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Online Presentation

by Peta Tranquille

I have featured artists from Victoria on Instagram for more than three years. With thousands of images to view per day, I now only visit those using the #mavacollective hashtag. Something I see regularly is artists posting artwork in situ. While this can look professional and shows your followers how your work looks on a wall, in use or on display, it can present some problems.

I thought it would be great to share my thoughts on posting your work in situ to address those issues.


Whether you use an app or take photos of your work in situ, I often see a few things that are easy to change. If you are looking to show off your artwork or what you have made, make sure it is the main feature of the images you post. There are some great apps with brilliant pictures of rooms, but you are not selling the furniture or editing a home magazine spread. I often see beautiful images of living rooms, hallway furniture, or models, but most of the time, the object you created takes up less than 20% of the overall image. Make your creations the most prominent feature, and a general rule of thumb is to make the artwork at least 40% of the image you post. The furniture, the model or the surrounding street should not be the main feature. Also, try not to use busy backgrounds and instead choose something that doesn’t detract from the subject of your post.

The artwork is almost lost in the overall image.

The artwork is much more prominent in this image.


When was the last time you bought something online only to find it was not exactly what you expected? It is crucial that your photos genuinely represent how your creations look in the age of online buying. Although we are not all professional photographers nor have expensive photographic equipment, it is still possible to take a good quality picture for social media. Screen resolution is only 150 dpi (dots per inch), so it doesn’t have to be 10 MB in size and thousands of dpi in quality. Any basic smartphone or digital camera can capture a photo that presents well on social media. The biggest suggestion is to take so many pictures that there will always be one that is good enough.


I expect some of you are thinking, “I don’t have good lighting equipment”, but the sun is free and is available most days. And if you are concerned about the cloudy days, don’t be. An overcast day is the optimum lighting for taking photos of many creations. The most important thing to do is find an open area where you can either hang your artwork or place it on a table or on the ground. If you are arranging or setting up on the ground, or floor, ensure it is level. If your subject matter is 3D, be very mindful of the background by keeping it free from clutter and anything to distract viewers from your creation. If you are creating 3D works, make sure the lighting helps to highlight shapes and forms. Turn the object and take lots of photos from different angles.


Have you ever bought clothing online, only to realise when it arrives in the mail that it is not the colour you thought it was? If you are taking photos of your artwork for social media, check the photo against the artwork or creation. Take a photo and then place the phone next to your creation to check if the colours are the same or very similar. If they are, your photo will accurately represent how it looks in real life. If it isn’t the same or similar, keep adjusting the lighting or position of your artwork until you can capture an image with the same colours. Remember the photo is not necessarily for printing but instead used online, and unless it closely represents your artwork, you may have an issue if someone buys it. If your posted image is the same colours as your artwork, prospective buyers will know exactly what they are buying.


When you buy anything online, you want to see as many images of it as possible. I’m not going to buy shoes or jewellery unless I can see several views and close-ups. Additional perspectives and images showing details can be essential to show your followers. Social media apps allow you to upload several photos, giving your followers a reason to stop and check out some details or how it looks from above or from the side. Of course, it depends on what type of artwork or creations you make, and you will have to determine what is most relevant to you.

Give some thought to your next post and take note of how you can improve the way you present your artwork online. While it is totally up to you what you post, I hope you will think about these suggestions and make some adjustments, where necessary.


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