Expert Advice: Bentley Waters on Creating a Home Gallery

I’ve been going through some family pictures and getting inspired to re-design our photo gallery. I invited one of my favorite family photographers, Bentley Waters, to share her tips on creating a spectacular family wall. Enjoy! – Sue

As a family photographer, I love working with clients to curate their images into beautiful photo galleries. Highlighting a few favorite images can really enliven a room, and I always encourage people to be inventive. As a starting point, I often suggest picking a wall in a master bedroom, child’s room or playroom to brighten up the space.

The first step is to consider your home decor and choose a frame that pairs well with your style. Is your home traditional or modern? For a traditional interior, I like a molded frame with a matted print. If it’s modern, perhaps a metal or simple black frame, or, as a fresh alternative, photos mounted under plexiglass on aluminum for a “frameless” look.

If the room has a lot of visual interest, I would suggest keeping your photo gallery simple, and vice versa. Black and white images have a nice way of making a room feel calmer, but color photos are a great way to invigorate a neutral space or play off an existing palette.

Next step is narrowing down the images and deciding on a configuration. When you are selecting images, I recommend choosing the photos that stand out from the mundane. Go with the photos that capture a moment or really show off your little one’s heart-melting smile. Then, ask yourself: Do you prefer a grid or more of a loose configuration? Maybe you want to do a series of three or four large images? There really is no right or wrong answer.

Here are a few examples of how I’ve incorporated my own family photos:

Master bedroom:
I wanted to use mostly color photography that complemented the purple paint on my wall. We selected some of the special moments from our last two photo shoots with Tara Whitney. I focused in on the corner where our desk sits and chose a combination of silver and black frames that coordinated with each other and the room.

Some photos are canvases, some are collages and a few are matted enlargements, all of which work together and add depth to the space.


I knew I wanted to create a grid of photos that covered most of the wall. I saw the image below on Pinterest (a great resource for photo gallery ideas) and decided this was the route I was going to take.

There are 24 images, all the same height. All of the frames were attached together on the back, in four groups, and hung from the top, as four separate pieces.

Dining Room:

I highlighted 12 of my favorite vintage photographs that I collected from both my family and my husband’s. This gallery was easier because all of the images were vertical and all were 5x7s and 8x10s. I chose two of the same frames, in different thicknesses to accommodate the two photo sizes.

I think the wood frames work well with the wood dining table and help in tying everything together.

Son’s Room:

I went with three of my favorite images that also coordinate with the colors in his room. I printed them on canvases and framed them in shadow box frames to go over his couch.

Keeping them all the same height keeps things clean and simple.

Designer Spaces:

S.B. Long Interiors shared a few images from their portfolio, to show how photo walls can really bring depth and interest to a beautifully designed home:

Photographs are a wonderful way to add personal, finishing touches to your home. Let us know if you’ve found a unique way to display your most-loved images!





  • 7 years ago pve

    I adore photo galleries in hallways, that make you stop and stare. My Mother-in-law has a photo gallery on top of her piano in her front entry and I always admire that these photos profess her love for people, especially her grandchildren.
    Bentley’s photos are really wonderful as well as her own display of arranged photos.
    I also love photos that are blown up to a larger than life size for big spaces.

    • 7 years ago Susan Bednar Long

      Thanks for reading and sharing your favorite photo galleries! And you can check out more of Bentley’s work at

  • 7 years ago pretty pink tulips

    Bentley has been photographing my boys for years…..and I’m already eyeing some new spots for some enlarged beach photographs in our new playroom/family room.

    What an amazing photography and design talent she is!!!
    ~ Elizabeth


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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by design and the subtle impact of our surroundings. Some of my earliest influences still resonate – I think of the dark woods and textured lodens of my father’s shooting club, the smell of fresh paint on a new canvas, and the bold symmetry of the Philip Johnson Glass house just down the street. For me, it was a natural path to become an Interior Designer. I love what I do. I’ve created this Blog to share my thoughts, finds and design inspirations. I hope you enjoy it!