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Selling Photos on Etsy (Secrets for Success 2023)

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Selling photos on Etsy is a great way to promote your work in a new marketplace and earn money at the same time. Many photographers use this as a way to earn extra money. Others treat it as a full-time job.

Either way, both groups approach Etsy a very specific way to succeed.

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Selling Photos on Etsy: What to Sell

There are many creative ways of selling photos on Etsy. You can choose one or a combination of the following options.

Physical Prints

People love hanging art on their walls or buying small prints of stunning landscapes. Prints are great gifts for friends and family as well. Best of all, they’re always in demand, regardless of time or season.

Selling physical prints comes with a lot of logistical and design-related challenges. Before you can sell prints in this form, you need to make sure the shipping fees aren’t overwhelming.

You can limit the countries you sell prints to. This will limit the number of buyers you have as well.

You also need to find a printing/framing company (or printer) that is trustworthy. They must create images in the best quality possible.

If you want to take this even further, try to have a lot of packaging options available. If you go the extra mile for your clients, you’ll impress them. And inspire them to visit your shop more often.

If you juggle these tasks well, you’ll be able to draw in a lot of clients without breaking the bank.

Digital Prints

If you don’t want to worry about logistics, you can sell digital versions of your pictures. Users will get a download link to your photo as soon as they buy it.

This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to earn money on Etsy. If your images are striking and are accompanied by the right keywords, your business will attract a lot of buyers.

Copyright rules are very important when it comes to digital files. Have a note in your description stating what users can and can’t do with your pictures.

In general, photographers allow printing and prohibit commercial use. You can let users know that you’re okay with commercial use if they credit your art or pay you an extra fee. It’s completely up to you.

Photography Resources and Textures

Some photographers trade images of different textures. Users can turn these into prints. Or use them in design or photography projects.

Resources are very popular. Like Lightroom presets, they can enhance a simple image. If you take sharp and appealing pictures of textures, you should give this option a shot.

You can sell presets or actions as well. These are to help photographers enhance their images.

A stunning photo of textures in nature

Photography Books

This is a fantastic option to showcase your work in one book. Again, you can trade this in the form of ebooks or real physical copies.

If you don’t want to create a simple photo book, you can write a guide accompanied by your pictures. Or you can create a book filled with behind-the-scenes pictures or creative stories.

Photo books may not have a demand as high as normal photography prints. But they’re a great option to show off your creativity and teach photographers something new.

A printed photo book on a wooden table

Come Up With a General Plan for Your Etsy Shop

Preparation is key for a successful Etsy shop. Especially if you are a new user. Even a very vague plan can help avoid unnecessary confusion.

Start with the basics, including your business name and at least 5 pictures. Think about the resources and services as well.

Think of your shop’s theme. How do you want potential buyers to feel when they visit your profile?

Treat your Etsy shop like an Instagram account. Come up with a creative bio and share your best work only.

If you want to be extra prepared, create a banner that represents your work. This can be a single photo with your name written on it. Or something more complicated such as a photo collage.

You can choose between a large cover photo (3360px by 840px) and a small banner (760px by 100px). You can create two versions to see which one appeals more to you.

A laptop, phone and notebook on a wooden table

Create an Account and Set Up Your Shop

Once you have an idea of what you’ll be selling on Etsy, you can confidently create a new account.

Creating an Etsy account is super easy and will only take you a few seconds. Once you’re ready, click on Sell on Etsy.

You’ll have the option to choose your currency, country, and language. You’ll also have to let Etsy know your plans for your store.

Do you plan to turn this into a full-time job? Or would you like to keep selling products part-time?

This information won’t affect your sales in any way. But it will make it easier for you to navigate the site.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of Etsy website homepage” />

Create a Catchy Name for Your Etsy Shop

Names play an important role on Etsy. A creative photography business name will make potential clients smile. It’ll inspire them to check out your other products.

Come up with a name that represents your creative values. This can be as simple as your own name. It can also be a creative blend of several words or a word taken from the dictionary.

Choose a name that symbolizes your products and is somehow related to photography.

Here are a few successful Etsy shop names that clearly and creatively describe what they’re selling:

  • CanvasVows
  • PrintsVilla
  • NovemberPrintableArt
  • MrOverlay

You can choose words like Photo, Studio, Art, and Prints at the end of your name. This will let everyone know that you’re a photography business.

A screenshot of how to name your shop to sell photos on etsy

Add Your First Listing to Make Your Shop Official

This is the most important part of your selling process. Here, you have to come up with products, titles, keywords, etc. This will determine how many people view your shop.

Every listing on Etsy costs $0.20 to create. Choose your products wisely. Make sure your photos are vibrant enough to stand out from other listings, even in thumbnail form.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of ADDING LISTINGS to sell photography on Etsy ” />

Upload Photos That Stand Out

You can upload a maximum of 10 photos per listing. Ensure that the resolution is very high.

If you’re selling digital prints, show potential clients what they could do with them. You can do this with free framing websites.

They will give users a preview of what your photos would look like in books, in frames, on T-shirts, and so on.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of uploading photos to sell on Etsy ” />

Write a Creative and Informative Description

In the description box, you’ll be able to introduce your product. Let users know what they’re allowed to do with it, and state other important information.

Write something that’s both informative and creative. Be friendly and bold. Give your words personality so that your descriptions stand out from the competition.

You can do this by writing about your photography background and why you want people to choose your photos. Or you can write about your company’s values and vision.

All of these things will make you seem more like a friend than a faceless company. Remember, your people visit a shop or online not only to buy things. But for the customer experience as well.

Also, describe your product in as much detail as possible. This allows search engines to attract the right kind of clients to your shop.

If you need an in-depth SEO and keyword guide, you can always check out Etsy’s search engine tips.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of writing a description to sell photos on Etsy ” />

Make Your Product Easier to Find

There’s a whole list of options that you can use to make your product description more detailed. It’s not necessary to fill them all out.

A few helpful ones are custom orders, adding detailed tags, and adding your product to a specific section in your shop.

The last option is ideal for you if you want to trade a variety of items, such as photography books, resources, and digital prints.

This will make it easier for clients to find what they need without getting distracted.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of using listings to sell photos on Etsy ” />

Set a Fair and Competitive Price to Attract Customers

Once all the details are out of the way, it’s time to set a price. And figure out how many products you want to sell.

Make sure the price covers all of your creative, printing, framing, and shipping costs while still being competitive. Check out other Etsy shops similar to yours to get a rough idea of what people are asking for.

If the prices are too low, you can always switch to selling products that demand fewer logistics. These can be digital prints or ebooks.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of inventory and pricing to sell photos on Etsy ” />

Choose an Easy Payment Method

Etsy offers a few payment methods: Etsy Payments, PayPal, cheque, and others.

Etsy Payments takes 3% + $0.25 for every transaction. As you can see in the screenshot above, it’s not available in every country.

For Paypal users, Etsy takes 5% per transaction.

Your buyers can also send you money using a cheque or another method.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of choosing payments to sell photos on Etsy ” />

Publish Your Listing and Spread the Word!

Once everything is ready, all that’s left to do is publish your listing. Set up a billing method so you can pay the $0.20 listing fee, and promote your work.

It can take up to 24 hours for your product to appear in Etsy’s search engine. So make sure you start sharing your post as soon as possible.

You can publish as many listings as you like. I recommend starting with 3-5 products so people can get a clear idea of what you’re trading in your shop.

Marketing your shop and photographs for sale is your responsibility. Promote them on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. If you have a photography website, you can link your Etsy shop to it.

You can also invest a little in your business by officially promoting your listing. By paying as little as $1 every day, you’ll be able to put your work out there. And increase the likelihood of finding new clients.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of publishing listings to sell photos on Etsy ” />

Get Great Reviews to Attract More Clients

Last but not least, ask your friends and family for support. If they buy even a single product and give it a great review, your store will stand out and clients will trust you more.

Of course, make sure your friends’ reviews aren’t completely biased and describe the product accurately!

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="A screenshot of reviews on Etsy website – selling photos on Etsy ” />


Etsy is a great marketplace with millions of users who are always on the lookout for creative gifts.

By investing some time in this business, you’ll be able to earn extra money and find new clients to inspire and collaborate with.

For more business secrets, read our eBook – Profit from Portraits

Creative Marketplace
Looking for tips on selling photos on Etsy? Check out this comprehensive guide that covers everything from creating your shop to pricing your products. Plus, get access to helpful Cheat Sheets.
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