beautiful custom 500-piece jigsaw puzzle (approximately 38 x 53cm) currently on sale for $59.95. Smaller sizes are also available from $15.95 with free shipping.
I love the idea of these custom gloss aluminium luggage tags as a gift. They have all your contact details and are personalised with your favourite photos. Perfect for school bags and luggage. Available through Photo Book Australia for $9.95 (+ 45% off currently).
Maybe you haven’t had a photo printed since the last century or you’ve been meaning to put together a wedding album and it’s now your 10th anniversary? Consider this your opportunity to get it together and make the most of your digital photos. I love sharing my photobooks with family, and our children in particular love to flip through them and reminisce with friends. We keep them our photobooks on our coffee table so they are regularly viewed.
Our photos are arguably our most valuable personal belongings. They are worth the effort! So, give some of these ideas a try and see what works for you.