There's no doubt that today's families are the most documented in history - but so many thousands of photos are lost in the scroll as new ones get added, and many moments are quickly forgotten.
The photos that come to mean the most, ultimately, are the ones you see on paper or on a wall - not a screen. "Family photos are an essential part of making a house feel like a home, and when done right, they can look really stylish and help to capture so many memories," says Elaine Verdon, creative director at interior design and styling studio Leo and Cici (leoandcici.ie).
But getting pics off your device and into your life can prove a challenge.
Select and edit
The first step is to select which images to display. "I would tend to shy away from overly posed portrait shots - things like everyone wearing white or lying down on their elbows - and instead choose more natural, caught-in-the-act photos," says Elaine. "Or, to really capture the moment, use a still from a video. By selecting your own shots and editing them (maybe making them all black and white, for example), you can create that consistent thread in the colour."
Set up a simple process for keeping track of the images you like can be hugely helpful; try adding them to a "to print" album on your phone and set a reminder to transfer them to your computer once a month.
When it comes to editing, a light touch is best - a filter that looks great on an Instagram post is often too heavy handed for a printed photo. Stick to basic things like straightening, brightening and improving the contrast for images that won't date too quickly.
When you're ready to print, there is no shortage of options available. Most pharmacies offer a photo printing service, but, given the current climate, it might be easiest to use an online ordering service; these usually allow you to upload images directly to the website (or via software you download) and the photos arrive by post. Popular ones include Snapfish.ie, Bootsphoto.ie or Photobox.ie. Alternatively, you could go the DIY route and use a home printer, which can be handy for simple 4"x6" snaps.
Special occasion images, like those from weddings or family events, might require a finer touch. Companies like Inspirational Arts (inspirationalarts.ie) or Hang Tough (hangtough.ie) offer high-quality personalised printing and framing services, allowing you to choose everything from the paper to the mount and the frame. They also offer specialist archival paper and inks to ensure your images have lasting power, turning family photos into heirlooms that can be passed down though generations.
Up the walls
Knowing which photographs you want to print is one thing, but deciding what goes where is quite another. "How to display photos is probably the number one thing people want help with," says Elaine. "I don't like to be confined by too many rules when working with people's personal photo displays though. Instead, I focus on the photos themselves and the best fit for them.
"I personally love a mix of styles and frames, definitely erring on the side of eclectic," she continues. "I love black and white photos as they hide a multitude of sins, but they can blend into a scheme without taking over. However, colour can also inject a shot of energy into a space, whether in the prints or through the frames. It all depends on the atmosphere of the space that we're creating and how the display fits within that."
Start by gathering all the images you want to display before deciding on how they should be printed, framed and where they should go. Don't be afraid to mix in personal mementos - things like Polaroids, ticket stubs, children's artwork, notes, cards even dried flowers - with photos and paintings or prints. "Once framed and hung correctly, everything has its own story to tell," says Elaine. "I like to lay all the prints out on the floor before hanging anything to see how they look and fit together first."
The key to creating a finish that's more curated than cluttered is to ensure there is uniformity in your display. "That doesn't mean everything has to be matchy-matchy, but there should be a consistent thread running throughout," advises Elaine. "Always consider the atmosphere you want to create. Do you want the pictures to be neutral and blend in or go bold and make a statement? Selecting a theme for the display can help to set the tone."
The same approach works for frames too. Decide early on if you want to mix things up with different colour frames in different sizes or stick to something more cohesive. "I'm also madly in love with antique frames, which you can pick up in charity shops or on Etsy and can be really good value," says Elaine.
Her top tip? "A simple trick I like is to use standard, ready-made frames but get custom-made mounts for them," she says. "By changing the mount size, you can play with shape and scale to create a different look that feels unique to your shots. I love using a bigger mount and smaller-sized photo too, as it encourages people to look within the frame to see the detail. Darker mounts can also be really effective when used against a brass or gold frame."
Hallways and landings are good places to hang a family gallery wall, as they offer plenty of blank wall space. However, Elaine emphasises that you should consider more unexpected spots too. "Corners of a room or a return, the downstairs loo, above a fireplace or using a whole wall from floor to ceiling in a dining room to hang a selection of art, photos and mementos can all look great," she says. If you're feeling timid, you don't have to commit to hammering nails into walls right away either: "Take advantage of shelving, cabinets, tables and lean pictures against the wall or nestle them amongst your objects and books for a more relaxed look."
3 handy photo apps for your phone
Brilliant for making basic adjustments to light, colour and contrast, and also a good place to store and organise images to be printed.
This ingenious app makes it easy to 'scan' physical photos just using your phone. Great for old family snaps. Just be sure to block off any glare when scanning framed pictures.
Add filters and effects to your images with this easy-to-use app. Its best feature is that you can reduce the strength of the filter applied, alongside a host of other fine-tuning tweaks, which is particularly good for photos you intent to print.
Sunday Indo Business