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Turning Your Photographs Into Art

by Steph Doran (follow)
Blog (395)      Articles (166)     
Image taken by decor8 holly

If you’re anything like me, you have literally thousands of photographs saved on your computer, hard drive, or across various memory cards and USB sticks. All of these moments in time, memories, and stunning captures stored in the digital realm will only be looked at occasionally, if at all. How many times have you stumbled across folders of images that you forgot you had? Below are a few easy ways to turn your best images into art.


The easiest way to start displaying your photographs is simply to print them! In this digital age, we have become so accustomed to viewing photographs on a screen (whether it be a computer, an iPad, or a mobile phone), that we often forget the magic of the printed image. Printing your work brings the physicality back to the photograph, transforming it from a set of numbers and luminance values, into something that you can touch and hold.

You can print your images in any size that you like, and how you display them is totally up to you. Some people prefer a small print, whilst others like the impact of a large image. Of course, this will depend on the subject. For example, a landscape image might look fantastic printed on a large canvas, whilst a quiet, gentle portrait of your child sleeping might be best presented in a smaller frame.

The options for what you print on are endless, but using different paper types, or printing on to canvas are both popular options. It doesn’t matter what you choose, the important thing is to get your work off the computer and into a print!

Try This: Instead of going to a generic lab like Harvey Norman or Officeworks, take your best shots to a specialised photographic lab and treat yourself to a beautiful high quality print. The team at the lab will be able to help you proof your image and make colour and contrast adjustments so that you can get the most out of your images. They can also assist you with choosing a paper stock that will really make your images come to life!

Photo Walls

One step further than simply printing an image or two from your collection is to dedicate an entire wall to your art. Creating a photo wall is lots of fun, and you can approach it from many different angles. It might seem overwhelming at first, but consider what it is you would like to say about your photographs, and this will help guide the creative process. If you are not sure what you want to display, consider setting a theme for your photo wall. It can be as broad as ‘family memories,‘ or something more specific, such as a visual recollection of a particular trip, or a series of images taken in nature.

The number of photographs you choose to display is totally up to you, and of course will depend on the size of your wall. If you are unsure, perhaps start off with a small number of shots such as three or five (odd numbers look best when displayed together). You can always add to your wall, and it can be a continuous project that develops and changes with your vision or skills. The impact of a lot of photographs can also be very eye-catching, so don’t be scared to completely fill your entire wall, if this suits your style.

Consider how you are going to present your work. Using frames can make the photo wall look more polished and considered, and retaining the same size and style of frame will keep everything uniform. But incorporating lots of different frame shapes and styles can also create a brilliant effect! Don’t limit yourself to frames though - try hanging some string or ribbon and attaching your prints with tiny pegs, or use a photo and wall-safe adhesive to apply the images directly to the wall. Pin boards are also great, as are magnetic memo boards. Photo walls are highly personal, so make sure you are hanging up images that you really love!

Try This: If you’re not sure about committing to a photo wall, apply some prints with blu-tac and let them sit on your wall for a week. If you find yourself looking at the prints and admiring them, fix them there permanently. Don’t love them? Just remove the blu-tac and try a different method of displaying your photos.

Coffee Table Books

Creating a coffee table book is a fantastic way of presenting a large collection of images, without taking up a lot of space. The nature of a book invites people (including you!) to sit down and actively look at your photographs when they’re in your home, rather than just glancing at them in passing. Coffee table books work best when you have a theme or story in mind, so many people choose to use them as a documentation of an event, holiday or trip, or period of time (such as having one book for each year). The creation of a coffee table book can be daunting, especially if you are working with different layouts on each page, so try to keep it simple. Alternating a full page image with one or two other simple layouts (four images arranged in a grid, for example) will not only make it easier for you to create the book, but will give you a more consistent result. Try not to use every singly layout you can think of, as your book may look disjointed.

Image taken by decor8 holly

A book is a story, so think about the order of your images, and which images will sit well next to each other. Try to begin and end your book with strong or significant images, as these will create the biggest impact and really capture the attention of the person reading the book. Remember, the first image should make the viewer want to turn the page and delve deeper, and the last image should leave a strong visual impact that sticks in the viewer’s mind.

There are many different services and companies that allow you to create your own photo book, so don’t be afraid to shop around. Finding one that is easy to work with (in terms of user interface) and produces great results is key. Keep your budget in mind, but don’t be afraid to spend a little more for quality, as a photo book is something you will keep for years to come.

Try This: Many companies offer a discount for sample books, so you can test their quality with your own images. A notable American company, Zno (formerly Artisan State), produces flat-lay books of high-quality. For $5 you can create a small 6x4” sample book, which they will post directly to you!


Image taken by Tim Moore

Creating a slideshow of images can be a way of collating your best shots into a collection for parties so guests can reminisce, or for people to view when they live overseas. Most photo operating systems offer a slideshow function in their file viewing system, or their in-built image viewing software. However there are also specific programs that allow you to create more complicated slide shows, with different transitions and customisable effects, and you can even include music and home movies, if you like.. Don’t get too caught up in the effects though - you don’t want them overshadowing your work!

Try This: Buy a digital photo frame and import your slideshows directly into the frame using the online program. That way you can see your slideshow whenever you turn the frame on. If you like it, you can try using more complex programs such as iMovie and Animoto. Vimeo is a free site you can use to upload and stream your videos once they're ready to be viewed.

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