As you snapped each photograph of your family, your vacation or your garden, you hoped to create something special. And maybe you did. But where are those pictures now? In a shoebox? In a desk drawer?
No more excuses. Displaying photographs has never been easier. So get your pictures out of that shoebox and enjoy them every day.Arrange black-and-white or colorful images on a family-room wall or create a family reunion of snapshots on a tabletop. Frame photos just as they are, or splurge and have enlargements made of a few favorites. The photographs in your arrangement can be brand new or as old as your great-great-grandmother's portrait.
Nearly everyone considers pictures special. Photos were mentioned as the "most prized keepsake" by 96 percent of those answering a survey from Exposures, a catalog that features innovative ways to display and store photographs.
If threatened by a fire and only one picture could be saved, most people surveyed say they would grab a photo of a child. (Second was a picture of a parent or family group.)
Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed say they had more framed photos in their homes than they did a few years ago.
Now, thanks to the Image Magic copy print station by Kodak, you can preserve and enlarge favorite photos even if you don't have the negative. The machine scans the original photo to make reproductions in several sizes while you wait. You can lighten or darken the image and color-correct it, as well as enlarge it.
"Most people copy old black-and-white family photos or Polaroids," says Tom Naes of Fox Photo in St. Louis. Choose a sheet of two 5-by-7-inch prints, nine wallet-size or other combinations, and everyone in the family can have a picture of great-grandfather on his favorite horse or Aunt Martha at the World's Fair.
Next come the frames.
"Most people frame photos of families and bridal parties," says Lucy Danis, co-owner of Prints Charming Gallery in suburban Clayton, Mo. Collections of family photos are most often displayed in bedrooms, upstairs hallways or other personal areas of the house. Family rooms are also popular.
Black-and-white or color photographs treated as art can create a stunning wall display in any room. You can buy botanicals, landscapes or architectural photos in classic black and white, already matted, framed and ready to hang.
But don't ignore your own work. Look through old vacation photos, and you may find some images worthy of enlargement. You'll be surprised how much better your favorite shot of Lake Tahoe looks when blown up to 16 by 20 inches.
If you're considering a wall arrangement, have a plan in mind before you choose the photos to be enlarged. Not that all wall arrangements have to feature large photographs. You can make a striking arrangement from smaller images using extra-wide mats, sometimes called museum-style matting. Ready-made mat and frame combinations, usually available at many photo and crafts stores, can showcase a 5-by-7-inch photo in a 16-by-20-inch frame, for example.
Great groupings can be created of matching frames or wildly different frames that give the display a collected look. You can frame photos and hang them on the wall, or you can choose the trendier and easier-to-change option of putting up a picture ledge and leaning photos on it. The ledges come in several kinds of wood (available at craft stores and, often at lumberyards), and pieces can be combined to create almost any length.
Photos can be framed or simply matted in wide, heavy board that is sturdy enough to stand on its own. We like the ledge and mat combination because it's so easy to change the pictures as a new one strikes your fancy.
Or take a cue from designers and place a couple of large framed images on the floor or a desktop and just let them lean against the wall. Very cool (and very easy).
Tabletops have always been a favorite stage for family photos. But don't stop there. Create a grouping of a few familiar faces on the windowsill or on kitchen or bathroom counters. The choices are staggering; materials include wood, paper, wire, resin, metal, glass and more. Choose styles as formal or as funky as you like.
Frames that suspend photos between two sheets of glass have an especially up-to-the-minute look. The glass can be plain or textured, crystal clear or ruby red, and the frames hold one, two or three pictures. Antique frames, either reproductions or the real thing, are another choice, depending on your taste and budget.
Some frames are themselves miniature works of art, sometimes created by contemporary artists such as Michael Graves, vie for attention on any tabletop. Other, more informal ones can be individualized by laser cutting sentimental messages about grandparents or puppies on them.
Whether your photograph is on a tabletop or wall, take time to look carefully at the image before deciding how it should be displayed. Don't let the subject get lost in a jumble of extraneous colors and shapes.
Even family snapshots can be improved by cropping - simply cutting off edges of a photo, usually until you get rid of everything but the simple subject you intended to capture in the first place.
People too often assume they have to buy a 4-by-6 frame for a 4-by-6 photo. But when shopping, try closing in on the faces of your two children on a 4-by-6 so that their faces are framed within a wide wood frame with only a 2-by-2-inch opening.
All attention is then focused on those two happy, beloved faces.
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.