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Sell more Art through your Website – Art Sales and the Power of Images

Imagine you could sell art 24/7. Your visitors could make out every detail, get an idea of work dimensions and obtain sufficient information on art works and artists. And your presence wouldn’t even be required. That’s all possible! With your gallery or artist website – your online showroom open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

However, there’s a snag. Unless you use high quality images of art works, you won’t be successful. Images are the most important part of your website. Never mind how talented your artists are, or how much work goes into public relations and marketing, without the right images you won’t attract collectors through your website or sell your art online. Like anywhere else, the first impression counts – and your gallery or artist website are no exception.

Why Your Website Should be Image Driven?

Your website is the first point of reference for potential buyers and collectors. It is also the place where you can make your art works accessible to a large audience. Potential buyers and collectors from other countries or continents get a chance to discover your art works and artists. Of course, you’d like them to feel like they were standing in your gallery or in your studio. The challenge for you is to offer potential buyers a detailed impression of your art works. The magic word here is “image driven”.Images are the main focus of image driven websites. Ideally, images will have a high resolution and will feature different angles of your art works as well as detailed views. Equally important are installation views and a good zoom function. This will give visitors to your website a good idea of your art works while arousing further interest and improving perception – turning potential buyers into customers.

What Makes a Good Website Image?

Your images are the creative focus of your website. Everything revolves around them. Art work images should mirror the quality and effect of the art works in your gallery’s programme. An important point is consistency. Just as your logo’s design, your gallery space, and your website’s layout, your images should be presented in a uniform and matching style. Define your images’ visual language as you would your logo.

Advantages of a Uniform Visual Language

A consistent visual language helps website visitors to focus on the most important, on the effect of your art works. We recommend you design the backgrounds of your images or your walls as neutral as possible, adjusting them to match your motif. To achieve a uniform style, it’s best to use one to maximum three background colours. When presenting sculptures or objects, a neutral background is especially important in order to show their thee-dimensionality.
Keep the composition simple and take pictures during daylight. Natural lighting in images gives the viewer the impression of seeing the art works in person. It also corresponds to the lighting an art collector most likely has in his or her home. You’ll also save time and money on editing the images with Photoshop while making sure all images appear in a uniform style.

Create Contexts

If potential buyers and art collectors can get an idea of an art work, that’s great! This will give them the possibility of imagining where and how an art work could be presented in their home.
The easiest way of creating contexts are installation views, which show your art works in a spatial context as well as presenting your gallery space. Such images will ensure a vivid online presence!


Another possibility is to show your works in a virtual space, for instance a living space. This will allow the viewer to better gain an idea of the work’s size and its spatial effect, an important issue for online buyers who can’t view the art work in person.

Optimise and Compress Images for your Website

Great high-res images are only of use if they don’t take ages to load. If files are so large that your page takes over five minutes to load, visitors will give up and leave your site. You’ll also need the correct image size to be able to zoom in, otherwise potential buyers and collectors will only see a pixelated image.

When using images on your website, the following three parameters should be considered: file format, image size, and file size.

File Format

.jpg is the most familiar file format with which you can create high-quality images with small file sizes and compress them – minimize them – without major quality losses, making this format the first choice for images with lots of details and shades. For your gallery or artist website this also means images will load faster. Perfect!
Opt for the .png format when you want transparent areas in your image, such as graphics, your logo, or delicate type faces. Compared to the .jpg file, fine text details remain when compressing images as compressing PNG files is lossless. The downside: the files are larger. For this reason, .png formats are better used for graphics, e.g. your logo, than for websites.

Image Size

The image size is of great importance so your website can load fast and images don’t appear too small or pixelated. Don’t make the mistake of uploading images directly from the camera to your website without editing them first. Your image files will have quite a few megabytes if you didn’t limit their size on your camera beforehand! For this reason, first upload images from your camera to your computer to compress them with a programme such as Photoshop.
Sizes of images for the web are measured in pixels (px). The more pixels, the larger the image. The images on your camera can have several thousand pixels – much too large for your website! A standard computer screen has only 1920 x 1080 px. That’s already full HD resolution!

How big should your images be?

For images on your gallery or artist page, measurements of 1000px for the shorter side and 2000px for the longer side of your image will suffice. For your page to load fast, image sizes should not exceed 1920 x 1080px. Larger images than that won’t offer any more of a visual advantage. These image sizes will also ensure that visitors will be able to zoom in correctly and won’t get to see a pixelated image but rather every small detail.File Size

Unlike image sizes, file sizes will determine how many bytes (KB, MB or GB) an image has –how much memory it uses. For websites, file sizes of 50-100 KB will suffice. Images should be no larger than the maximum of 200-300KB as loading them will otherwise take a very long time.

How to compress an image from your camera to the correct image and file sizes

Use photo editing programmes:

  1. After downloading the image from your camera, open the file in your photo editing programme and change the image size through the menu item Image > Scale > Image size.
  2. Enter the desired pixels and confirm.
  3. To save the compressed image for your website, go to File > Save for web. Select JPG as a format and high quality or enter a value between 60-85%. You’ll receive an image with a small file size but without visual quality loss.

Make sure never to overwrite your original image as you may need it for other purposes. Always save a copy!

Use Images for Social Media

You’ll also need high quality images for your social media channels, as 57% of art buyers discover art through social media.

The most widely used social media platforms in the art word are Instagram and Facebook. For both platforms it is important to post images, especially art work images featuring people as such images perform better.
The reason for this is that the viewer gets an idea of the painting’s or sculpture’s dimensions.

Your image will also seem less sterile. A study confirmed this: Images with people have a 12% higher interaction rate than images without people.

You’ll need the following parameters for your social media images:

Facebook:

Facebook-Titelbild: 828 x 315 px
Facebook-Beitragsbilder: 1200 x 630 px
Geteilte Links: 1200 x 627 px
Profilbild: 180 x 180 px

Instagram:

Beitragsbilder auf Instagram: 1080 x 1080 px
Profilbild: 110 x 110 px

Conclusion

Art work images are the main focus of your gallery or artist website and social media channels. They are an integral part of online art sales and important for potential buyers and collectors who can gain a first impression of your gallery and what you have to offer.

If you wish to impress your collectors and potential buyers with your artists and art works not only on-site in your gallery but also online, you’ll have to comply with the increased visual demands of website photography and present high quality images on your site. You’ll not only boost your gallery’s or studio’s image but may also arouse interest among international buyers, gain more gallery visitors, and enhance interaction on social media channels.