by Carolyn Edlund
These artists use in situ photos to share their art with customers. Here’s why you should, too.
Selling artwork successfully means that you have to present excellent images of the art itself, but you must also give enough information to prospective customers to encourage a comfort level that allows them to say “yes” to a purchase.
Information can be written, such as title, medium, size, shipping details, etc. Information can be visual, too. An example of this is the in situ photo, where seeing the size and impact of your art helps the shopper imagine owning your work.
These can be literal photographs taken of artwork displayed in a room. Alternatively, they can be created using Photoshop, and virtually placing a painting into an existing photograph that you have either taken or purchased as a stock photo. If you build your art website on a platform like this you can easily show multiple room views with every piece you have for sale. There are even phone apps that help you create that in situ photo.
Artist Paresh Nrshinga does an outstanding job of using in situ shots on his website, with a Home page that is a gallery of interiors featuring his artwork.
He explains, “Having photos of the projects that I have done in the past is a great marketing tool. It gives a potential client a better feel for what the art looks like on a wall. It gives you as an artist credibility and allows you to showcase more art in this way, giving the client a wider choice.”
Likewise, painter Mary Mirabal has found in situ shots to be valuable to her marketing strategy, since she is not often face-to-face with prospective customers. She shares, “I love to paint, and see the reaction of people’s faces when they see my work. Outdoor art shows are not my thing, so I primarily sell my art online and through gallery exhibitions and select indoor venues.”
“Having an online art business is challenging,” she admits. “Art buyers and collectors don’t have the opportunity to see your work up close in person. You are truly selling yourself as the artist. I believe presenting art in situ really gives the viewer an opportunity to imagine your artwork in their own home. It helps personalize the art shopping process.”
Does your artwork need an “explanation” to help it sell? Artist Wanda Hickman felt this way. She says, “The watercolors I paint are non-representational or abstract. I think it is often more difficult to visualize this type of work in a space than more traditional, realistic work.”
She adds, “Working with interior designers, realtors, and their clients, I have found that ‘seeing is believing.’ As a home stager some years ago, I found that to be true, and now as a provider of art décor, it is true as well. The response to one of my in situ photos was, ‘I had no idea your work would look so great. I need it to bring some life to my sterile office.'”
Use in situ photos to show your artwork in a setting that is appropriate for its placement. Is your art perfect for a residential setting? Or does it belong in a corporate environment? These interior shots can suggest a particular space such as a child’s nursery, a large lobby, a law firm waiting room, a spa, or other space.
You may even discover innovative ways your art is being used by existing customers, and request to photograph work that has been purchased and installed.
Artist Don White has found that the ideas his clients have for displaying his artwork can be a revelation. He observes, “As an artist, it has always been very gratifying to be able to see my work displayed in someone else’s space. I find that I am so much ‘on the inside looking out’ when I finish a piece that I am often startled by what other people see. It is extremely eye-opening and insightful to observe how someone else displays my work once they have purchased it and taken ownership.”