Photographer gives tips for displaying captured memories

ANNIE PAYNE/Special to the SentinelPHOTOGRAPHER KELLI McCALL, top left, gives Annie Payne tips on choosing frames, matting and displaying photos. Whether displayed on a wall or a table, it’s good to group photos sharing a similar theme.


Learn more about photographer Kelli McCall at

My walls are too bare. At least that’s what my older sister told me.

The same sentiment was echoed by my feng shui practitioner, and then confirmed by my good friend and masterful photographer, Kelli McCall.

Even after living in my home for six years, it still pains me to put any nails, screws, or hooks in the walls. It feels like I am putting a hole in my very own soul.

But when three ladies, whose opinions I value, all told me the same thing, I figured they had to be right.

So I asked McCall to give me her advice on how to get my family pictures out of the drawer and on the walls where they belong.

McCall took me on a field trip to her mom’s house to show me some of the photographs she has taken over the years for her mom and how they have displayed them in interesting ways.

Here is McCall’s advice:


When choosing the perfect frame, keep in mind that the frame molding generally should not be wider than the main subject in the picture.

For example, if the subject’s head is 2 inches wide the frame should be no wider than 2 inches.

This will ensure that the eye will focus on the portrait and not the frame.


The portraits on your wall should hang at standing eye-level. This allows people to enjoy them without straining to see them.

If displaying more than one picture, put up an odd number of pictures to create an art piece. Group them in ways that tell a story or share a similar theme, for example, senior pictures or baby’s first Easter.

Don’t hang dad’s fishing pictures, next to grandma’s wedding photo.


If a wall portrait is what you have in mind for a certain photo, then consider where it will hang or be displayed before having it taken. Choose your outfit for the photo shoot according to the color scheme of that space.

Remember, people are more important than clothing, so dress in solid colors and the focus will go to the faces instead of clothing.


Coffee tables and shelves are perfect display points for smaller photographs.

Make your groupings interesting by adding other decorative items, such as candles, plants and figurines. Keep in mind the rule of odd numbers.


Matting your photographs can do a lot to enhance the look of the pictures. Choose a mat color from a color in the photograph and that complements the picture.

When you want to fill a larger space, mat your print up a size. For instance, if you have a 5x7-inch photograph, choose an 8x10-inch mat and frame.


Did you know that displaying pictures of your children increases their self-esteem?

The most precious and unique artwork you could ever find is a portrait of those you love.

Capture those moments that will tug at your heart and display them as artwork. What better d&233;cor for your home than portraits that are personal and unique.

Armed with some great advice and inspiration, my walls will be less bare and will have more flare.

It might mean I will have a few more holes in my “soul,” but at least they will be nicely covered by pictures of my favorite people and memories.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog at


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