When it comes to gallery walls, I believe you either go big or go home. When I think of a gallery wall, I picture an entire wall covered in artwork that makes a really bold statement. If your wall doesn't scream "LOOK AT ME" then you're doing something wrong.
Featuring artwork on bare walls can add character instantly. I find that you don't get the same effect when you feature photos of your family members. That adds a great personal and sentimental touch, but it doesn't inspire the same burst of inspiration that I get when I look at a wall featuring beautiful artwork.