Getting Art For Your Walls

Last modified on February 22nd, 2009

My walls in my new place are still pretty bare, and that’s something I’ve been trying to fix lately. I went down to Ikea a few weeks ago a bought a pile of frames, but unfortunately finding anything to put in them has proved to be fairly difficult.

The first problem is that I don’t really have great photo backups of shots I’ve taken. If I were smart, I would have been uploading everything to Flickr at full resolution so I could use that as my archive. Unfortunately, I haven’t done that, so most of my photo originals are scattered amongst various DVDs and directories. I’ve always found iPhoto and other photo tools to be pretty weak in the organization aspects, but am obviously interested in finding a better solution.

The second problem is that most of my photos are framed for a 3:2 aspect ratio, and all my picture frames are square. Cropping them to a square format is sometimes possible, but most of the time it isn’t. Most of my HDRs don’t really work in square ratios, so I haven’t really been focusing on those.

The last problem is that most of my photos (back when SD and Compact Flash were more expensive) were shot using JPEG, and the compression artifacts are pretty apparent once you enlarge to a 12″x12″ or so. Going forward it’s safe to say that I’ll be shooting RAW exclusively.

When working with photos these days, I use two professional packages fairly often. The first is DFine, which is a professional noise reduction program (that also handles JPEG artifacts). The second is Color EFx Pro, which has some awesome B&W conversion filters, as well as various film grains, warming filters, and a pro contrast filter which seems to add a lot of pop to photos. The photo above of San Francisco was an HDR I shot last year, and managed to convert into a square B&W (I also ordered a copy for myself from SmugMug, so that’ll be my first shot on the wall).

I also went down to some local art shops here and scanned through the catalogs for some other art. I ordered a really cool shot from New York that had a lot of atmosphere, so that should be coming in a week or two. I’ve been trying to stay away from too much color in my wall art for now, but who knows what will happen.