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Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

Why Your Work May Not Be Selling - By Mike Savad

Why your work may not be selling - by Mike Savad
By Mike Savad
9-1-13

Sometimes no matter how good you think you are, even if you are great at making art, you find you can never attract people over to your work. This article isn't about advertising, it's about how you present your work viewed as a very small size.

Very small size? You might be thinking that it makes little difference how small something is, because you want people to buy the large version. But in order for the larger version to be seen by others, you'll need an attractive thumbnail.

It's said, that a customer has about 3 seconds of attention to process something before moving on. So in order to get them to see more of your work, you'll want things that will catch their eye. To do that you need to set something up that has good contrasts, color and a shape people can quickly understand in just a quick glance. When setting up for an art show, you want the brightest, most colorful works, that has the simplest of themes to be in the very front of the booth. These images pull the viewer in so they can see the rest. But you should have at least one or two eye catchers, the rest can be whatever it is you normally sell. This is how a store front window works by the way. Bright colorful things to attract the eyes to your store.

However in the online world, people have an even shorter attention span and it's made even harder because there is more competition.

So what does this mean to you?

In order to present yourself well you need a great picture, but it has to look good small as well. Complicated images (like a general store for example), will merge into a bunch of meaningless shapes, abstracts will look like a stain on paper when viewed as a tiny image.

If the image doesn't look interesting people won't click on it. This means you need simple shapes, bright colors, interesting contrasts. But it shouldn't be too colorful either because you only have seconds of attention and you want to keep it simple. A bright orange sunset, with a life guard tower contrasting against the sky will bring people in. A field of wild flowers, probably won't because there won't be enough contrast or color for the small image to look interesting.

You can view your small version after you save it and view it in windows or use the navigator in Photoshop. You can also see it here online in your store in the selling options. How easy is your image to recognize when it's only a 1/2” across? Can you add something to it, to make it more interesting? Like change the color of a flower just so it stands out better?

So lets try something.

Sell Art Online

This is the standard size that Fine Art shows it's pictures in. If thumbnails were this large all over the net most people would be good. However it might be really tiny due to the device they are using. Let's simulate it:

Sell Art Online

I shrunk this about 4 times smaller. This size is about the size most phones will look like (if not smaller), before they zoom up on it. This image shows up well because of the contrasting shapes, you can kind of see what it is before you click on it. A buyer might be interested in it if it also has a nice title to go with it, in this case it's called: Machine shop circa 1900's. People are more apt to click on it if they have a reason to do so.

This is also an important note – another reason you want great interesting or descriptive titles. If the thumb nail is weak (they aren’t always going to stand out), then you'll want your interesting title to be the seller for that work.

Photography Prints
Here's another one, it has interesting or unusual shapes, people may want to click on it.

Sell Art Online

Sell Art Online
My octopus image was made too dark, and I used purple and blue. When the image becomes smaller, you can see really very little of the image. On uncalibrated screens, that could look solid blue to some people. It's better large, but it's still dark. It doesn't thumbnail well.

Photography Prints
Here's another one, while up close there is a lot of detail, as a stamp sized image, most of that is lost and it almost looks like a solid color. On a normal day most people will skip past this image.


This is a block of my images some do well, and some don't do well.

Photography Prints Art Prints Photography Prints Photography Prints Art Prints Art Prints Photography Prints Sell Art Online

Selling aside, just on the instinct to click on an image, which of these would you most likely to click on and when you made you choices, ask yourself why you clicked on those and not the other one?

Selling art is about visual appeal. However paying attention to small things like this can often help you in the long run. I've often gone back and increased the brightness in a piece because I noticed my thumbnail was not that punchy.


---Mike Savad

Reply Order

Post Reply
 

Roy Erickson

6 Years Ago

Mike - my work is NOT selling because no one wants to buy it - and that is perhaps the ONLY reason.

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

it might be the reason.


---Mike Savad

 

Theresa Tahara

6 Years Ago

@ Roy. You have lots of images that I think should be selling. For some reason people just aren't finding them.
@ Mike, thanks. I changed some of my gallery logo images.

 

Mo T

6 Years Ago

Oh well finally someone who put in words why I do prob too bright things LOL

Seriously Mike...You're simply the Best adviser around...Thank You :)

 

Franziskus Pfleghart

6 Years Ago

If Sean is all my works on the first pages I sell definitely more. images that can be found on page 53, etc. are not purchased. as simple as that. greet Franziskus

Photography Prints

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

this is often how i choose what to edit next. since all my thumbs are kind of small in my browser, the ones i'm attracted too are usually the ones that are simple to look at.


---Mike Savad

 

JG Thompson

6 Years Ago

Thanks Mike,

I continue to find your comments thought provoking and a big help to the newbie like myself wishing to work at the selling side of our art. :-)

JG

 

Christina Rollo

6 Years Ago

Good tips! When displaying my work I try to provide a mix of colors in a rainbow if possible red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. The subject in my left image usually points right and the subject in my right image usually points left. It looks interesting and feels balanced to me.

Sell Art OnlineArt PrintsSell Art OnlineArt PrintsSell Art OnlineSell Art OnlineSell Art Online

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

even if your on the front page that doesn't mean you'll be seen. if people are looking up orange abstracts, will yours be eye catching enough to lead people to your work?


---Mike Savad

 

Mo T

6 Years Ago

And there's this thing..."poczta pantoflowa"...now thinking for the right word in english..."bush telegraph" or something...when someone saw Your work on their friend's wall and asked "where did You get it"...I know it helped me a few times...as for the front page...prob never get there so I don't cogitate about it or wonder how it would increase my sales...

 

Janice Drew

6 Years Ago

Mike, your advice is always invaluable. Thank you for taking the time to help us out.

 

Marilyn Wilson

6 Years Ago

Thank you.

 

Jan Bickerton

6 Years Ago

Another of your thought provoking posts, thank you Mike!

 

J L Meadows

6 Years Ago

I think my thumbnails all look pretty good, Mike. But I'd appreciate your point of view on them.

 

Jim Hughes

6 Years Ago

Very true, based on my microstock experience. Real estate agents talk about "curb appeal". In microstock you need "thumb appeal". That's true here too, maybe not to the same degree, but defrinitely a big factor. Unfortunately the small images we're now used to seeing, and the smaller screens that are taking over, mean that lots of great photos and art just won't sell on the internet.

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

@jl as a tiny micro thumb, the blimp stands out best as a recognizable item. and the rest turn into some kind of shape. for painters i think they have something called a reducing glass you can use to see what it looks like smaller. it might be a reason it's overlooked, it's hard to tell. if you go by that and look at pinterest, you have 8 on the blimp and the one next to it, only 1.


i have a number of grand canyon shots. mine are typical vacation angles, i don't expect them to sell. but they don't thumbnail well since it's just a lot of brown. not much i can do about that though. this is why you'll often see one really bright color or dominate shape in a scene. like a lady at the beach with a bright red towel against a blue sky. or a bright yellow flower with the same set up.


---Mike Savad

 

Christina McConkey

6 Years Ago

Thank you! A lot of good points were brought up. I'm off to look at my thumbnails. :)

 

Mary Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Not to be too jovial maybe we all should sell thumbprints! Altered of course! LOL Good advice, Mike and thanks for all your input. Loved your & thumbnails, Christina.

 

Robert Kernodle

6 Years Ago

My work is not selling because a zillion other artists are selling their work, and the people who are likely to buy MY work most likely will find one of those other zillion artists BEFORE they find ME. Only so many people can play this game, and the sheer numbers, ruled by the math of chance singles out the occasional sellers.

People do not need my art. They have too much crap hanging on their walls already. They would rather spend their dollars on cigarettes, or lottery tickets, or fast food, or beer.

Art is not a consumable in the respect that these other things are.

My most recent sale was a Christian greeting card, and the funny thing is ... I don't even claim to be Christian - I simply made a line of pretty cards, to attract people who are. And this sheer mechanical calculation of creating something beautiful and Christian got me my first sale here.

My selling my art, thus, certainly has little to do with my most favored reasons for doing art, and even less to do with the appeal of a small image, I would suspect, although I think making pretty images at any size is a safer bet than making images that have deep personal meaning.

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

yeah but robert - those other people don't matter, the people buying your work doesn't want mine. it's like saying - my banana splits aren't going to sell because there are a zillion other bakeshops and such. but the reality is, if someone likes it the way you do it, and they see it, they may get it. but in this case it's all about standing out, does your work sell itself even when it's tiny.

you don't have to be of a certain religion to sell stuff like that. now that you have an angle. try more - that might be a demographic that matches your kind of art.


---Mike Savad

 

Peggy Collins

6 Years Ago

Interesting and thought-provoking post, Mike. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a few questions...

You can view your small version after you save it and view it in windows or use the navigator in Photoshop. You can also see it here online in your store in the selling options.

Where exactly can we find thumbs in our store's selling options? I can't see it.

In your examples above, I would click on your third thumb from the left first, then your second from the right. That would be because I'm attracted to the bright yellow and the red circles. It's something I never thought about too much before, and quite interesting. But I have a question...we make whatever art we happen to make, so how can we really do anything about how they look as thumbnails? O.K., you say to brighten up a piece maybe, and I agree, that could help, but we can't really change the essential nature of a work. Some images may just be more appealing when they're quickly scanned by a public whose attention span gets shorter and shorter.

I have another question: which is better, to have a title that would be interesting for an actual human to read, or a title with words that would be easily searched by people and search engines? For example, what would a search engine make of "Enteroctopus"?

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to do this.

 

Benjamin Yeager

6 Years Ago

How are you making the rows of very small images?

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

i use XNview to see my stuff, but you can also set windows and probably mac to show it as thumbnails as different sizes. in the store where the prices are (canvas, etc), that image right there, the really tiny one.

not all images thumbnail well. and for some images you can remove the clutter by cloning things out. if you have a choice to edit something - say it's a beach scene, and you have a choice of 3 images that have umbrella's in it. 1 is a bright red thing, 2 has something blue against a blue sky, 3 has 3 yellow across a blue sky. i would edit the first and second ones, because i know they have an eye catching center and should thumbnail well.

i know that if i have a large body of blue water, and have a blue sky or a cloudy one. and have a small sailboat in the center - that as a thumb i will only see either a blue box or a striped of two colors, the boat would be lost. so either i need to get closer to the boat or find a balance of lighting that would make it more interesting.

for the images that don't thumb well, that's where a fun title comes in.



the Enteroctopus is actually a real octopus, i researched looking for a name for the biggest one they make and that's the one. since it's a fantasy piece i kept it fancy. it would be boring to call it robot octopus. if it really was that type of thing, then fans of octopi would be looking for that name anyway. or so goes the theory anyway.


---Mike Savad

 

Mike Savad

6 Years Ago

the rows are automatic. when i enter my pix i always do it in a block of 3 or 6 and don't push enter, just a space. pushing enter puts them all on one line on it's own, so people have to scroll like a mile to see all the work. because these are so small, they just line up nice.


---Mike Savad

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This is a very popular discussion with 372 responses.   In order to help the page load faster and allow you to quickly read the most recent posts, we're only showing you the oldest 25 posts and the newest 25 posts.   Everything in the middle has been skipped.   Want to read the entire discussion?   No problem: click here.

 

Robert Kernodle

6 Years Ago

Mike S.,

I get your point, but I do not believe that people are so patient that they will forgo a simple need to buy art, ONLY until they find the "way I do it". They are likely to find somebody else BEFORE me that they like equally as well. Again, sheer numbers dictate that this is the most likely scenario.

A banana split is a banana split. Only an idiot could mess it up. Many people can make them equally deliciously.

Maybe I should start doing still life paintings of banana splits, and sign them with pictures of a cute puppies (^_^). Add Kinkade-like lighting effects. Oh, and add cute babies with chocolate-fudge covered mouths and hands. So adorable!

QUESTION: Does a a photo of an extra LARGE banana split still look striking as a SMALL thumbnail?

 

David Tunison

1 Year Ago

I can't imagine buying art from a phone, but I guess it happens.

 

Mike Savad

1 Year Ago

i'd say 60% or more of my customer at least view the site with a phone or tablet. i assume most of them buy with it as well.


---Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Mike Savad

1 Year Ago

bump

---Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Gales Of November

1 Year Ago

I see your marketing thread is closed. Just wanted to say that I'm going through your threads on sales, Mike. Thank you for the time you've put in.

 

Mike Savad

1 Year Ago

i asked abbie to open it. i forgot to do bumping maintenance, must have missed the window.


---Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Paul Kerton

1 Year Ago

Once again, thanks for some fantastic pointers Mike.

Great thread.

 

Tiffany Travalent

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the pointers. I am new here and just uploaded several of my photographs from Italy. I am sure there are hundreds of those, however I dont see my photos at all anywhere except when I type in my name. It's a little daunting. Thanks again!

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/trevi-fountain-fontana-di-trevi-tiffany-travalent.html

 

Jayson Tuntland

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the quality information Mike. Just getting started. Have a bit more art to upload, and tag. I think I am on day 4. After an enormous amount of reading on the subject here and other places, the task of finding buyers looks daunting to say the least. I suppose it is every artist's internal struggle, but I can't help but wonder if it is worth it. Is there any money to be made, even completely aside from the money involved in creating the art? If I am going to be here, I am here to play, not sit on the sidelines. Any input for someone new to FAA would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Jayson

 

R C Rawxe Clemens

1 Year Ago

thanks Mike...just what I needed to know right about now!

 

Mike Koenig

1 Year Ago

I love how for any keyword 1 guy or gal shows up 70 out of 80 times. Even if they keyword has nothing to do with the guys work he/she shows up. I'm not sure why people put emphasis on keywords at all. It has a lot more to do with something else.

 

Joseph S Giacalone

1 Year Ago

just want to say thanks to you and others on FAA that share and offer help...

 

Mike Savad

11 Months Ago

bump to prevent closing


---Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Mike Savad

9 Months Ago

bumping this before it locks.


----Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Mike Savad

7 Months Ago

monthly maintenance bump

----Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Thomas Schaller

7 Months Ago

is there a way to recenter the square cropped thumbnails somewhere else on my 3x2 format images? most of the time the site does a pretty good job picking out the important bits. sometimes not.

i apologize if i missed this above

 

Mike Savad

7 Months Ago

thumbs? no. your stuck with whatever weird crop they give you. on a product you can slide it back and forth. i think its been a complaint for a while now. that there really should be a way to do that.


----Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Damir Martic

6 Months Ago

Mike can you give me some advice on my work, do i need to change something i know i don’t have inafe work and when i feel better i will create much more, but sometimes i feel like the theme i like to do is not something that will sell. So if you have a free time can you look at my gallery and if you want say what i need to change, thank you for your help.

 

Mike Savad

6 Months Ago

chances are if you like something. so will someone else.

Sell Art Online
they all certainly have a theme. i find them a bit dark in tone and a bit red in tint. you need better descriptions. tell us more about the child. get people to feel whatever it is you were feeling when you made it.

i would also choose different faces, its the same face on all the images, the repetition to me almost makes it look like you have a love interest and painted him up in a number of ways. maybe if you can use the same theme but also add females or at least other faces it would be good. unless this is an on going story about this guy then in which case you need better descriptions.

you'll want someone to do some spell checking in your bio, i see misspelled words. i think the bio should reflect what themes you like to make, rather than your self taught and you like doing it.

right now i only see the one theme. you may want to try other genre's, and be sure to put them all in the galleries.


----Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Damir Martic

6 Months Ago

Thank you so much dear Mike for your time, yes i was think about new theme to explore not just fantasy and spiritual. About colors, i know there are big problems but i don’t see all colors i have to juse some programs to help me because i dont see all colors. Magical flowers was renamed because of copyright it was Little prince but i had to change the name on redbubble becuase i got mail for copyrights, i will tray to juse google translet so my english and spelling is better. I will do what you sad and tray to paint more female faces to. Thank you for your time and help.

 

Damir Martic

6 Months Ago

Thank you so much dear Mike for your time, yes i was think about new theme to explore not just fantasy and spiritual. About colors, i know there are big problems but i don’t see all colors i have to juse some programs to help me because i dont see all colors. Magical flowers was renamed because of copyright it was Little prince but i had to change the name on redbubble becuase i got mail for copyrights, i will tray to juse google translet so my english and spelling is better. I will do what you sad and tray to paint more female faces to. Thank you for your time and help.

 

Mike Savad

6 Months Ago

or at least a variation of different guy's faces and or body types. this way your selling to sci-fi people of either sender.


----Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Michalakis Ppalis

6 Months Ago

Thank you mike for the information. I am not selling anything but I think I have an issue with marketing and promoting my work. I am trying to do my best via various SM but I believe that more work needs to be done.

 

Carel Schmidlkofer

6 Months Ago

"Selling" requires action, not just posting artwork on social media and art sites. Artwork rarely "sells" itself. That requires marketing, or "effort."

 

Mike Savad

3 Months Ago

bumping


----Mike Savad
http://www.MikeSavad.com

 

Chante Moody

2 Months Ago

Mike, thank you for all the advice you give in your posts. You're a sweetheart.

 

Edward Fielding

2 Months Ago

Don't wait to be found. Go out and be seen.

Selling art has never been easy and certainly doesn't happen without self-promotion.

Create a product line, a brand and a marketing plan and find your audience.

 

Mike Savad

13 Days Ago

bump

 

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