Photography that Sells

Artfinder’s mission is to empower artists everywhere to turn their craft into a living, to give them the tools to become their own best salesperson. Unlike portfolio sites, Artfinder puts the control directly in the artist’s hands, allowing them to shape and market their brand to the world.

As part of your ongoing journey to turn your craft into a business, it’s important to understand key principles of selling online so that you can grab the attention of online consumers and turn them into collectors of your art.

We often get asked how artists can improve their chances of selling on Artfinder. Whilst there are many contributing factors - one of the greatest is product photography. It’s not simply enough to make beautiful art - you need fabulous product photography too! Otherwise, how will the customer know what exactly you’re selling? Online shoppers are so used to being given detailed supporting imagery that without these it’s hard to establish trust.

Artfinder is home to over 6,000 artists around the world all creating magnificent works of art - it’s up to you to photograph your art in its best light to make it stand out online.

Pretty Horses by Luna North

Why is product photography so important?

Photography gives a sense of scale and depth, which helps the customer visualise your art in their home. It allows you to capture and highlight the amazing details of your art, and can make your work look so delicious that it’s really hard to resist. (I would know, I’m amassing quite a collection of art myself!) Your customer will look to your photographs to reassure them that this piece is for them and that your products are of a high quality - a collection of well-lit, beautifully composed and thought-through photography is therefore the best way to keep a potential customer’s attention once they’ve landed on your shop.

Close your Eyes #2 by Beata Belanszky Demko

Photography creates a need

Whilst art gives meaning, purpose and colour to all our lives, it’s a luxury purchase and for many there needs to be a justification of need in order to buy it. Showcasing your art in context - whether that’s pride of place in a magnificent room, sitting on a rustic bookshelf, or giving life to a small corner - is a great way to create a feeling of lifestyle around your artworks, particularly if your photography is consistent in its style and quality. Your customers will buy into the lifestyle you’re promoting, whether that’s aspiring to a sleek and contemporary flat with bold abstract paintings or simply adding character and personality to a tired shelf. As soon as you create that need, your works will find their way into their shopping basket.

99 Bottles by Dex

This might seem a little daunting, but break it down into manageable chunks and you’ll be on your way:

  • What kind of brand and lifestyle do you wish your art to communicate? Here are some ideas: Sleek, cosy, crafty, traditional, vintage, edgy, minimal, organic.
  • Once you’ve figured out your brand, think about how to photograph your works in context. If you don’t want to use your home, perhaps ask friends or family, or even your favourite local restaurant, bar, or cafe.
  • When in doubt, just keep it simple. Think through composition and don’t go over the top. Your photography should be uncluttered so to keep the focus on your art. Neutral backgrounds with minimal props are good guidelines to adhere to.
  • If you don’t have an expensive camera with bells and whistles, most smartphones will take great photography. Read our guide about photography basics and our guide on secondary images for more information.
  • Don’t forget to include detailed shots of interesting textures and your signature.
  • And of course, if your work is delivered framed, photograph it framed.

Deconstruction no.14 by Guilherme Pontes

Great photography shows confidence and conviction in your brand

Online consumers are picky - and rightly so, they have enough choice that they can be. A professional, thorough approach to your shop will ensure consistency and strengthen your brand. Keep your photography consistent - don’t add 5 great photographs to one listing then forget about the others. Likewise, pick a style and stick to it. It’ll show to your customers that you care about your shop, your art, and about giving them the best possible buying experience.

When you’ve finished taking photographs, sit back and review them. Are they blurry, awkwardly composed or dark? Customers frown upon these kind of images, as it shows a neglect to detail and quality. It shows you don’t care enough about your art to photograph it well, and who knows, perhaps you don’t care about your packaging, customer communication, or even their order?

Byron - Don Juan by Peter Walters

And a great brand image will build real trust

So what does this all boil down to? It’s simple: good branding and thoughtful product photography builds trust. And trust is contagious. Branding might seem like a washy word that can be hard to define, but take some time to think through yours. What’s your personality, which values define you as a seller, and how does your product photography communicate this? Once you figure out   what makes you unique, you’ll be able to sell your story more convincingly through imagery. Customers will be more likely to remember you if you have consistent brand photography.

Once this trust is earned, customers are more likely to buy again, to spread the word, and to become your very own brand evangelist. You will see positive results reflected in your Artfinder seller dashboard - your work “loves” will increase, people will share your work on social media, and your page views will increase. Nothing beats positive feedback, but it doesn’t grow on trees, so it’s worthwhile spending some time to think through what defines you as a seller and how to communicate this to your buyers through photography.

Alpine Morning by Yuliya Martynova

For more inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards:  Superlative Photography and Artists at Work.

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