Do you want to make some extra cash with your photography? Try learning how to sell photography prints online!
You can even sell other decorative items and canvases depicting your photography work.
Here are some top websites to consider, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Fine Art America is one of the biggest and most well-known marketplaces to sell your prints online.
They allow you to create a profile. You can also sell more than prints and canvases, including pillows and smart phone cases.
They set a base price for each type of product and you decide on the mark-up for your commission.
The drawback to the site is that it is huge and there is a lot of competition.
There are more than 100,000 photographers selling through Fine Art America. Potential customers can browse through countless pictures.
This might make it seem less likely they’ll choose yours. You might think you’ll have more chances to sell on a site dedicated to your own photography.
This isn’t true. You definitely can sell your work through Fine Art America. You just need the right marketing tactics.
Fine Art America has algorithms that influence how images show up in a search. Using key words and also sharing through social media channels like Twitter and Pinterest will increase your reach.
When you do sell, it has an announcement page that you can also share with followers.
The best marketing tip is that you need to work to bring awareness to the products you’re offering. This means using social media or your own website to direct people to your Fine Art America page.
A great feature they offer is a widget. This will allow you to generate a code so customers can buy without leaving your site.
There are also many other sites like Fine Art America where you can sell your prints hassle-free:
The quality of printing on these sites is high. Like Fine Art America, many of them have been around for a long time. And they have great reviews from buyers and artists alike.
Etsy has established itself as one of the prime venues for artists and crafters of every kind. They sell their work through their own online store. This is attached to a comprehensive e-commerce platform and payment system.
The site has over 30 million buyers. It’s a well-known marketplace for art, high-quality photo prints, and handcrafted goods. It’s also a great search engine, which can attract potential sales and exposure.
Your other option would be setting up a website with a shopping cart and getting a merchant account. Keep in mind that this also charges processing fees.
Compared to this, Etsy in an affordable alternative.
It costs $0.20 per item to set up on an Etsy storefront, plus a 3.5% transaction fee. If a seller uses Etsy’s “Direct Checkout” feature, the charge is 3% per transaction.
You’ll be responsible for printing, packing, and shipping your prints through this option. You can do this through drop shipping.
Drop shipping means the printers send the prints straight to your customer. They do so on your behalf.
This way, you do not have to receive the prints from the printer and then ship them out yourself.
You can enquire about this service with a local printer, or check out an online resource.
Finerworks and Printhouse are a couple of examples of sites that do drop shipping.
How to Sell Photography Prints Through Your Own Website
There are plenty of platforms on which you can sell prints of your work.
But there are also a lot of benefits to selling photo prints through your own website.
You can set whatever price you choose and keep 100% of the profits.
You can set your own terms and conditions, and decide exactly how you want your images to be displayed.
This means you’re in complete control.
Potential buyers tend to take you more seriously when you have your own website. And you can build and maintain key relationships with your customers when you have an email list.
The downside is that you have to do your own marketing. But this can be the case with other methods of selling your photography prints, anyway.
If you decide to go this route, here are some options.
Many photographers swear by self-hosted WordPress sites. This is because of the powerful SEO they can provide. But they are not always easy to set up if you’re a computer novice.
With a plug-in like Envira, photographers can create unlimited galleries with CSS and a host of other options.
This range from e-commerce, to image proofing, to social sharing. It depends on the package you choose.
It has a Woo Commerce add-on so you can easily sell your photos.
The great thing about this plug-in is that you don’t need any coding skills. You can create and customize beautiful image galleries. All without the extra cost of having to hire a developer.
It also has been tested on sites with extremely high traffic. This is to ensure that it won’t have performance issues.
If you decide to use this plug-in on a WordPress site, you can rest assured that it won’t slow it down.
Squarespace is one of the most popular website platforms out there. It boasts a modern design and an easy-t0-use interface. And it’s compatible across all platforms and devices.
With vast audiences now browsing websites on their phones, this is crucial.
But the platform is not designed with the photographer in mind. You can’t specify multiple sizes for your prints. And photographs can’t be added in bulk. This can make dealing with large collections tedious.
You can sell both prints or downloadable files. But it does not offer third-party lab integration.
You can display your store, take orders and bill customers. But the onus is on you to work with a lab to fulfill an order. This is the same were you to sell prints on Etsy.
Word is that Squarespace is looking to add this integration in the future but it’s not available yet.
Using Squarespace with another store function like Gumroad is also an option. Especially if you want complete control over the printing process and shipping process.
Photoshelter is used by over 80,000 photographers. This is a platform designed specifically around photography.
This sets it apart from more general platforms like Squarespace.
It offers customizable designs that allow you to create stunning, professional-looking photography portfolio sites. Photoshelter also offers cloud storage, as well as client delivery and e-commerce tools.
These features make it a one-stop-shop for photographers.
You can sell stock photography through Photoshelter. And you can also sell prints through their auto-fulfillment service.
They have partnered with four labs in the U.S. and one in the U.K. for quick and easy hands-free sales.
You choose your lab and apply your prices to the images. Once an order comes in, the lab will handle the rest.
They also have a self-fulfillment option that gives you a bit more control. You can choose a local lab that you may prefer to work with or handle the printing and shipping yourself.
You can choose a participating lab in their Print Vendor Network or add a lab of your choice.
When an order comes through, you can have the order sent straight to the customer with a single click.
Photoshelter offers bulk pricing discounts through packages and a combination of both prints and downloads.
Because this is your own website, you are responsible for all your sales and marketing.
Visual Society allows artists and photographers to sell prints from their websites. And keep 90% of the profits.
Like Photoshelter, it has many advantages over a more generic platform like Squarespace.
Like Squarespace, it is fully-hosted and easy to install and set up. There are eight templates to choose from, each designed with photographers in mind.
Unlike Squarespace, this platform allows you to specify multiple print sizes. You can also add images in bulk.
And there’s an option to upload directly from Adobe Lightroom, which is a great bonus.
You can sell a membership plan to your visitors. This gives them password-protected, private galleries.
The print vendors used by Visual Society are the same as those used by industry leaders. They handle the printing and shipping for you.
Every time you make a sale on Visual Society, you receive payment into your Stripe account immediately. You can sell in a variety of currencies, which you can view on the FAQ section of their website.
Like other website builders, Zenfolio offers a variety of well-designed templates. There is no limit to the numbers of images you can upload. And you can create several photo galleries to share with clients.
It integrates with Google Analytics for actionable data. And it even comes with built-in support for blogging.
As with Photoshelter and Visual society, it allows you to integrate with custom print labs. This way, buyers can purchase prints or downloadable files.
You can also add customized offers such as photo books and stationary, and home decor items.
Zenfolio allows you to accept credit cards or Pay Pal for payment. It even helps you track your sales and profits and deposits your earnings into your bank account.
Smug Mug offers a wide range of e-commerce options. You can sell prints, gifts and digital downloads. They have a fully-hosted shopping cart and checkout.
You can customize price lists for your clients. And you can let them select their favourite images and bulk download.
When selling photo prints through Smug Mug, you keep 85% of the profits.
There is a plug-in available to use Lightroom with Smug Mug. You can also upload images from your smart phone or tablet via the official Smug Mug app.
There are those that say that Smug Mug is not as intuitive as some website builders. The templates are attractive but not very flexible.
There are blocks for video, social feeds, text and other features to make it more customizable.
My best advice for selling your photography prints online or to grow your photography business is to diversify. This applies whether you’re selling photography prints or stock.
Don’t rely on photography sites with one method or platform if you want to increase your visibility. If you want to be a professional photographer or to make decent money through your photography, learn how to sell photography prints through a variety of platforms.
Check out our recent article on creating diptych photography or using focus stacking for more inspiration for your images!
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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