Framing & Displaying Family Photos


As seen in Prince William Living magazine, May 2013

By Vickie Williamson, Custom Framer and Interior Designer
Where are your old photos? Are they stored under a bed or high up in a closet? Maybe they’re even in the attic or the basement where heat and humidity are adversely affecting the very paper on which your memories are stored. In any event, it’s time to get them out of storage and up on the wall. I know what you’re thinking: it’s too expensive, or there are just too many to sort through.  Don’t panic—you can do this, and I’m going to help.

For starters, take it slowly.  Just start going through the pile of photos and sort out only your favorites.  Then set those aside and put the others away (preferably not in the basement or attic). Now it’s time to narrow your favorites down to the four you like most.  Later you can work up to growing your collection.

Take a close look at the four you’ve chosen.  Are they ready for a frame as-is, or do they need some help?  Remember, photo restoration doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  If you have a scanner, scan the photos and make any needed changes that you can on the scanned images to enhance them.  If you don’t have a scanner, then try a local printer.  Printers will often do this for a reasonable fee.  (Broadway Gallery offers photo restoration services.)

Then, print the enhanced images on heavy photo stock paper and you’re ready to frame.  It’s now time to display them, either in ready-made frames or custom framing.  Use conservation matting and glass for framing to help preserve the memories for future generations.  Contact a local custom framer  for these, as they’re usually not in ready-made frames.  (Broadway Gallery in Alexandria offers conservation framing techniques.)

Before you get busy with a hammer, lay out the framed photos on the floor. Arrange and rearrange them in a way that looks appealing to you.

Three Techniques for Arranging Artwork:

1 . Aim for a shape—triangle, square or rectangle.

2.  Keep the space between each frame even.

3.  Line them all up on either the left or the right.

Once you have a design that is pleasing to you, it’s time to start hanging. Entryways, stairways and family rooms are all great places to display photos. Embrace the fact that you are also preserving precious memories.

Prince William resident Vickie Williamson has been working in the fine art, framing and decorating industry for more than 25 years and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Valdosta State University.  Vickie is the in-house designer at Broadway Gallery.

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