What size prints should I get?

I get asked for print and frame size recommendations a lot by photography clients, so I took a moment (or seven) to research what looks good to me.  As I see it, the size of prints and frames depends largely on how you use the photos:

Prints above the couch

Above a couch as a stand-alone picture, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the canvas, mounted print, or frame is more or less half the width of your couch:

(24×16 mounted print above a 56 inch two-seater)

(30×20 mounted print above a 56 inch two-seater)

If you are building a selection of multiple pictures/mixed artwork you can get away with the collection expanding over the entire couch, because there’s more breathing room between artwork.

(Eight 12×8 mounted prints above a 56 inch two-seater)

Photos on your desk

As a stand-alone picture on a desk I’s say a 4×6-9×6 is great especially if it is matted. An 8×10/8×12 will work well, but in this case I would not mat it – just frame it as is.

Framed pictures above a desk and other slimmer furniture

If you have  a dainty-ish desk or other slimmer furniture that you want to place prints above, I would suggest either one photograph at less than half the width of the furniture, or making a collection of art work that lets the space breathe.

Photo wall displays in a hallway or other wide empty wall space

On the wall, as a series of pictures you could do maybe a set of four 6×9-8x12s matted into a bigger frame (8×12/11×14-16×20), for example. Mixing different sizes may be fun, as long as you keep the frames in the same color.

Pictures on a tall empty space

You can make a pillar of frames – either have them all be the exact same style, or make a mix of 5 or more different sized and shaped artwork.

About matting and framing prints

Generally I like pictures to have a minimum 2inch mat around small prints and more (5 inches) for large prints to get a nice and clean gallery look. The mat protects your picture from getting stuck on the glass.

What about picking between canvas and mounted prints?

I think mounted prints are a truly elegant and sleek option to canvas prints. Canvas wraps are usually more textured and the picture doesn’t look as crisp as it does on a mounted print. 

Click on over here to see some amazing photo wall displays that I think would work perfectly for documentary pictures.

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Documentary newborn and family photographer serving San francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas