How to Design a Gallery Wall for Free with Canva

You did it! You hired a stellar photographer. You had a blast during your session. You're IN LOVE with your photos. And you totally want to have your photos printed. Someday. Somewhere. you decide to research printing options next week after you've finally slept through the night. And you opt to figure out a layout maybe after the holidays when you've had some time to scroll through Pinterest with a kombucha in hand.

Family photo taken at the end of a session at Fish Lake in Maple Grove, MN

Six months later, your photos are sitting on your hard drive, oh so lonely. You still love your photos, but you don't think about them as much because you don't SEE them. You still want to enjoy your artwork, but you have no idea where to begin.

This happens all the time! Choosing how to best display your photos can be a daunting task. There are endless options for printing, and understanding the benefits of certain printing options can be uber confusing. So I want to walk you through a FREE and convenient option for planning a gallery wall. I'll also give you some recommendations for where you can order prints at an affordable price point.

Living room gallery wall created by a Maple Grove Newborn photographer
This gallery wall was designed in only minutes! I started with a living room photo that had a neutral wall color and a brown couch. The image sizes were simple to calculate after I determined the height of the couch.

01. Head to & begin your design.

Under Templates, search "cards" and choose "Create a blank card." This size is a good starting point.

02. Choose an image of your space to start designing

You have two options here: You can upload a picture of your space where you want to create a gallery wall or choose from the stock images. When taking an image of your space, be sure to capture the entire wall. Turn off all your lights and open your curtains. This will help you capture the wall's actual color.

When choosing a stock image, search for "living room" or "kitchen" or other space type. You can filter by free vs. PRO and vertical vs. horizontal to get a list of your options. Choose an image with similar wall and furniture colors as your space.

03. Choose your frames

Click Elements, then Frames. You can also search for "picture frame." (Some of these images may be a paid PRO feature, but you can also find some free ones.) Choose your desired frame color. They don't have to be the EXACT frames you'd like to order, but similar colors will help you visualize the final wall.

04. Place images inside your frames & play around with different combos

Choose images with similar colors for a cohesive gallery wall. Place the images inside the frames and try various combinations.

As a reference point, the average couch back height is 30-36". I was able to work out my image dimensions by using 32" as for comparison. I factored in a mat width for the photos as well. (NOTE: If you're working with me, I can help you with this process!)

05. Order your prints & frames

I highly recommend ordering your photos through your photographer. If you've worked with KJP for your photography, simply head to your gallery store and add your desired photo sizes and frames to your cart. But I understand that professional prints isn't in the budget for everyone, and that's okay! If you choose to order through your own printing company, you're most likely to notice coloring and paper quality differences (e.g. A blue may look too green or a photo may be too vibrant.)

This article is super helpful in spelling out your options (and the recommended option) for choosing an online printer. I recommend printing through Nations Photo Lab if you're on a budget.

Here's a "happy medium" option: Order your prints through your photographer (to ensure accurate coloring & supreme quality) and find frames elsewhere. Personally, I love to hit up thrift stores for frames. The downside to doing this, is it requires patience, and it's a less convenient option.

I love helping bring photos to life, so hit me up if you want help with this process. Send an email to your Maple Grove Newborn & Family Photographer at Happy designing!


Based in Elk River, MN, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. She's known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

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