How To Choose The Appropriate Size for Your Printed Family Artwork

May 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Choosing an appropriate size to display your family portraits is one of the most important and most challenging aspects of having your images printed. Many times clients start out believing an 8x10 or an 11x14 is a large portrait for their home. In reality, I would considered these gift prints, suitable to gifting to friends and family or for taking to the office to display on you desk. But when it comes to hanging family portraits on your wall at home, most of the time a much larger image is appropriate. 

Even the 16x24 image on the left feels lost over a large couch while the 30x40 image on the right is more appropriately sized for the room.

There are three main considerations when choosing a size for your images. Room size, viewing distance, and subject face size. Is your room a small 8'x8' office or a grand family room that is 20' deep? How far away will you be viewing the image? How large will the subjects faces look at a distance? Will you be able to see their expressions? Thankfully, these factors all work hand in hand making these considerations easy to address with the appropriate tools and guidance. You simply need to hang portraits that are appropriate for the size of your room, and subsequently the furniture. This will ensure faces are at minimum size that they can be seen at various viewing distances and the portraits don't get lost in the room. In looking at the overall wall space dimensions your artwork should take up two-thirds to three-fourths of the area.

You should also consider the orientation of the wall you are placing your portrait on. Tall, narrow walls lend themselves to images in a vertical, portrait orientation, while horizontal wall spaces, such as over a couch work best with landscape-oriented artwork. Of course if you are using gallery (or grouping) of photos, you only need to consider the orientation of the outside edge of the entire gallery.   

A gallery of images also works well in large spaces and provides flexibility in selecting different image orientations.

Splitting an image in two is also a unique option for some images. 

Because it is sometimes difficult to visual what any particular size image would look like in your ideal space, make sure you measure the space before you make a decision on size. I also recommend using something like painters tape to mark the outline on a wall and then take a few steps back to see how it looks.  While there are standard sizes such as 16x20, 20x24, 24x36 and 30x40, custom sizes are also available and may be more appropriate depending on the amount of space you have, coupled with how each size will crop your image (more on how cropping will affect your image in a future blog post). 

To make this entire process easier, I have the ability to show my clients their images in different sizes in both stock rooms AND in their own personal space. That's right, with a simple photo taken on a cellphone of your ideal space, combined with a measurement of something in the room, I can show you what your images would look like in any room of your home in different sizes, taking the guess work out of everything! 


Multiple stock images including bedrooms, living areas, offices, hallways, and entryways make it easy to visualize photo size even without your own room image. 

A gallery of two 16x24's with a 30x30 vice a 30x40 

If you are interested in having family photos as well as professional design service for home, please contact me for a free consultation! 


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