How and Why to Use Photos of Art in Progress

by Carolyn Edlund

The work that you do in the studio is fascinating to others. Sharing photographs of your artwork in progress has multiple benefits for your art business. Here are some of them.


"A Walk at Tally Lake" work in progress shot, shared by Sheri Trepina.

Artist Sheri Trepina shares an in progress photo of her botanical work titled “A Walk at Tally Lake.”


Artists share photographs of their work all the time as a part of regular marketing activities. That’s a smart idea, but adding shots of work in progress offers additional insights to your potential collectors. These photos can help:

Explain your technique

Do you use methods to create your work that are hard to explain, are confusing or obscure? That’s where a picture is worth a thousand words.

Artist Sheri Trepina takes photos that show details of her complex technique (see photo above) that give the viewer an idea of how each piece is made. She explains, “These process photos often show me working on the piece. I believe this can help a buyer better connect to the piece, and lead to them making a purchase.”

Add value to your work

The average person may not understand why your art carries a certain price tag. But when they see the time, materials and effort involved in a work of art, it all becomes clear. The value may be instantly enhanced.

Keep interested fans in the loop

Draw people into a project you are working on, and post regularly, updating with new photos as you complete the artwork. Consistently sharing work in progress will have fans anticipating your next post.

Build excitement for new work

There is nothing more exciting than “what’s new!” You may even find yourself selling a piece of art as soon as it is finished. Encourage this by announcing a date when it will be available.

Demonstrate your expertise

You are really good at what you do. Let your talents shine by visually showing yourself creating work that others will love to own. This serves to build your credibility as an expert, which is helpful, because people want to buy from experts, not amateurs.

Enhance your artist story

What you do in the studio is a big part of your story, and the artist story is an integral reason why people buy. Incorporate in progress photos to help illustrate your inspiration, method and the tools you use. Your collectors will remember, and tell others how the artist made the work that they own.


Artist Sheri Trepina shows work in progress.

This process shot of Sheri Trepina’s work shows how she uses actual plants to create her art.


How can you share images of artwork in progress?

Photographs of work in progress are easy to take on a cell phone, and can be placed in email campaigns sent to your list, or on social media platforms. Use them in signage placed in your booth. Publish them in brochures, or incorporate them in a blog post. Studio shots can be perfect for use on your art website About page, and serve to support the written content.

In progress photos are more casual than portfolio or jury shots, and thus they are perfectly suited for social media, where conversations may revolve about a piece that you are busy creating. Instagram is an effective platform for sharing posts about work in progress. You may even want to pull images from your Instagram stream into your website and make it accessible to every visitor through a WordPress widget or by embedding the feed.

Take your sharing to the next level by creating videos that show your process instead of photos. Art videos are often made in a time-lapse format, which can be even more impressive, by turning a laborious process into a creative explosion that takes only a few minutes to view. Or, blend both still photos and video by turning a blog post that has multiple in-process shots of your work into a video, by using Lumen 5, a service that is currently free and easy to use.


Artist Sheri Trepina shares in progress photos of her work.

A detail close-up helps Sheri Trepina share her vibrant work.


Sheri Trepina shares a tip for artists who want to consider using in progress photos of their own. She says, “I have found when posting to social media, a tighter shot shows the rich colour variations that I love about watercolour. My layering process can be lost in a full photo of the piece, so the detail shot while positioning a leaf for collage demonstrates my thought and hopefully the time invested. The response or clicks to a detail or process shot is always greater than with a full finished piece.”


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  1. I was so happy that I had documented the stages of creating my art work, because Orlando’s History Museum actually displayed those photos next to many of my manhole cover sculpture relief works during a recent exhibition: “Plastics Under Cover.”

  2. If all you are interested in is selling your art, then you have already compromised yourself as an artist. Where is the pure joy of creativity?

    • Hi TC, Could you explain how selling your art compromises the joy of creating? Why does sharing your work with collectors, who have the pride of ownership, a negative thing?

  3. I’ve always thought sharing photos of artwork in progress was a great idea. I’m a fine art photographer and have always struggled with how to show the work in process. I’ve yet to see a photographer showing works in progress. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve published photos of photographers in the field, capturing wildlife shots. Or, show progress through screenshots of a digital work being changed over time into the final form.


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