I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I’m still very much enjoying Canada, but I wanted to share the process behind creating my oversized photographic equestrian artwork in the maroon guest bedroom with you. These works turned out so beautiful and they’re really special to me. They were also surprisingly easy to create… it just takes a keen eye for design, knowing the right local shops, and some easy installation tools. Today, I’m sharing the entire process… from taking the photos, designing the art, having them printed & framed, and eventually installing them in our guest room. I’m breaking down the cost as well. Click through for the details and a peek behind the scenes!
Obviously you’ll need photos to begin, and as it turns out- I took these horse photos over four years ago. I was combing through old photos, when I came across one Emmett took of me riding his horse, Derby, over a decade ago. It was summertime, I was wearing a sundress, and we hopped on the horses (bareback) to ride them to the pond for a quick dip. Fun fact- our hoses enjoy swimming with us. Anyway- Emmett snapped a photo while we were riding out, and it’s one I love but had not seen for years. It got me thinking- casual photos of friends on horses on could be really beautiful when cropped in the right way. Being a Juniper artist, this idea came at the perfect time. They had just called artists asking for new artwork submissions, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get creative with my camera.
I began the process by digging up some inspiration. This was still when we lived in our previous home, by the way. I pulled pretty black & white images as inspiration. I kind of had a Ralph Lauren equestrian aesthetic in mind. I called up my girlfriends and asked if they wanted to have a fun day modeling on horses for me. Although they’re not riders, they are good friends and said yes. Ha! Unfortunately, mine and Emmett’s horses live on our family farm back in Kentuckiana, so I also had to find a friend who was willing to let us borrow theirs. Once the logistics were taken care of, the fun began!
I styled my friends and had them hop on the horses while I snapped away with the camera. I wish I would have kept more behind the scenes photos because it was a hoot! They were great sports and did such a phenomenal job- we had a blast and made some good memories.
Once back home, I sorted and edited the images, selecting my favorites and removing the saturation for that high contrast, black & white look I was after. I submitted a bunch to Juniper, but they passed on all of them. I’ll admit, I felt a little defeated and tabled the project, not having an immediate place to install them (in our small previous home). Shortly after, we ended up selling our home and moving into our current house. I knew I wanted to install the photographs as art, but wasn’t sure where. Fast forward to a few years later, here I am- working on the guest room and it occurs to me this would be the ideal spot for my equestrian photos!
I knew I needed large scale artwork to fill the negative space in the window nook, so I scaled everything out on my computer in Adobe Illustrator, mocking up the walls, mat, image, frame size, and even the gallery lights. Once I had it designed, I sent the photos to my local photography printer (Nichols Photo Studio, if you’re local) to have them professionally printed. For four photos, the professional photographic prints cost around $100 with tax.
After picking up my photos, I immediately dropped them off at the framer and made frame selections. Want to see my two top picks? I was trying to decided between a simple black textural frame and a greek key option…
Ultimately, I landed on the black frame that better fit my budget because the scale of these works ended up being a bit costly (for a DIY). They’re large 32″ squares, so each one cost around $150… and I had four. I (impatiently) waited for my art to be framed and finished, so I could wrap up the guest room.
They barely fit in the back of my car when I picked them up, but I was so happy with how they turned out! I carefully lugged them inside and dug out our tools for installation.
To give you a better sense of scale, I asked Emmett to hold one. They’re BIG. I love the look of the oversized mat, with the print swimming in negative space.
Our framer gave us a finishing nail kit for installation, so that’s what we used. We made quick work of it with the laser level. My previous planning also helped, as I had already designed their hanging height and mapped out the position. I had it all planned and it took about 15 minutes to attach all four to the wall.
This is the image that sparked it all… me on Derby, riding to the pond on a hot summer day (pictured below). I’ll admit- I had to get creative with cropping the image because during my art school days- I wore entirely too much eyeliner and experimented with dark hair dye. I do think the pulled in version feels more editorial & interesting though, despite my questionable beauty choices.
I selected my three favorite images I shot of my friends to create a complete set of four for the guest room- all cropped in a similar way. My friends, Brooke & Chelsea, are pictured on the opposing wall…
Obviously if you’d like to frame photos you’ve taken, it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or photoshoot. You could use family photos, snippets from your travels, a hobby you’re passionate about, or blown up photos taken from decades past. Don’t worry if they’re grainy, not excellent quality, or have imperfections… that adds to their character.
I took quite a few photo classes during my time in art school and one of my favorite exercises was called “Top 10 of the Week”. We were expected to carry our cameras around for the duration of the class and each week we were expected to take 50 photos, then narrow down and share our top 10 with the class- as well as why we selected that particular batch. Each week we focused on a different skill: exposure, composition, white balance, etc. There’s something to be said about challenging yourself to get creative with your camera (or phone!). When it’s constantly on us, we have the ability to capture really beautiful moments on a whim. I’d encourage you to give it a try- you never know what you’ll come up with or which images will end up being your favorite. I’m glad Emmett was carrying my Nikon that day in the field on the way to the pond.
I also think the frame and mat can really elevate the look of artwork or photographs. These frames offer such a nice contrast, simplicity, and the right amount of texture for this room. I think the scale helps the window dormer feel more integrated with the rest of the bedroom. Oversized artwork definitely felt like the right move for this space.
I think these images and compositions feel special to me for many reasons. Obviously you know I’m very into horses, having grown up on a farm. 4-H was a big part of both mine and Emmett’s life, and riding is something I’ll always want to do more of. Who knows- maybe someday we’ll have our own farm and horses to care for again. I do think there’s something really amazing seeing my close friends on the walls of our home. These women mean so much to me. They’re strong, passionate, driven, caring, are incredible mothers, the list goes on. I like when art makes you feel or has a connection of some sort- and all four of these works do that for me.
Do you have photographic art in your home? What are some of your favorite photos you’d consider hanging in your house? I’d love to hear your thoughts on my equestrian photos, and as always- I’m happy to answer any questions about the process in the comment section below…