How to Set Up Photo Art for Public Display


If you are planning to display your photography art in a busy public place such as a mall or train depot you will need to have a display stand to hang your photos on, and you will have to frame your photographs so they do not get damaged from people touching them. In addition, if you are not going to be in attendance with your photographs, you will also have to find a way to protect them from theft. Pre-planning is the most important part of setting up your photos in a public display space. Implementing those plans is the second.

Step 1

Go to the public area you will be setting your photo display up in and take photos of the space for reference. Measure out the dimensions of the display space area you will be placing your photos in. Check to see if you will need lighting and see if the public space facility has electrical sockets available.

Step 2

Sketch out your ideas in the sketchbook and decide on a final design. Count the number of photos you will be displaying and lay out the order in which your photos will be displayed on the stand. Choose what type of photo display stand you will be using based on these factors.

Step 3

Review the ready-made display stands available through online websites that offer collapsible metal stands for art fairs. Custom build your display if you cannot find a standard one that will work. Build it from the same materials other suppliers use: metal framed fencing, tubular steel poles, stakes and canvas. If the public space has a permanent display area with locked cabinets that is available, consider displaying your photos within those restrictions. If there is a permanent wall which photos can be mounted to (either framed or glass over the photos) determine if those options would work better than a collapsible display stand.

Step 4

Mount and frame your photographs. Make sure they will be protected from being damaged while being displayed. The simplest way to frame each photograph is to use pre-cut mats and frames. Buy standard "modular" mat and photo frame sizes such as 8-by-10, 11-by-14, 16-by-20, and 20-by-24 inches. Use UV glass to protect the photographs from the sun's rays.

Step 5

Set up your display stand at home before taking it to the public place. Fine tune any details that need to be addressed, such as lighting. Test your track or spot lights and position the lights in the areas the photos will be displayed. Hang some of the photos to see how they will look, and lock them in place to see how they will hold up during the actual public display.

Step 6

Take your display unit and photos to the public display space during a time of day when it is least busy. Work with the staff of the facility to correct any problems. They will be the ones watching your photo display when you are not around, so it is important to communicate your concerns and your appreciation to them for their support.

Tips and Warnings

  • To prevent fading, try to keep your photographs out of direct sunlight during the time they will be displayed.

Things You'll Need

  • Photos
  • Sketchbook
  • Pre-cut photo mats
  • Pre-cut photo frames
  • Display stand with canvas walls
  • Track or spot lighting system


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Keywords: set up art photographs for public display, displaying fine art photos in public space, public photo exhibition

About this Author

Robert Gray has been writing full time since 1995. His first photography book took seven years to research and publish. He specializes in writing on photography and the arts. He's written for Photography Magazine, Large Format Camera Magazine and many online art and photography websites and blogs.

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