Want to increase sales of your art? Prime your customer’s imagination by showing your work in situ. These step-by-step instructions by guest blogger Carol McIntyre will get you started.
Have you ever taken a look at some of the big commercial home décor sites? Many of them show work framed and even hung in room views to inspire customers to envision a particular painting in their home or office.
I wanted to help visitors to my own website be able to visualize owning my art by using a more realistic visual tool. I decided to display my artwork in various interiors so that they could “see” a painting on their wall. Some people call this putting your art “in situ.”
How was I going to create this look? Things have changed a lot since the days when people saw paintings literally hanging on gallery walls. My challenge was to make that visual transition easier. The plan was to create a separate page on my site that would serve as the interior of a gallery for my work. Here is my in situ page.
At first, I took photographs of paintings in our home and friends’ homes to show on my site. This worked temporarily, but ultimately it was unsatisfactory. I wasn’t quite getting the response I was hoping for from my website visitors.
I had even asked owners of my paintings to take photographs of my paintings in their homes and offices, which didn’t work out well either.
Then, I learned a way to use Google Images to achieve this look, while also improving my skills using PhotoShop Elements (version 5) – and you can do it too.
My process involves:
- Having a good digital image of my painting
- Finding an appropriate photograph of a home or office interior
- Working with PhotoShop Elements (version 5 and up) to merge the two together.
Next, I have to decide which key words to use in locating the living/conference room that will work well with my painting. Examples of key words I have used are:
- Photos of blue contemporary living room
- Photos of traditional green sitting room
- Photos of fireplace in contemporary red room
… and so on. You will end up with more options than you can possibly use.
I look for photographs that are:
- Free, and designated as such. IMPORTANT: to avoid copyright infringement (and possible cease and desist letters, or even charges) use websites where you can purchase images and do it legally. Shutterstock is one such website. You will need to create an account there. Go to their miscellaneous category and use their search function with the word “interiors”. Please share other sites you may know about.
- Straight on in perspective (You cannot skew your paintings in version 5 of Elements but you can in version 9);
- Do not show a lot of clutter;
- Compatible with the colors in the painting I am using;
- Have a large enough area on a wall in which to insert my painting;
- Have a size and resolution that is not fuzzy (for example a 1” wide image at 72dpi does not work well);
I then download several photos of interiors into my “Room Folder” for that painting.
TIP: I learned that it is easier to keep the finished interior images in the same folder for that particular painting than it is to organize all of my “in situ” images into a separate folder.
Next, I download the interior photo I chose into PhotoShop, and begin playing with the image. Simultaneously, I have downloaded the image of my painting into PhotoShop; this allows me to compare to two to make sure they will work well together.
TIP: Duplicate or copy the room interior image so that you have a clean copy.
TIP: Use a relatively small file for your painting image, for example 300-500 pixels wide and a dpi of 125-225. Large files are unmanageable and you end up with images too big for web use. It is essential that artists learn how to downsize your images for your art marketing efforts. Here is another downsizing resource.
Compare my final in situ image (above) for “Moon Window” and you will notice that I erased distracting items from this interior scene, including wall art on the side and door at the end of the hallway. I also added some purple from the painting into the bookshelves on the right side of the photo.
Once I have inserted the image of my painting, I create a sense of depth by putting an edge or frame around the painting. Being aware of the light source in the room, I then create a cast shadow.
Below is another example showing the before and after room photo. Notice that I took colors from my painting and brushed them into small areas within the room, to integrate all of the interior elements. I often crop the room interior photo as well.
Do these in situ images help you envision a painting on your wall?