Gallery Wall Ideas


Not sure where to start with your gallery wall ideas? Are you guilty of having TONS of gorgeous photos on your computer – or worse – on your phone where you rarely see them!?!

Even as a professional photographer, I was, and I know I’m not alone.

There were tons of amazing photos from our wedding, of our son, and our adventures all safely stored and backed up on hard drives. I knew where they were and didn’t see any reason to go through the difficult process of trying to select which ones to use to create gallery walls in our tiny home.

Afterall, I had the memories saved and had even printed out a couple of photo books and albums so why did I need to hang them?

That all changed after a fellow photographer challenged me to hang a family photo on the wall. She claimed prints are good for you and hanging a family photo on the wall would change my life.

I was resistant to say the least. I thought an 8×10 was a BIG print – and didn’t really want to see myself hanging on our wall every day. I mean, how could looking at one print change my life?!

Gallery Walls = Happiness

So my friend shared a study with me that revealed seeing happy photos of ourselves and loved ones builds confidence, self-esteem, and overall helps to create more happiness in the home. Still skeptical, I rounded up my family for a quick first day of school photo in our backyard. We didn’t change our clothes, brush our hair, we just went outside and tried to hold my son’s attention on the flashing self-timer light long enough for a few attempts.

That photo changed my life and my ENTIRE perspective on my job as a photographer.

It’s not a great photo.

I was newer to editing backgrounds and can see my sloppy attempts to clone out the metal fence, and our smiles are a little forced. But it was our first family photo since our son was born – and seeing it on our wall every day meant the world to me.

My friend was right, even in the digital age when we can have photos with us at all times on our phones and even watches – having it printed where I could see it as I rushed through another busy day did bring a smile to my face in a way that my phone could not.

Gallery Wall Ideas to Display Your Story

Seeing our family together, even without big smiles, DID make me happier. The photo reminded me of the fun summer adventures, the moments that followed as he started preschool and a list of firsts, and to my surprise my son loved seeing us together and was excited to do the next family photo. 


So each year we do a family photo now, still a challenge with a remote and always casual but it makes me happy to see it every day.

I’ve upgraded the rushed 8×10 to a slightly more formal 24×36 photo in our living room and can’t wait to add to the growing gallery wall in our kitchen.

And then I completely changed my business model.

Digital is NOT Enough

The entire reason I decided to pursue a career in photography in high school was because I wanted to remember those fun moments with my friends, our family vacations, and the beauty I saw all around me.

I have always been passionate about capturing stories so those moments in life can be remembered & shared – and it took me a few years to realize that having the digital files is not enough. We need to see and enjoy those moments, not preserve them in a drawer or on a hard drive.

So I changed my pricing to make it more affordable to get professional prints in the hands of all my clients, and opened my office in Newport News August 2019 to share examples and help guide couples & families towards the best options for their homes.

Digitals are still offered, but more as a backup than the primary way to enjoy their pictures.

If you are like me and have all those photos hiding somewhere, order a few 8×10 prints, it might just change your life! And if you’re not sure how to start or feel a little overwhelmed I’ve put a few gallery wall ideas below. You can also visit my Pinterest Boards for inspiration and for trickier layouts, here is my quick (almost perfect) 4 Step method:

  • Cut out pieces of paper the size of the photos
  • Tape them to the wall & rearrange until you love it
  • Measure where the hook is (on the paper) and hammer nail through paper
  • Remove paper and hang photos!

For measured perfection, check out this HGTV 7 Tips for Creating Gallery Walls.


Heather Hughes Photography

733 Thimble Shoals Blvd., Suite 170, Newport News, VA | (757) 870-4006 |

- by appointment only -


Voted the Knot’s “Best of Wedding Photographers” 2021 | WeddingWire’s “Couples Choice” Award 2008 - 2021 | Virginia Living Magazine's "Top Wedding Vendor" 2015- 2021 | VA Small Newspaper Photographer of the Year | Wedding Photojournalist Assoc. Blue Medallion Award