A HUNTER photographer says his decision to invest in augmented reality technology that allows people to virtually “place” art on their walls before buying has paid off in spades.
Late last year John Lechner, who has three photography-based businesses in the Hunter, implemented the new technology which he believes will transform the way art is sold.
Lechner became aware of so called Augmented Reality (AR), which allows art collectors to preview art on their walls at home or work in real time via a mobile phone, about six months ago. At the time, the technology and hardware cost up to $20,000 and he balked at the cost.
“But I could see an application, because for me the biggest issues is when a client says ‘Hey, I like a picture bot I’m not sure how big or in what format,” he says. In this case, Lechner offered to see the client, often meaning long travel times, and measure their walls before doing a mockup of the potential artwork to be sold.
“It was labour intensive and expensive,” he says.
In late 2018 Lechner discovered US-based Art Storefronts and invested in a platform designed for artists and photographers to sell online.
He has added it to his web platform and the technology gives clients the power to change the format from paper to canvas, glass or metal prints and adjust the picture sizes to find the perfect measurement for their walls.
Lechner invested about $5000 to bring it into his business and says that to his knowledge there are a handful of artists in Australia that use the technology.
“It has paid for itself, you an integrate it easily, it’s simple to use and it tells you what to do as you go,’ he says.
“It makes it easier to sell more art, but for the customer it makes it easier for them to visualise how my art is going to look on their wall in the right size and format. The big deal is the size on their walls, people struggle with that, they don't know what size to do it.”
Lechner said he’s used the technology in his own home after mocking up a print to find it wasn’t big enough.
“You need to scale it to see if it’s the right size, otherwise you look a picture on a wall that is not big enough and it looks ridiculous,” he says. “You want the art to finish the space and if something is wrong it doesn’t look right, you can also have something too big.”
Lechner, who specialises in nature photography, has tripled sales using the technology in the past six months after six years of hard work diversifying his businesses (John Lechner Art, The Office Start Specialists and Adventure Photography).
“Diversification is the biggest change in the business, so everything feeds off each other,” he says.