Remember when you were in grade school, and a few weeks after school picture day you’d get an envelope with your photos and inside there’d be lots of repetitions of your picture, and that 11×14 would seem soooooo huge compared to the wallets and micro-wallets (what did people even do with those???)? It’s so funny looking back and thinking at an 11×14 was big. But at a hand-held distance, it is a good size.
But here’s the catch you have to consider: anticipated viewing distance.
So wall art has a different anticipated viewing distance than, say, an album of your session which you hold at arm’s reach. And something for your desk at work has a different anticipated viewing distance than a canvas for your mantel.
Desk prints and gift prints generally have an anticipated viewing distance of arm’s length, 12 – 15 inches, to about 24 inches away from you. When you’re holding something in your hands to view it, smaller hand-held sized photographs work beautifully. We recommend 5×7″, 8×10″, or 11×14″ for desk prints and gift prints displayed in easel frames on desks and shelves.
But try to put that 11×14 on your mantel and it’s going to look silly.
Wall art has an anticipated viewing distance of 8-15 feet. Most viewers will be across a room, sitting on a couch, or at your entry when they are welcomed into your home. In that case, you’ll want your artwork to be big enough so the subjects can be clearly seen.
Size also depends on display. If you’re going to cluster lots of pieces together like a gallery wall, you expect people to occasionally walk up to it to reminisce or admire all the photographs. For gallery walls, smaller staggered wall art sizes are perfect. If you’re doing a statement piece, it needs to stand alone in the room without getting overpowered – or overpowering the space. You want wall art a minimum of 4-6″ inches from light switches, moldings, casings and joints. For statement pieces, you want to fill your blank space leaving enough negative space to be pleasant to the eye.
Need help determining what is best for your space? All our clients receive guidance creating clusters, statement pieces, tips for the best sizes for your specific space, and we will help you build gallery walls over the years as your family grows. We keep ongoing records of your existing wall pieces so we can build on it each session. In addition, we provide the properly-weighted hanging hardware you need to safely hold the weight of custom frames or canvases.
Not sure the best way to get your artwork on the wall? Randy offers complimentary wall art hanging for all our local clients. He’s happy to come to your home or office to get your wall art beautifully displayed for everyone to enjoy.
Ready to plan your session? Contact us to start planning your session and the wall art that will become the backdrop to your family’s stories.