Expert Tips: How to Display and Exhibit Fine Art Photography in Your Space

Welcome to our article “Expert Tips: How to Display Fine Art Photography in Your Space”. As a fine art photographer, I understand the importance of displaying your images in a way that enhances their beauty and impact. In this article, we will share tips and tricks from experienced artists on how to properly place and exhibit your fine art photography in your space. From choosing the right wall to considering size and lighting, we have you covered. So, whether you are an avid photography collector or simply looking to decorate your space with stunning images, keep reading to elevate your display game.

Choose the Wall

When it comes to displaying fine art photography, the choice of wall is crucial. I often recommend selecting a wall that is free from any distractions and large enough to make a visual impact. This could be a central wall in your living room, above a piece of furniture, or in a well-lit hallway. The goal is to draw focus to the photography, so the selected wall should provide a clear and unobstructed view of the artwork.

Consider the lighting in the room as well. The wall you choose should ideally have enough natural or artificial light to highlight the details of the photograph. Avoid walls that are directly opposite large windows, as the incoming light could create unwanted glare on the photograph. Additionally, think about the overall aesthetic of the room and how the photography will contribute to it. The wall you choose should complement the style and ambiance of the space.

Before making any final decisions, it’s beneficial to experiment with different walls and observe how the lighting changes throughout the day. This will give you a better understanding of how the fine art photography will be perceived in different parts of your space.

Use Frames and Matting

When it comes to presenting fine art photography, the use of high-quality frames and matting can enhance the overall impact of the artwork. Opt for frames that complement the style of the photograph and the aesthetic of the room. For a more contemporary look, consider sleek and simple frames, and for a classic touch, ornate and traditional frames can be a great choice.

Matting not only adds a decorative element to the presentation but also serves a protective purpose by creating a space between the photograph and the glass. When selecting matting, consider the colors and tones present in the photograph. A carefully chosen mat can draw out certain hues and bring attention to specific elements within the image, amplifying its visual appeal.

Working with a professional framer can be beneficial, as they can offer guidance on frame styles and matting options that will best complement the artwork. Keep in mind that the frame and matting should enhance the photograph without overpowering it, serving as a complementary border to the image.

Consider Size and Proportion

When preparing to display fine art photography, the size and proportion of the artwork in relation to the wall and the surrounding space are key considerations. The goal is to achieve a visual balance that commands attention without feeling overwhelming. In a spacious area, a large-scale photograph or a series of prints can make a striking statement, while in a more intimate setting, a smaller, singular piece may be more appropriate.

Take measurements of the wall and consider the dimensions of the photography you intend to display. It can be helpful to use mock-up paper or cardboard cut to the size of the artwork to visually assess how it will fit within the space. Additionally, consider the placement of furniture and other décor items in the vicinity, aiming for a harmonious composition that does not overcrowd the visual environment.

For a gallery-like effect, you might also explore the option of a salon-style arrangement, where multiple photographs of varying sizes are artfully grouped together. This approach can add a dynamic and personal touch to the display, while allowing for creative flexibility in how the images interact with each other and the surrounding space.

Place at Eye Level

Upon choosing the wall for your fine art photography, it’s important to place the artwork at an optimal viewing height. In most cases, the center of the photograph or grouping should be positioned at eye level, which is generally around 57 to 60 inches from the floor. This ensures that the photography is easily and comfortably visible to viewers, creating a natural and engaging viewing experience.

However, in spaces with particularly high or low ceilings, this standard measurement may be adjusted to better suit the proportions of the room and the typical sightline of the occupants. For example, in rooms with high ceilings, the photography may be placed slightly higher to accommodate the increased vertical space, while in areas where individuals are often seated, such as a dining room, the artwork can be positioned for optimal visibility from a sitting position.

In the case of a series of photographs or a gallery wall, maintain a uniform sightline for the entire display, ensuring that the individual pieces are cohesive and that the overall arrangement remains easily accessible to the viewer, whether standing or seated.

Organize the Group or Series

When presenting a group or series of fine art photographs, thoughtful organization and spacing are essential for creating a cohesive and visually appealing display. Begin by determining the arrangement of the photographs, considering factors such as the visual flow, balance of colors and subjects, and any intentional thematic connections between the images.

Whether you opt for a symmetrical layout for a clean and classic look, or a more eclectic, asymmetrical arrangement for a contemporary feel, aim for a sense of harmony and intention in the display. This may involve maintaining consistent spacing between the photographs, aligning them along their top or bottom edges, or creating deliberate variations in the placement to add visual interest.

As you organize the group or series, step back periodically to view the arrangement from a distance, making adjustments as needed to ensure that the overall composition is balanced and visually compelling. It can also be helpful to take measurements and use a level to maintain straight lines and even spacing between the photographs, resulting in a polished and professional presentation.

Play with the Space

Manipulating space around fine art photography can significantly impact the way the artwork is perceived and experienced. For individual photographs, consider the use of negative space, which allows the image to command attention while creating a sense of visual tranquility around it. In the case of a series or grouping, negative space can serve to establish visual connections between the individual pieces, giving them room to interact and resonate with one another.

Additionally, the space around the photography provides an opportunity to incorporate complementary elements, such as accent lighting, decorative accents, or contextual cues that add depth and dimension to the display. These elements can further reinforce the artistic narrative of the photography and create a compelling and immersive visual environment.

Experiment with different spatial configurations, and don’t be afraid to let the photography breathe within its surroundings. Consider the interplay between the artwork and the empty wall space, as well as how the surrounding décor and architectural features contribute to the overall visual impact. By playing with space in this manner, you can cultivate a captivating and multi-dimensional display that celebrates the artistry of the fine art photography.

Illumine Appropriately

Appropriate lighting is a crucial component in the display of fine art photography, as it directly influences the way the images are perceived and appreciated. When arranging the lighting for your photography, aim for a balanced illumination that uniformly showcases the details and tones of the artwork. This can be achieved through the use of adjustable track lighting, picture lights, or well-positioned floor lamps.

For individual photographs, consider employing focused lighting that accentuates the specific elements and textures within the image, drawing the viewer’s attention to the intended focal points. When presenting a group or series of photographs, ensure that the lighting is evenly distributed to maintain visual coherence and consistency across the entire display.

It’s also important to be mindful of the color temperature of the light, as this can affect the overall appearance of the photography. Opt for LED lights with a high color rendering index (CRI) to accurately represent the colors and tones in the artwork, and avoid light sources that emit harsh or dissonant hues, which can detract from the visual impact of the photography.

Protect from Direct Light

While adequate lighting is essential for showcasing fine art photography, it’s equally important to protect the artwork from direct or prolonged exposure to natural or artificial light, which can cause fading and deterioration over time. When positioning the photography, be mindful of any direct sunlight that may enter the space, and consider using UV-protective glass or acrylic for framing to minimize the impact of ultraviolet rays.

In rooms with abundant natural light, sheer curtains or blinds can be employed to diffuse the incoming sunlight and provide a level of protection for the artwork. Additionally, be cautious of high-intensity artificial light sources, such as unfiltered halogen or incandescent bulbs, and take measures to prevent the photography from being exposed to their direct, unfiltered glow for extended periods.

By safeguarding the fine art photography from excessive light exposure, you can ensure that the integrity of the images is preserved, allowing them to be enjoyed in their full vibrancy for years to come.

Apply the 2/3 Rule

When positioning and hanging fine art photography, the 2/3 rule can serve as a helpful guideline for achieving a visually pleasing and balanced presentation. According to this rule, the photography should be positioned so that its center is at approximately 2/3 of the wall’s height. This asymmetrical placement creates a sense of visual harmony and prevents the artwork from appearing disproportionately high or low on the wall.

By following the 2/3 rule, you can effectively utilize the vertical space of the wall while maintaining a balanced and aesthetically pleasing composition. This principle is particularly useful when working with larger pieces of fine art photography, as it helps prevent the artwork from feeling isolated or disconnected from the surrounding space, contributing to a more cohesive and integrated visual display.


In conclusion, displaying and arranging fine art photography in your space requires careful planning and consideration. From choosing the right wall and frame to implementing proper lighting and composition, there are several key factors to keep in mind. By following these expert tips, you can showcase your favorite pieces and create a stunning display that enhances the overall aesthetic of your space. As an artist, it is important to understand the principles of fine art photography and apply them to your own personal style. With these tips, you can confidently exhibit your photography collection in a visually pleasing and cohesive manner.