Taking Quality Photos on Your Smartphone

These days, with pretty good cameras in most people’s pockets, it has become a lot easier to capture and save memories. You can just pull out your phone and take a photo, then upload those photos and print them off, ready to be framed and put up on the wall or the mantelpiece.

If you want to take some high-quality photos for framing without spending a lot on camera equipment, then we’ve got some tips to help you improve the quality of photos you take with your smartphone.

Select the focus

On modern smartphones, it’s easy to select an element of the photo you want to focus on, if it’s different to whatever your phone automatically decided to focus on. You don’t have to mess around with different settings, all you have to do is tap the subject on the screen. The camera settings will automatically adjust to focus on that element.

Adjust the lighting

There are various settings you can adjust within your camera app to improve your photos you take. How much you can utilize these will depend mostly on your technical knowledge when it comes to photography. Even if these pro settings go way over your head, there’s a simple adjustment you can make when taking photos; the brightness. Each smartphone camera will differ slightly, but you should be able to simply increase or decrease the brightness to get the best out of your subject.

Avoid flash

One aspect of smartphone photography that still has some catching up to do is the flash. When used for taking photos in the dark, the flash tends to produce photos that are grainy and overexposed, or still too dark. Wherever possible, rely on external sources of light to highlight your subject so that you don’t have to rely on flash.

Only zoom if you have to

Zooming in with your camera phone can also result in low-quality photos, especially if you’re zooming in a lot. Try to physically get closer to your subject if you want a more zoomed in photo, rather than relying on the zoom tool itself. If you can’t get closer, then try simply taking the photo from where you are (with just a little zoom if needed) and then cropping it to get the desired frame.

Consider buying accessories

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, there are lots of great accessories to help boost the capabilities of your smartphone’s camera. You can buy attachable lenses that allow you to zoom in better and achieve different perspectives. There are LED lights that attach to your phone to achieve better lighting. Or you can use a tripod or stand designed for smartphones to help you stabilize your photos.

If you have photos that you want custom framing, then get in touch with Tanglewood Art and Frame in Clemmons, NC.

How Does Art Restoration Work?

You’ve probably seen examples online or in museums of old, famous works of art that have been restored to their original glory. These pieces of art gradually degraded or became damaged over centuries and went through an often painstaking process to return them to their original state.

You probably don’t have a 1,000-year-old painting lying around in your house, but if you do have any paintings or photographs that have faded, cracked, or otherwise become damaged over the years, then we can help you restore them. Here’s a quick look into how the process of art restoration works.

Early art restoration

Art restoration has been practiced for a long time, but techniques didn’t use to be as sophisticated as they are now. Paintings were regularly restored to bring them more up-to-date with modern times and trends in the art world. This left artwork heavily altered from the artist’s original piece, negatively affecting its value in the eyes of many.

One technique to improve the painting’s appearance was to coat it in wood-ash and then wash it off, but this later proved to be damaging to the painting.

Art restoration today

Art restoration in modern times has become somewhat of a science. It is much less invasive than it used to be. X-rays, infrared, and cameras are often used to determine the original composition of the painting, highlighting areas that were essentially “edited” by previous conservators. After this analysis, restorers can use certain mixtures to remove the added elements from these early conservation efforts in order to reverse their effects, revealing more of the original artwork.

Photo restoration

Modern technology can also be used to restore old photos, to digitally repair damage or improve the quality of very old photos. Photos are scanned into a computer and then various techniques using a photo editing tool can be used to restore the photo.

Scratches, tears, and creases can all be removed from the digital photograph. Colors of faded photographs can be restored to their original vibrancy. Old black and white photos can even be colorized to incredibly convincing effect. Once you have your restored photo printed, you’ll have a physical copy of it as good as new. In some cases, even better!

Hang your artwork proudly on your walls thanks to restoration services from Tanglewood Art and Frame. Come into our custom framing shop in Clemmons or contact us directly to find out how we can help you.

Canvas Art: To Frame or Not to Frame?

Canvas art is a popular decorative feature of many homes. Images can be painted or printed onto canvas and then stretched or wrapped around a kind of frame. The result is a piece that can be hung from the wall without actually being framed. But just because you don’t have to frame canvas art, does that mean you shouldn’t?

If you’re placing canvas art in your home or office, then this article will help you decide whether it needs custom framing or whether you should hang it as it is.

The Pros of framing canvas art

Like with any kind of artwork, framing canvas art can help to protect and preserve the piece, keeping it in good condition for longer. Even if you don’t use a glass cover to provide UV protection, the outer frame itself helps to protect the edges and corners of the canvas from becoming worn and damaged.

Some canvases are better off being framed because of the quality or finish of the wrap. A standard wrap tends to leave the edges of the canvas blank, whereas the image can be continued around the corner of the canvas to make the edges look attractive. Staples or other fastenings may also be visible on the edges. The appearance of these edges should play a big part in deciding whether or not to frame your canvas.

A good option for framing canvas is known as a float frame or floating frame. These leave a small space between the art and the frame so that it appears recessed and the entirety of the piece can be viewed.

The pros of leaving it unframed

A canvas print without a frame can produce a more minimalist look. If the painting or photo in question lends itself to a minimalist style, then leaving the canvas unframed could be a good option. Think also about the room you’re hanging it in and whether that has a minimalist design.

As mentioned above, if your image is fully wrapped around the canvas to make the sides look aesthetically pleasing, then leaving a canvas unframed is a viable option. A lot of it comes down to style and personal preferences. Do you think your canvas would look better unfinished or presented inside a frame?

If you’re looking for custom framing for your canvas or any other kind of artwork, then contact Tanglewood Art and Frame today or visit our frame shop in Clemmons, NC.

Using Lighting to Highlight Your Frames

You may have seen framed artwork in museums that’s perfectly lit to make the entire piece look more attractive and to highlight the focal aspects of the art. If you want to step your own artwork and décor up a level, then you can do the same thing in your home or workplace.

Here’s some of the theory and tips behind using lighting to highlight your framed photos or artwork…

Different types of lighting

Generally, you can choose between three main types of lighting – wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, or picture lights mounted to the frame itself. If you choose a ceiling-mounted light fixture, then the best way to reduce glare on the artwork and shadows being cast from the frame is to angle the light at 30 degrees. Picture lights can be very effective at highlighting your artwork, just make sure your frame is big enough and sturdy enough to support the fixture.

For wall-mounted fixtures and picture lights, uplighting or downlighting your frame will create a different effect. Which direction to choose may depend a lot on the piece of art and the frame in use, as well as your personal preferences. Uplighting can create dramatic shadows over the piece, especially with a chunky frame. Try shining a light on your art facing upwards and then downwards to see which effect you prefer.

Make it bright

To really highlight your frame and picture, the lighting used should be brighter than the room’s general lighting. You can achieve this by buying brighter bulbs or directing more light sources toward your artwork.

Avoid damage to your artwork

You might think about positioning your artwork in a spot that gets direct sunlight during the day as a way to highlight it, but this can be damaging to your art or photo. The UV light from the sun’s rays causes the colors to fade. When it comes to artificial lighting, damage can still be caused by the heat coming from the bulbs. Don’t place a lighting fixture so close to the frame that you can feel the heat coming off it if you place your hand near the artwork. And try not to position a light source so that it is facing directly toward the piece.

Consider LED lights

LED lights are a good choice for protecting your artwork because they produce very little heat and do not emit UV light. Other options, like halogen lights, may need UV filters applying to them and should be kept a safe distance from all artwork.

If you need help with home or commercial framing, or more advice about hanging your artwork, then please get in touch or visit us at our frame shop in Clemmons, NC.

Choosing the Right Photo for a Standard Frame

Normally, our advice is to choose a custom frame specifically for the piece you want framing, not the other way around. But the holidays have just passed, and shop-bought frames are a common gift that you might have received. If you’re in this situation and don’t know what to place in that frame, then here are some tips to help you choose.

Check the dimensions of the frame

The first thing you need to know is the dimension of the frame you’ve been gifted. These are usually listed on the product packaging or a paper insert inside the frame. If you can’t find the dimensions, then you can measure the frame by laying it flat and using a tape measure or ruler along the inside edges of the frame, horizontally and vertically, to take measurements.

Knowing the dimensions of your frame will give you an idea of what proportions the photo you choose should have. In other words, whether you’re looking for a square photo, a landscape one, or a portrait one.

Decide which room you’ll hang the frame in

Where do you want to hang a photo in your frame? It might be that the color and style of your frame suits the décor and design of a particular room, in which case it will be an easy decision. If it would fit well in multiple rooms, then think about where there’s space on your walls that can be filled with a photo or piece of art.

Identify matching colors of your photo

Knowing which room you’ll be hanging the frame in will help you decide what kind of tones and colors the picture should have. Is it a brightly decorated room or a more neutral one? You can either look for colors that will match the walls or other parts of the décor, or colors that will complement the design well by contrasting with it. You should also think about which colors will contrast well with the color of the frame itself.

Browse through your photos

You’ve probably got collections of family photos, vacation photos, and photos with your friends. Now that you’ve got some guidelines on what size, shape, and coloring the photo should have, you can look through those collections and narrow down which photos will be right for your frame before making your final decision.

If you need help with custom framing a photograph, piece of artwork, or something else, then contact Tanglewood Art and Frame or visit us in our frame shop in Clemmons, NC.

The Different Methods for Hanging Frames

Hanging pictures and frames on the wall is a great way to personalize your home, decorate a space, and display some fond memories or achievements. But there is more than one way to hang a frame. For people living in rented accommodation, you might not be able to use methods that make holes or marks on the wall.

Here are some of the best options when choosing how to hang a frame. With all these methods, we’d recommend using a spirit level and masking tape to ensure you hang the picture straight the first time. And aim to hang your frame so the center of it sits at eye level.

A simple hammer and nail

If your picture frame has a string attached to the back or another method of hanging it, then you can simply hammer a nail into the wall where you want the frame and hang it from there. If your frame is particularly wide or heavy, then you will probably need a nail at either side of the frame. Otherwise, you can position one nail at the center of the frame.

Picture hooks

Similar to the above method, picture hooks can be hammered into the wall to provide a secure method of hanging your frame. Some hooks are designed so they can simply be pushed into the wall, if the wall is suitable for this kind of application.

Anchors

For much larger and heavier frames, you may need a stronger and more secure option than then above, such as a wall plug anchor or toggle bolt anchor. These will leave more damage to the wall compared to simple nails or hooks, though.

Adhesive hanging strips

If you’re looking for a hanging method that won’t leave a mark, then you can get hanging strips that stick securely to your wall and can easily be removed afterward. These can be either adhesive or Velcro. When you’re choosing these strips, they should include guidelines on the packaging stating what weight they can support.

Peel the paper off one side of the strips and then fasten them to your frame at each corner. Then, remove the other side and stick them to the wall. Push the frame onto the wall firmly and then remove the frame so that the strips have a chance to stick properly to the wall.

Adhesive hooks

Similar to the above, you can also purchase hooks that stick to the wall via adhesive. Once they’ve stuck properly, so can hang the frame from the hook using a string or something similar attached to the back.

Do you need help decorating your home with custom-framed pictures? We provide custom framing services and can also help you when it comes to selecting the best method for hanging your frames. Get in touch for our help around Winston Salem and Clemmons.

Framing Your Experiences with Scratch Maps

Are you looking for some different ideas of what to frame and hang on your wall? Here at Tanglewood, we can provide custom framing for pretty much anything. And we’ve got an idea that could look good on your walls, celebrate your experiences, and even reflect your goals – scratch maps!

In case you don’t know, a scratch map is a map of the world or a certain area that you can scratch the surface off to reveal something underneath. They are typically used to essentially tick off countries or cities that you have visited and show you all the ones you haven’t been to yet. They’re great for travel addicts, but if that doesn’t describe you, then you can buy scratch maps or lists with lots of different themes.

Maps of the world or a country

As we’ve already mentioned, you can get a scratch map of the world, a continent, or a country. If you don’t do much international traveling, then you could get a scratch map of the US and check off all the states you’ve visited.

Must-read books

If you prefer a good book over a plane journey, then you can also find scratch maps with lists like “The top 100 books to read before you die.” Once you buy it, you can tick off all the books you’ve already read and then set a goal to read the rest of them in the future.

Must-see films

And there’s a version of the above product for movie buffs, too. How many of the top 100 movies have you seen? Or you could find a more specific poster like ones listing the top movies of the 20th century or the top musical films. Next time you’re bored in an evening, you can consult your list to see what film to watch next.

Bucket list

Do you have a bucket list? If you’re stuck for ideas of what to add to yours, then you can buy a scratch-off bucket list filled with things that people typically want to do before they die. Daring things like sky diving and driving a motorbike, but also more laidback things like writing poetry and making a birthday cake.

Places to visit

A little more specific than a scratch map of the world is a scratch-off list of specific places and landmarks to visit. Have you been to the Grand Canyon or the top of the Empire State Building? What about Big Ben, the Taj Mahal, or the Sydney Opera House? This kind of list will give you great vacation ideas, both nationally and internationally.

There are loads of different scratch maps and lists that could suit your interests, so find one and start scratching. And get in touch for custom framing for your scratch map. Framing it and hanging it on the wall can serve as your motivation for checking the next thing off the list, while also displaying your achievements so far.

The Effect That Work Environment Has on Employees

Have you ever tried to work in a dark, drab environment? It can be soul-sucking and certainly not motivational. Yes, the décor and design of your office or other work environments can have a big impact on the productivity and happiness of your team. Read on for some tips on designing your office to boost employee morale and the benefits of doing so.

Make it comfortable

You should encourage your employees to take breaks rather than trying to make them work non-stop. Taking regular breaks helps to rest and refresh the mind so they can come back to their task and focus better on it. Adding chairs in the kitchen area, a sofa in the office, or a comfortable break room lets employees know they can take breaks and provides them a nice space to relax in.

Add some color

So many offices have whitewashed walls and gray furniture. This could have an impact on the mood of your employees, which then has a knock-on impact on their work output. Add a splash of color to the walls or furniture, or buy colorful artwork to decorate the space with. This can help to lift the mood of employees on a subconscious level. A good idea is to decorate the office with the brand colors of your business.

Adorn the walls

You don’t want so much decoration that the space is distracting, but completely bare walls can look really dull. You could have artwork, photographs, staff portraits, or certificates custom framed and placed on the walls around your office. This helps to add variety and character to the walls of your office and can also be a good way to display your company’s and employees’ achievements. Hanging a mirror is another option as this can make the space look bigger, often making it feel more comfortable.

Let employees customize their space

This is especially a good idea for offices where employees sit in cubicles. Each employee could personalize their space with photos and accessories that they like or that mean something to them. It also allows them to work in a space they’re comfortable with. One employee might want a fairly plain space while another might want framed photos of their family on their desk to boost their mood.

If you need custom framing services to brighten up the walls of your office, then contact us or visit us in-store in Clemmons to find out more about our services.

Creative Ways to Display Small Framed Photos

We love big, framed statement pieces on walls. They make great focal points in your décor and are a good way to show off your photos, artwork, or certificates. But you can’t make all your photos statement pieces. Whether it’s holiday photos, family photos, or anything else you want to keep front of mind, there are lots of creative ways and places you can display small framed photos.

Photo wall

Why hang one photo when you could hang lots of little ones? Have a selection of small photos printed and framed and arrange them on your wall like a photo collage. You can hang them uniformly in rows or in a more random, stylistic arrangement. Hang them closely side by side or with space in between. The possibilities are practically endless.

Surround a statement piece

Maybe you want to show off photos from your wedding day or from your travels. One good way of doing this is to choose one photo to have as the large, central piece. You can then print other photos you like in smaller dimensions and hang them around the center photo. You could choose just a few photos or a dozen or more, and arrange them in any shape or pattern you’d like.

Stand them up

By placing small photos in a frame with a stand, you can place them on any surface you’d like. Your bedside table, mantlepiece, window ledges, and shelving units are all great places to position your photos. You can have your favorite memories in pride of place. Choose a frame that matches the surface you’ll be placing it on or, conversely, one that contrasts it nicely to make it really stand out.

Make a statement

I know we started out this blog looking for alternatives to large statement pieces, but going back to this idea, why not make a large statement piece from your collection of smaller photos. You can arrange your photos however you’d like, just like you would for your photo wall. But, this time, don’t frame them individually. Lay the photos out in a collage, place them on a mat or backing board, and then frame this piece together in a larger frame. This way, you’ve got one central piece for your wall but containing lots of memories.

If you have photos and can’t figure out the best way to show them off in your home, come into Tanglewood Art and Frame in Clemmons, NC. We can give you our professional advice and provide high-quality custom framing services. Contact us first if you have any questions.

The Best Ideas for How to Display Your Travel Photos

You make so many amazing memories while traveling and you’ll see lots of incredible sights. Your photo reel will probably be full by the end of your trip, but what do you do with those photos? It’s a shame to leave them on your phone only to be viewed once in a blue moon, but it can be hard to know how to show them off.

We’ve got some ideas about how you can do your travel photos justice. Check out these interesting ways of displaying your travel photos.

A large feature piece

If there’s a single photo that you absolutely love, then it can make a great statement piece in any room. Print that photo in large dimensions and place it above the fireplace, behind the TV, above your bed, or on any wall with enough space for this kind of feature. This photo can be a real focal point of the room, one that everyone notices when they first walk in. Good options include printing your feature piece on canvas or having it custom framed.

Travel photo collage

If you prefer to display lots of smaller photos from your travels, then you can always make a collage of your favorite photos. Just select a group of photos and print them out together in a collage that you can have custom framed. Or, you can print and frame them all separately, arranging them nicely together to create a stylish photo wall.

Mantlepiece displays

This one is a great choice for renters who might not be able to hang pictures or frames on the walls due to restrictions set by their landlords. Mantlepieces, shelves, and window ledges are all great places to show off your framed photos. You can choose a few smaller photos and frames to display across the mantle, or a slightly larger centerpiece photo frame.

Photo prints

Maybe you don’t have the perfect space to display your photos but you still want to get them offline. You could always create a photobook of all your favorite pics or print them out and place them in a traditional photo album. Another great idea is to have a custom calendar printed with some of your favorite photos from the previous year. If you travel a lot, then you can create a new calendar each year with your latest travel pics.

Are you ready to frame your travel photos? Come into our frame shop in Clemmons to find out how we can perfectly present your memories. Or contact us online to inquire about our services and prices.