Anatomy of a Sale | How We Used Photoshop to Make a $5,000 Art Sale
November 5, 2022
How many times have you heard this: “I like this painting, but the size won’t work for my space”?
I’m sure I’ve heard the phrase hundreds, if not thousands, of times throughout my career in the gallery business. As much as we wish people would buy the art they love and find a space for it, there are times when space is a key consideration for the client.
I had just such a case with collectors recently. The couple was given a gift certificate to the gallery (which is a great idea I’ll touch upon in a future post) and came in mid-January to spend it. They ended up buying several pieces, but while they were in the gallery they saw one of my father’s desert landscape paintings and fell in love with it. The only problem? The space where they would place the piece was far too large for the painting’s 20″ x 60″ dimensions. They tried to think of other locations where they could place the painting, but decided they didn’t have another location for it. They decided, instead, to wait and see if something larger would come along for the space.
When I was out at their home helping install the work they had purchased, I saw the wall that was, in their minds, the perfect spot for a desert landscape. I asked if it would be alright if I took a picture of the wall so that I could show it to the artist. I snapped some quick shots with my camera phone.
When I got back to the gallery I went to work with the photos I had taken. I was determined that one of my father’s paintings would hang on that wall, and sooner rather than later.
The first thing we needed to determine was what the right size would be for the space. Using Photoshop, I took the space and superimposed the smaller painting on top of the image, scaling it to several different sizes on the wall so that we could get an idea of how it would look. I created a variety of sizes and proportions to find out which looked best in the space. When I was finished, I emailed them to my father to make sure he was comfortable with all of the proposed sizes (no point in showing them an image if the artist wouldn’t be able to create the piece).
Scaling the images would have been easier if I had been wise enough to put a tape measure in the image. I didn’t. Instead I had to get a rough scale off something in the image. I was able to use the floor tiles because I could tell they were 18″ tiles. In Photoshop I measured the tiles using the measure tool, and then took that measurement and divided it into 18 to get my scale. From there it was easy to create a variety of painting sizes from the scale. They weren’t perfectly to scale, but close enough for the clients to get an idea of how the art would look. In the images below, you will notice I also added a drop shadow to the images to make the artwork feel more real.
I emailed the images off to the clients, who were now back home in Canada (their Scottsdale home is a vacation home) and asked which size they most liked. Here is the email I sent:
This took a little longer than I anticipated, but I am sending the promised concept images for the John Horejs sunset painting for your living room. I am including four image showing different sizes. These are not to exact scale, but they are very close and should give you an idea of the possibilities. We used the image of the painting you liked in the gallery and modified it to the proportion of the example sizes. John would work with you to get just the right imagery.
These are just preliminary concepts and can be refined to fit your exact need for the space.
Let me know what you think!
In response to the email, I received this:
Thank you Jason! I really appreciate it – we left that day on a trip to the Galapagos and have just returned … so I hadn’t looked at the images.
I will look at these with K and then provide feedback. Personally, I like images best that are wider horizontally – and not so tall (but I think the 20” may be slightly too short because of the high ceilings). Any thoughts?
To which I replied:
Thanks D, I agree that the 20″ size (which is the size of the one we have in the gallery now) is probably too small. The next size up, the 30″ x 72″ would create the same effect, but would fill more of the space and could look great there.
I didn’t take measurements while I was there. I wonder if I could bring the artist out for him to see the space and take exact measurements? Are you currently in town?
We are not there again until mid March – but will have a house-load of company during that visit. Perhaps we could find some time to meet then – or at our next visit during the Easter break?
Now, a quandary. If I followed her suggestion and waited until April to meet with them again, there was a very real possibility that their interest in the piece would cool. I avoid letting too much time pass when trying to make a sale. So, I talked to my father and asked if he would go ahead and create a 30″ x 72″ sunset on spec, with the hope that it would be perfect for them. He was willing to create the piece because the subject matter and size were saleable even if this particular client didn’t end up buying it.
Once the piece was finished, I contacted the clients again asked if they might be able to see the piece while in Scottsdale in March. They said they would bring their guests along with them to see the art in the gallery. When they saw the piece in the gallery they knew they loved it but wanted to see it in the space before committing to purchase. We made arrangements to deliver the piece to their home in the few hours they would have between their guests leaving and their own departure flight.
When we first placed the piece on the wall, the wife worried that it might be too small (you’ll see that it’s actually a bit smaller on the wall than my photoshop rendition), but as she looked at it more and more she and her husband decided they loved it. I hung the piece while she wrote out the check.
These kind of sales require extra work and a little risk, but I’ve always found it to be worth the effort to go the extra mile for a client.
What Have You Done to Go the Extra Mile to Make a Sale?
Have you used Photoshop to help you make sales? What else have you done to provide extra service that has helped you make sales? Share your experiences or thought about this post in the comments below.
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