Art is a discretionary purchase. Only after collectors have paid necessities such as the mortgage, tuition fees and food bills will they consider spending money on art, travel and other luxury goods. Your artworks are not just competing with the art of other artists, they are competing with the latest Louis Vuitton bag, a weekend trip to Paris or a week at Canyon Ranch. In other words, badly-lit and crudely-cropped snapshots just won’t do.
Auction houses and galleries spend a lot of money on photography because they know that a beautiful image is a powerful sales tool. Objects simply look better when they are photographed against a neutral background or when they are shot in a well-lit interior (or exterior, for that matter). It makes sense to present your art in the best possible way, particularly online, where the collector does not have an immediate opportunity to see the work in person. Additionally, not only does great photography help to sell the work but it will also make your studio operation look more professional.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can hire a professional photographer to shoot your works before they leave the studio. Perhaps your gallery can assist you with this: they probably will have a photographer on staff or work with a freelancer. If you can’t afford this and you are a competent photographer, you can probably do it yourself with some lights and a neutral background (white or grey). Leave enough space around the object so that you can crop the image where necessary (i.e. for social media).
Try to obtain photographs of your works in private collections, if you did not have a chance to photograph the work when it was installed. Having a high-quality photograph of your art in a client’s home is a great marketing tool but also helpful for your archives: in the end, this is part of your legacy. Make sure to ask your client’s permission before publishing photographs of their home.