By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP
The CollageWall by Bay Photo has a patent-pending hanging system that makes it easy to hang pictures in a grid system. I was intrigued to see how the system works, and to see if the installation was as easy and fool-proof as promoted. So, I downloaded Bay Photo’s ROES software, and experimented with different image combinations and layouts. This step of the process was easy. You simply choose the type of CollageWall you’d like—photographic prints or metal prints. I first designed a 16-image piece, but decided it looked a little busy. My final design included six images over a 2x3-foot wall space.
My CollageWall order arrived in a timely manner, complete with hanging materials and printed instructions.
The hanging materials included a set of silver push pins, painter’s tape (for hanging the template), and a drill bit for predrilling the pin holes if you have plaster walls.
While installation seemed pretty self-explanatory—put the pins in the circles on the hanging template—I figured it couldn’t hurt to watch the instructional video before getting started. The video actually helped clarify a few things for me, like the fact that after placing the template on the wall, you should make pin prick marks at each of the hanging sites rather than pushing the hanging pin in all the way. That way you can save the template for later use if needed.
The video also explained how to separate my CollageWall elements, which arrived mounted to black cardboard as you’ll see below.
The mounting bracket is made out of this cardboard, as are little foldable easel stands. Should you choose to swap out a new picture in your CollageWall, simply attach the folded easel stand to the back mounting bracket, and you have a self-standing display piece. This is a great feature to point out to clients to let them know they can keep their CollageWall updated with recent images and still display the earlier photos however they would like.
Finally, let’s talk about hanging the CollageWall. First, I used the painter’s tape to hang the template. In the picture below, you’ll see that the template is made up of 5-inch squares. Each square has a circle with crosshairs where you will eventually install the pins. Before poking all the holes, be sure to check that the CollageWall template is level. Rather than measuring down from the ceiling to check for level as discussed in the tutorial video (our ceilings are not exactly level), I used a bubble level, which I lined up with the top row of hanging marks. Then I used a hanging pin to poke a small hole at the center of each of the crosshairs on the template.
Next, I removed the template from the wall, installed all the hanging pins, and began hanging the components of my CollageWall.
For some of the larger pieces, it took me a few tries to engage all the hanging pins because they have multiple hanging brackets—one for each 5-inch square. Notice below how the pictures float ever so slightly off the wall. If you find your smaller pieces don’t float properly, there are tabs on the cardboard hanging bracket that you can fold out a bit to prop it out from the wall evenly.
This pullback of the CollageWall (below) shows the finished display piece, which clients will now see upon entering my residential studio. The portraits of my family used in this CollageWall piece were taken by Liz Vance of Oh Baby Photography.
One final note. The metal CollageWall pieces have rounded corners, while the photographic CollageWall pieces have square corners and are mounted on a piece of plastic about 1/8-inch thick. The image quality between the metal and photographic images is comparable.
The CollageWall product definitely lives up to the claims made by Bay Photo. It is both easy to design and install. I managed to unpack the CollageWall, watch the tutorial video, and install the entire display. … all while wearing my sleeping baby in a baby carrier. And if I can do it without waking my baby, then you or your clients shouldn’t have any problem installing it either. As an extension of your superior customer service, it will add to the wow factor for your clients if you installed it for them.
It is easy to swap out pieces of the CollageWall, and you can order individual CollageWall components from Bay Photo, so future sales with the same client can focus on keeping that lovely wall display updated. Prices range from $60 to $360, with à la carte prints also available for purchase. For more information, visit Bay Photo.