Buying Photography Prints Online vs A Gallery

If you are considering refining your home with a fine art landscape or nature photography print, this guide will explain the many advantages of buying online instead of through a gallery.

Until recently, purchasing a quality fine art nature photography print for your home often necessitated travelling to a major city or tourist destination to visit a physical brick-and-mortar gallery. Although the gallery experience can be enjoyable, it is certainly not the only avenue to acquiring fine art.

It stands to reason that with rent, overhead, and sales staff to pay, operating a gallery in a large city can be very expensive. And unfortunately, those costs are always passed on to the customer with inflated prices that may go beyond the upper range of your comfort zone, leaving the art feeling unattainable.

An aerial view of the Las Vegas strip at sunset.

This is certainly not to say that an expertly crafted fine art print isn't worth the money, or that the physical shopping experience is not enjoyable for some. But for most, the lavish price tags and overzealous sales personnel are enough to leave many folks feeling overwhelmed and looking for an alternative.

The good news? There is a better way to shop for fine art photography prints with no pressure and far more convenience, all while saving money at the same time.

Enter Online Shopping

Before the popularity of the internet, purchasing luxury items in a gallery seemed like a practice reserved for the wealthy. But the larger majority of customers who enjoy visiting galleries to see artwork in person are often put off by the high prices or pressure tactics by pushy sales staff.

Today, it is a breath of fresh air to know the internet has levelled the playing field for the high-end shopping experience. It is no longer necessary to travel to a fine art photography gallery to purchase a beautiful print for your home.

People enjoying shopping online with their personal computers.

Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce, is a term that simply refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet. These days almost every type of business, including the luxury industry has begun to offer their goods online, offering accessibility to customers all over the world.

Shoppers who have traditionally enjoyed the gallery experience with attentive sales staff may hesitate to shop online because they believe that the customer service will not be there. But in reality, the opposite is often true.

Online, you will be connecting directly with the photographer resulting in a personal experience with assistance in comparisons and product finishes, all the way through to delivery to your home. Most buyers enjoy the personal connection with the artist before making the decision to invest in a piece from their collection.

The New Normal

As online shopping has already seen a surge in recent years, there is no doubt that the fallout from the pandemic has fueled massive growth in ecommerce sales on a global scale.

For comparison, consider that in 2019 online purchases accounted for approximately 14% of retail sales around the world. That number has climbed to almost 21% in 2023, and projected to rise to 24% by 2026.

A man looks at the Dean McLeod Photography website on his home computer screen.

If you have ever shopped online, you are well aware of how easy and convenient it is. The online store never closes and is available everyday of the year, ready to go when your personal schedule allows the time.

Comparing art pieces in a gallery or retail setting can drain a lot of time and energy, while online shopping is arguably a more complete experience with a number of benefits.

Convenience And Savings

Convenience is the foundation of ecommerce and is the main reason that online shopping has intensified over the last few years. Shopping for fine art prints online offers the advantage of making purchases when it suits your own schedule, without having to leave the comfort of your home.

People shopping online with laptop computers.

You have the freedom to navigate the website of your favourite artist in your own time to familiarize yourself with their work, products, and philosophies. You can revisit a website as many times as you need to educate yourself and feel more confident when you are ready to make a purchase.

And remember that artists who sell their work directly through their websites do not have the expensive overhead of a gallery. In almost every case, you can save a substantial amount of money by purchasing online because the artist is able to pass these savings on to you.

No Pressure

There is no doubt that visiting a gallery can be enjoyable to view fine art in person. But there is often an underlying feeling of tension stepping into a store, knowing that a salesperson will eventually be approaching you to make a sale.

You may not be ready to purchase yet, preferring to do your own research and comparisons without feeling pressure to buy immediately.

A woman looks at the Dean McLeod Photography website on her home computer while drinking coffee.

That is another great benefit of shopping online. There will never be a lingering salesperson, which actually increases the quality of your experience because you never feel obligated.

Research and polls have shown that shopping through the photographer's website offers a more comprehensive and fulfilling experience. With no pressure to purchase on the spot, you can take all the time you need to view the artist's work and study their product offerings.

Easy Comparison

As everyone has different tastes, there are usually multiple print styles or 'mediums' to choose from. A comprehensive website will show you the differences between print mediums so that you can compare the styles and finishes to make better informed choices depending on your needs.

Personal mockups are also a valuable tool where you can visualize a favourite photograph on your own wall before you purchase, giving you a higher level of confidence in your investment.

A man compares a potential art purchase by viewing photographs on dual computer monitors.

Simply sending a cell phone picture of your wall to the photographer allows them to create a 'mockup' so you can see a fine art print on your wall, to scale, which is especially helpful in helping you choose the right photograph and size that will meet your wishes.

Your budget is also an important consideration when investing in fine art, and one of the most valuable benefits of shopping online is the ability to quickly compare available sizing and prices with ease and efficiency.

Big Screen vs Cell Phone

The advent of the smartphone has been one of the most amazing technological advances of our time. Sending and receiving calls and messages, using maps, or surfing the internet is all at your fingertips in a device that fits in your pocket.

People squint to read small print on their cell phones.

But while even the best online store or website is optimized to look good on a smart phone, a larger laptop or desktop screen is better suited for viewing fine art photography, giving you a better experience.

A woman compares a color palette against an image of a colorful maple tree on a computer screen.

Even a website that is highly optimized for the cell phone platform will look completely different and be more difficult to navigate on a tiny screen.

There is nothing like being able to view a breathtaking photograph on a larger screen where you can see all of the color and detail that make it so amazing.

So when it comes to shopping online for fine art photography prints, turn on your computer and see it on the big screen!

Home Delivery

To complete the experience, one of the biggest advantages of online shopping is the convenience of product delivery directly to your home. Gone are the days of having to borrow a friend's truck to get your print home safely from a gallery.

A delivery van with a caption reading 'fine art delivered to your home', Dean McLeod Photography.

Fine art photography prints are custom crated, fully insured, and delivered to your door with reputable shippers. You are given a tracking number once the print is crated, allowing you to observe its status as it is shipped to your home.

Shopping Safely

You may have noticed that the vast majority of modern website addresses start with the letters 'https://' which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. This is the newest standard for the internet which is encrypted, allowing safe data transfer between your web browser and a website.

Many years ago, the internet standard was 'http://', which was not as secure. HTTPS was created in 1994 and was originally intended for passwords, payments, and other sensitive data, but after many years, the entire web is now making it standard protocol to ensure security.

A woman shops safely online by only using websites that begin with the prefix 'https'.

When you are browsing a website on the internet, note that a 'closed padlock' symbol should also be present in the address bar next to the website address. This ensures that you are browsing on a secure website.

Older style websites with only an 'http://' in the address bar are usually flagged by your internet browser and labeled as 'Not Secure'. It is not recommended to send any sensitive information to such a website.

So for peace of mind, remember that when you send personal information or credit card numbers over an HTTPS connection, no one can eavesdrop on it in transit. HTTPS is what makes secure online shopping safe.

In Summary

It is clear that ecommerce purchases are becoming a larger part of retail sales year after year. Fine art collectors who traditionally shopped in galleries have now discovered the simplicity of connecting with artists and purchasing beautiful art pieces online.

The tides have turned and reaching out to a photographer through their website is easy, saving you time and giving you the ultimate convenience of collecting from the comfort of your own home.

A large photographic print of Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park hangs over a fireplace in a modern living room.

You can take all the time you need to browse and compare with no pressure or feelings of obligation, with delivery straight to your door.

It is fun and simple to establish a connection and build a relationship with an artist whose work you enjoy, giving you a higher quality experience all while saving money.

So if you are searching for an original gallery-quality print to add beauty to your home, remember the convenience and savings of shopping online. Why not let your fingers do the walking?

Gift wrapped box with text beside that reads This is how I thank new customers.
Simply click above to save 10% on your first print purchase.

Portrait of Canadian landscape photographer Dean McLeod.
Dean McLeod Photography fine art logo.