Helpful Tips

Putting Together a Wall Display For Your Home

Back in the Spring of this year I, along with a few other talented photographers in our area, was asked by the Martin Hospital if I would like to hang some of my newborn work in one of their hallways. I was so honored to be asked, and of course, said I would love to. While I was deciding on sizes for the display, the pictures, the color scheme, and finish, I thought this would be a great way to illustrate how to put together a display for your home! So below I’ve got a few steps you can take when making these decisions for your own walls. 

  1. Size it up 

The first step is deciding how big your whole display needs to be. For the hospital project, I actually sent over a few sketches to them ahead of time to see how much space they’d like my images to fill. That gave me the information I needed to know how big the actual prints needed to be. This is a technical step, but important! :) Get out a tape measure and even mark the measurements with some painters tape if you’d like to visualize what you need on your wall.
*Chances are, you’re going to need a bigger display than what you think. Most people guess their space is smaller than it actually is!


2. Decide Your Wall Hanging Style 

The next thing to consider when putting together a wall display is your wall display style. Didn’t know you had one? :) Here’s what I mean— Do you prefer many, smaller pictures, or fewer, larger pictures?
Typically, if you are one to like a more structured look, clean lines, and simple finishes, you’ll choose say, four large prints, rather than nine smaller prints. If you have more of an eclectic style and like mixing and matching finishes, sizes, and gravitate towards circles rather than squares, I’d say you’ll be happier with many, smaller pictures. (I’m totally a larger+fewer picture girl!)


3. Map it out

Once you have the size of the display in mind and how many images you’d like to incorporate, start mapping out the pictures on a piece of graph paper, keeping everything to scale as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to think outside of a box shape— some spaces look great with a more diamond layout, or even a circle. This will also give you a better visual for how big to print each image.
*If you plan to frame any or all the pieces, make sure you take the frame size into account, and not just the prints themselves! Also, be sure to leave room for space between each picture. An inch or two in between is a good start.

(Here’s my original sketch of the wall display I created for the hospital— my digital version of graph paper ha!)

(Here’s my original sketch of the wall display I created for the hospital— my digital version of graph paper ha!)

4. Choose your color scheme

For the hospital display, I wanted the images to be as timeless as possible and go with a variety of decor, so I chose to keep all the colors very neutral. Though they came from several different sessions, the display looks cohesive because the tones match from one image to another. 

For your home, take into consideration the colors in the walls and decorations around the display. Also, if you would like to add on to the display later, or if the pictures you’re choosing from are from different sessions and stages, think about limiting it to a similar color scheme across the display. If the colors are a bit busy or seem to clash, another great option is to turn all the images black and white! That will make the display even more timeless. 


5. Choose your finish

If you want a finish you don’t have to frame, there are so many options— from wooden prints, to canvases, to thin wraps and metal. Even if you do want to frame them, choosing the finish for the frame can be tough! Here, I would choose between rustic and clean, between texture or smooth. If you like something clean but with a little texture, a canvas would be a great option! If you like a more rustic look, wooden prints are beautiful and add a bit of rustic warmth to a space. See what other finishes you have around that space and gain inspiration from those. Don’t be afraid to mix and match finishes, if you tend to be drawn to a more eclectic look! 


Now that you’ve made all these little decisions, the last thing to do is pick out the pictures, print them, and hang them! I know it seems like such a big task, but I promise it is so rewarding to see your family’s sweet faces on your wall every day. Pour a cup of coffee, grab a notebook, and just start putting some shapes down on paper. Have fun with it! You can always switch things up later if needed! 

If this post was helpful to you, I’d love to see what you create from it! Once your display is up, take a picture and feel free to tag me on Instagram @AbreaCrackelPhoto. :) 

What To Wear For Your Senior Portrait Session

Senior sessions are so much fun to photograph for my clients, as this is a season of change, growth, and excitement! I’ve got a few tips below for my senior clients as they decide what to wear for their session. I hope it makes this process a little easier while they are busy making so many other decisions during this time. :) 

1. Personality Pieces

One thing I love about senior sessions is that we can infuse a little extra personality in these, as we want to highlight this specific time in this one person’s life. Though I do think a “normal” outfit or two is great to bring, I also love outfits that are especially “them”. From sports jerseys and band uniforms, to simply throwing on some Converses, heels, or wearing a favorite hat, adding these more meaningful pieces will make these pictures feel a bit more special when you look back at them later. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, as there is usually time for a few different looks!


 *I always encourage my seniors to bring sentimental items that we can naturally incorporate into the session as well. Musical instruments, favorite books, sports equipment, heirloom quilts— these are just a few things we’ve seen!


2. Timeless Outfits

Though we do want to incorporate your personality into your session, I do think a more timeless option is still a good idea. These pictures will be around for a long time, and having all super trendy outfits will make these look a little more dated more quickly. Try to bring at least one outfit option that is a bit more classic (that doesn’t have to mean stiff and outdated, but think little black dress vs. high waisted jeans, or a button down shirt vs. all graphic tees.) 


3. Mix it Up

There are so many ways to mix up your outfits to make sure you have a good variety at your senior session. You can start by including different colors in each outfit— you don’t want to look back and realize all your outfits were blue! :) Then, I always recommend having at least one dressy option and one casual, but that can be whatever that means to you. Lastly, if appropriate for that season, mix it up between pants and shorts or, for the ladies, throw in a dress or skirt.


4. Accessorize

A great way to add some extra options easily is through accessories! Bringing a hat, a jacket, scarves, vests, and jewelry that we can add or take away for some pictures will give you more options, while not requiring a full outfit change. 


5. The Practical Stuff

Colors- I don’t have specific colors I always love or don’t like, but I do recommend staying away from super saturated, neon colors. They can be a bit distracting, and can splash those colors onto your skin. 

Patterns- I don’t ban all patterns, but I do think it is a good idea to keep patterns on the less busy side of things, and to break patterns up with some solids. Just like super bright colors, busy patterns can be a bit distracting. I do, however, love texture and layers! Cozy wool sweaters, scarves, or vests are a great way to add visual interest, while keeping the focus on you. 

Fit- Make sure your outfits look great whether you are standing or sitting. Guys, make sure your pants aren’t too short to sit in, because seeing too much of a gap between your feet and your pants legs is not the best look. :) Ladies, those little dresses can be super cute, but keep in mind you’ll probably be sitting in a few pictures as well! A shorter dress or skirt may just mean we won’t be able to get as much variety in that particular outfit, so if you want to bring one, try to bring another option with you that you will be able to comfortably sit in. Also, consider bringing a camisole to wear under any shirts/dresses that will show underclothes around the neck or underarms.


I hope this is helpful for you as you plan your outfits for your senior pictures!

Wardrobe Tips For Your Family Photoshoot

If you have decided it is about time to get those family portraits updated, you may have wondered "What in the world are we all going to wear?" And really, that is a great starting point, because wardrobe is such a big part of a photo session! But I've got a few tips for ya so maybe you can feel a bit better as you go through closets and start putting together your outfits. :) 

1. Start With A Color Scheme
Gone are the days of everyone wearing the exact same thing (black shirts and jeans, white shirts and khakis, anyone?) Though I'm sure those outfits were a lot easier to put together, it isn't exactly what I recommend now.  Instead, I suggest choosing a color scheme to work with, and pulling together outfits around that theme. This could be more specific and monotone, such as everyone wearing a neutral and a shade of blue, or you can go a little more general and have everyone wear fall colors or pastels. You can also pick complementary colors, such as this aqua and coral combination. 

Coral + Aqua Color Combination

Coral + Aqua Color Combination

Neutrals are always a safe bet if you'd like your pictures to stay timeless and go with the decor in your home for years to come! 

Neutrals are always a safe bet if you'd like your pictures to stay timeless and go with the decor in your home for years to come! 

2. But... How Do I Decide On a Color Scheme? 
When deciding on a color scheme for your session, look around your home. What colors would look best when they are up on your walls? What colors do you often decorate with? If everything in your home is neutral and shabby chic, I would stay closer to the same look in your clothing, instead of putting everyone in a pop of color. But if bright colors make your heart sing, then maybe that is the direction you should go (though I personally would choose a neutral to go with the bright colors, so the clothing isn't too distracting!)  

Even if your session doesn't take place in your home, think about how your pictures will look on your walls. You want your style to be reflected in your clothing, just like it is in your decor! 

Even if your session doesn't take place in your home, think about how your pictures will look on your walls. You want your style to be reflected in your clothing, just like it is in your decor! 


3. Textures > Patterns
I am not a photographer who bans all patterns, but I do suggest breaking up busy patterns with lots of solids. Maybe keep patterns limited to undershirts or scarves, or have one or two people with a pattern and keep the rest of you in solids. I do suggest, however, textures and layers! In the fall, this could mean vests and knit cardigans, but in the summer, of course, we may want to keep it a little more simple due to the heat. :) Bringing necklaces and bracelets for the ladies, though, is a great way to incorporate more visual interest without adding more heavy layers. Hats are always a fun option as well!

Sweaters, vests, and jewelry add texture and visual interest, while the patterns are split up between lots of solids. A+ on these outfits! 

Sweaters, vests, and jewelry add texture and visual interest, while the patterns are split up between lots of solids. A+ on these outfits! 

4. Dress For The Season
This may seem silly, but it is worth mentioning-- Make sure your family is dressed for the season you are in! If it is a cool, winter month, it looks great and it will help your family be more comfortable to add on a scarf or vest, and don't forget some leggings with those dresses. If your session is in the summer, lighter tones and pastel colors may look a little better with the colorful scenery versus dark tones that bring to mind cool times of year (and lighter tones will keep you cooler, too!)

5. Finally, Make Sure It Fits
Lastly, before your session (like, days before, not the morning of!) have everyone try on their outfits and shoes and make sure it all still fits. Little ones grow quickly, and sometimes not as quickly as we think they will, so it is better to be prepared in advance if you need to grab a different pair of shoes before your session or hem up some pants. 


I hope this helps you the next time you're preparing for your family's portrait session!