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How to Sell Photos on Etsy

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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.

What Are You Going 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 also great gifts for friends and family. 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 also limit the number of buyers you have.

You also need to make sure that the printing/framing company (or printer) you use is trustworthy and will create photos in the best quality possible.

If you want to take this even further, make sure you 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 store more often.

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

A row of photo prints on a book shelf - tips for selling photos on Etsy

Digital Prints

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

This is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to make money on Etsy. If your photos are striking and are accompanied by the right keywords, your business will inevitably attract a lot of buyers.

Copyright rules are very important when it comes to digital files. Make sure you have a note in your description stating what users can and can’t do with your photos.

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

An artistic photo print on a book shelf - tips for selling photos on Etsy

Photography Resources and Textures

Some photographers sell photos 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 photos of textures, you should give this option a shot.

You can also sell presets or actions to help photographers further enhance their images.

A stunning photo of textures in nature - how to sell photos on Etsy

Photo Books

This is a fantastic option to showcase your work in one book. Again, you can sell 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 photos. You can also create a book filled with behind-the-scenes photos or creative stories.

Photo books may not sell as fast as normal photo prints. But they’re a great way to show off your creativity and teach photographers something new.

A printed photo book on a wooden table - how to sell photos on Etsy

Come Up With a General Plan for Your Etsy Store to Avoid Confusion

Preparation is a great way to motivate yourself and feel more confident as a new Etsy user. Even a very vague plan can help prevent unnecessary confusion.

Start with the basics, including your business name and at least 5 photos, resources or services you thought of in the last step.

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

Treat your Etsy store 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 like 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 - how to sell photos on Etsy

Create an Account and Set Up Your Store

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.

A screenshot of Etsy website homepage

Create an Eye-Catching Name That Beautifully Represents Your Photography

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.

Make sure that your name 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 use words like PhotoStudioArt, 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 on etsy - how to sell on etsy

Add Your Very First Listing to Make Your Store 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 store.

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.

A screenshot of ADDING LISTINGS on etsy website - selling photos on etsy

Upload Photos That Stand Out

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

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

A screenshot of uploading photos on etsy website - selling photos 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.

Make sure you write something that’s both informative and creative. Be friendly and bold. Give your words personality so that your descriptions stand out from the rest.

You can do this by shortly writing about your photography background, why you want people to use your photos, or what your company’s values are.

All of these things will make you seem more like a friend than a faceless company.

Also, describe your product in as much detail as possible. This will make it easier for search engines to attract the right kind of clients to your work.

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

A screenshot of writing a description on etsy website - selling photos on etsy

Use Optional Attributes to 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 might be custom orders, adding detailed tags, and adding your product to a specific section in your store.

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

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

A screenshot of etsy website - selling 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 stores 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.

A screenshot of inventory and pricing on etsy website - selling 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.

A screenshot of choosing payments on etsy website - selling 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 immediately.

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 trying to sell.

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.

A screenshot of publishing listings on etsy website - selling 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!)

A screenshot of reviews on etsy website - selling photos on etsy

Conclusion

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.

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2 comments
  1. Thank you for this helpful guide!
    Please, I’m new on etsy, I just made two sales, a customer gave me a 5 star review, I work on digital prints, posters and canvas, sometimes I want scalling my pictures so I could have large sizes like the 24″x36″ so for example if I have a picture with 4668×3112 dimensions can I scale it to 10800×7200? or it’s recommended to work with the original dimensions for best quality?
    I’m using GIMP, i try scaling using Cubic interpolation parameter (300dpi) and I use sharpen filter after scaling but I think the picture quality will be reduced even that!

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