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Photographing Your Work

Product photos are critical to a shopper’s purchase decision. In fact, according to Etsy, it’s their most important factor in deciding to buy, even more important than the postage cost, customer reviews, or even the price of the item itself. In other words, whether you sell on Montague Gallery, another platform, or your own website, taking compelling photographs of your artwork is critical to success. And a bad photo could prevent you from making a sale, no matter how amazing your artwork or product is.

Unlike shopping in bricks and mortar shops, when you browse online, you can’t pick up the product. You can’t touch it, hold it in your hands, or feel the texture with your fingers. All you have is the photographs and description.

Nowadays you don’t need expensive camera equipment to take photographs of your products, modern smart phones will do the job nicely. But a smart phone is not going to correct poorly arranged or misleading images.

Things to avoid:

Be careful of taking photographs of 2D artworks that reflect light. Prints wrapped in cellophane, glass frames or heavily varnished paintings will reflect light and mirror objects. You might know what the lighter patch in the right-hand corner is, but the potential buyer won’t. The solution is to scan or photograph the product before it is wrapped, varnished, or put behind glass. If it is framed with a glass cover, remove the glass to take the photograph. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid some reflection with 3D objects, but this can be reduced by careful placement or arrangement. When photographing 3D objects take photos from different angles.

Another issue with light is getting the colours and contrast right. Most smart phones will have settings that will allow you to adjust. If the colours do not match the actual product, the whites are grey or beige, then adjust the settings or take the photograph under a more natural light, for example outdoors. Also avoid shadows falling across the image making areas darker than they really are.

Often the images will not look square or rectangular when taking the picture, this is something that should and can be rectified. Firstly, make sure that you straight on to the product. Either rest it against a wall, flat on the floor or hanging on a wall. Try to make it as straight as you possibly can within the phone or camera viewer. Some out of kilter may occur but this can be rectified with a suitable image app or even corrected on the phone or camera itself. Images that aren’t square or rectangular will invariably show parts of the background which is not part of the product. Unless the background is part of the product it should be removed by cropping the image. Again, this can usually be done with the smart phone or app.

This is in no way a complete guide to photographing your products. There are numerous guides on the internet which will help you, but we have highlighted here some of the more common problems and solutions.

Good photos will help you sell your work.

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