Picture collages are one of the best ways to display a collection of family portraits, and they guarantee to be conversation starters when visitors come to call
In all of my houses during the past 10 years -- yes, I did say houses (plural), we are house flippers -- I have had some sort of collage showcasing the many family pictures I have taken as a photographer. My artist daughter also happens to be a great photographer, so some of hers are included in the one above. My collages usually consist of recent photos, vintage photos, and in-between eras -- in other words, photos which span a many years. I have pics of my parents as young adults, pictures of my sister and me as children, my grandchildren, my children and their spouses, all sizes. But there is a key to making an attractive collage, and since I've had many people ask about mine (the one in the picture above is my present-home gallery in a long hall), I'll share my method.
First select frames of a similar hue. I really prefer black frames and I favor black & white and sepia-toned photographs. You might prefer brown frames or white or another color, but having frames of a similar color makes the arrangement more cohesive. I do enjoy popping in a color picture as well -- an eye-popping color to sort of have one that "stands out." You might see the aqua background in the picture on the bottom row in the middle above, and some sepia ones sprinkled throughout. Choose a combination of posed portrait shots and candid ones for more interest.
Now, for the method... I start with the biggest pictures, centering them where I want the middle of my collage to be, working my way out from the center, going out and up and down. Contrary to what you might think, it is not necessary, in fact less desirable, if you have an equal amount of space between all photos. This is not a calculated grid, it's sort of a haphazard arrangement, brought together by similar colors. As you work your way out, you might even place some of the larger ones on the outside and fill in empty spaces with tiny frames. The goal is not perfection...the goal is balance, and the entire collage should work as a whole, with the top of the collage falling around two feet below the ceiling with three and a half to four feet between the bottom of the collage and the floor. The collage pictured above has evolved over a course of time, but now feels right to me. I have achieved the look I envisioned.
Family collages tell a story of the people in the pictures, their timeline
and the part they play in your family legacy...it's a great way to corral all the timeless photographs you haven't been sure how to display.