The images your art gallery posts online are one of your greatest sales and marketing assets. They act as your digital gallery space. Great images posted in the smartest way possible help attract new art collectors and sell artworks. Tight time constraints often mean that time is not taken to properly format your gallery images for the best possible viewing online. There are a few simple things you can do to give your images better impact.
Preparation and Technical Details of Photographing Art
If your budget allows, hire a professional photographer who should already have good equipment, knowledge of lighting and editing capabilities.
One of the most important aspects of accurately capturing a work of art is the use of natural light. It gives an online collector a better sense of what the piece will look like in their home. Natural light is best for digitally translating the true colors of a painting or other form of art. Ensure your images do not include any glare by not shooting in direct sunlight or using a flash. This is too often seen online with paintings or pieces under glass. The viewer cannot see the whole painting covered with a glare and it looks unprofessional. That is not a good sales tool.
Always take a photo in a large format and high resolution. You can always adjust down for web postings and still maintain quality. Most likely you will want larger images for your website to showcase them best for viewing details in a piece. When editing your image sizes for a particular online destination, such as Facebook or Instagram, adjust for what those locations require. More on how to make this process easier below.
Image file names help with SEO. Always save your digital images with a name that includes keywords. Posting an image named IMG_129063, for example, is not going to help search engines. Give some thought to how you name your images before posting them to maximize their effectiveness on the web. Typically, an artist’s name or something else descriptive is what works best.
Images can also be huge files, which can lead to a poor user experience with slow load times. Search engines track websites with slow load times and it can directly affect how your gallery’s website is ranked in search indexes. It is important to save your images with not only with a good keyword title, but also an appropriate file size for the web.
When your image is posted, don’t ignore the alt text. That is the perfect place to include a keyword description of what the image is about. Make your alt text useful to search engines and viewers if they are unable to see the image. Keep it under 140 characters. Search engines still use alt text for indexing.
Using Impactful Images on your Art Gallery Website
How images can be displayed on a website has come a long way. When collectors look online to discover new artworks, your gallery should strives to provide as close an experience viewing online as seeing the work in person. This is most important on an artist’s portfolio page. Many art gallery websites still post small images of artwork that leave a lot of white space on the page. This is wasted web real estate. Choose a way to display your art images that allow the viewer to see it as large as possible.
Post multiple images of the same piece, such as including the work framed or a side view to show an unframed canvas wrap. You might also include images highlighting nice details of a piece or choose a program that allows the viewer to zoom in wherever they like on an artwork. Installation views are also extremely helpful to provide context of scale for an online viewer.
If it sounds like a lot, remember the more visual information about an artwork the easier a collector will be able to make an online buying decision. Providing ample visual information helps to get a prospective art buyer engaged with a work and fall in love.
Post exhibition images as soon as the show is installed on your gallery’s exhibition page. You may have hundreds of website visitors from all over the world who cannot attend the exhibition. Give them an opportunity to easily experience the exhibition on a single page for a better user experience. This can easily be done with great images of individual works, gallery shots of the show hung and even of the work being installed. Include descriptive captions about the artwork and the exhibition. Your exhibition page of your digital gallery space becomes a sales page. A slideshow is simplest and cleanest way of doing this, but there are many other visually interesting ways of highlighting an exhibition with images.
It’s all about creating a great viewing experience with quality art images.
Using Impactful Images on Social Media
With attention spans of social media users being less than 10 seconds, your gallery’s social media pages need to grab attention fast. Being a fine art gallery, your social media pages are likely image dominate. The best way to make an impact is to offer variety to your viewers.
When you photograph artwork, show installations and life in the gallery, take some time upfront to review your image assets and ensure you have enough variety to tell the story of the artist and the artwork through your visuals. It is not unusual to see a gallery’s Facebook page with three or four posts in a row with the same opening invitation and image. Yawn….
On social media, size matters. Posting the same image size to all your social media platforms may lead to images being cut off and looking unprofessional in your follower’s feeds. Prospective art collectors will scroll right by your image and not give it another thought. It can be easy to forget if you use a tool to schedule social media in advance.
Unfortunately, the dimensions required by social media sites changes regularly. Then, you also have different optimal image sizes for your art sales platforms as well. Keeping track of this can be difficult and time consuming to get it right across all your digital channels. Try this very cool tool that allows you to upload an image and then select the social media platforms you want to use. It will automatically adjust the size for the platforms you select and where they will be used on that platform. It even allows you to create custom sizes for other places used on the web.
Image Resizing Tool – Landscape by Social Sprout
For anyone running an art gallery today, digital images are one of their most important sales and marketing assets, but not everyone has a budget for a professional photographer. Following some of the tips discussed in this article can help your gallery look professional and attract qualified art collectors.
Too often photographs might be taken hastily to get them up on social media or your gallery website in a hurry. Taking a little extra care to ensure you are photographing your artist’s work in the best possible light. Naming, alt text and sizing the images correctly can help create a positive viewing experience for art collectors and make search engines happy.
Give some thought to the visual story you want to tell with your images online and make a plan for taking a variety of images to add interest and information.
Your gallery is a visual business. Your digital gallery space should shine with fabulous, quality visuals.