Ever looked at the photographs you capture and wonder if you could make a living by selling your photography prints online? Well, if you do plan on going down that road then you may want to think about the whole process and how you can effectively get your photo prints out there for people to enjoy.
It can be overwhelming to go through it all, especially if it is fresh and new to you and you plan on turning this into a full-time print-and-sell photography business. So hopefully, these tips down below can aid you through the steps to take, to help you make sure that you and your photography prints can bring joy to those who want to put your art on their walls. Knowing just how to sell photography prints online will get you started.
Why Are You Doing This?
Before you start selling prints online, you need to think about why you are doing this. Is it to create a side hustle? A full-time business? or have you always wanted this to be the next step for your photography career? Selling online will have its ups and downs, and anyone who starts a website will know just how long it can take to really get going, so you need to think about how you want to approach this and the benefit.
Showcasing Your Art
Photography is a beautiful art. With photographs, we can see an artistic flare or a historical moment. Photography has always been a big part of life, but when it comes to the individual and what they want to shoot, it’s all about what they feel and how they can show that to the world. It is no wonder that photographers may want to sell prints online so they are able to influence people or get recognition.
Another, and more likely, reason why photographers want to look at selling photography prints online, is that they want to make some money from the sales, either to start up their own website for more visibility so they can get photography jobs and earn additional money from those, or they want to make it a full-time business that they can build on, leading them to be a professional photographer and carve out a place for themselves in the online marketplace.
Types of Photography
There are different types of photography out there for people to dabble in or build their entire business around. Down below are a few that may be the right fit, but it is important to look around and see what else is out there. It doesn’t help to limit yourself to just one type, especially if you are just getting started and want to see what else you can do with your photography skills.
This type of photography is also classed as candid photography, it captures a real moment happening at the time, with the photographer focusing on a particular thing that they want to encapsulate within that picture.
It is not as easy to define, mainly because it doesn’t have a specific color scheme or object to focus on, it is just what is happening all around and how the photographers connect with that. They are meant to make the viewer think about what message or story is being conveyed through the photographer’s lens.
A very well-known type of photography that many photographers and people, in general, are familiar with. It is about capturing the outdoors and showing off that spirit within the confines of the photograph. It has gravity to it and shows off the beauty and the vastness of what the world is.
It portrays nature in its truest form and hopefully those who see it feel a sense of wonder or breathlessness at what the world has.
Fine Art Photography
This type of photography is used for aesthetics and imagination. It isn’t about just what is being shown by the camera, it is about looking beyond that and seeing what artistic additions can be made. They are not bland and they have a lot of emotion behind them for people to interpret themselves or have the photographer present them as they want to be seen.
They may make limited edition prints of certain photographs or do one-of-a-kind types that are not to be replicated. These can be quite rare and may have people vying to be the first one/s to get it.
Getting Your Own Online Store Up and Running
By now you should have figured out why you want to sell your photography prints, and what type of photography you want to aim on selling, unless you want to try out different kinds to have a range. Selling photos online is your next step, so you need to take into account a few things –
- Printing techniques
- How you want to print them (print on demand services, self-fulfillment)
This will help you see what needs to be done and how you can keep the momentum going as you progress. We will break it down more in the following paragraphs so you can make informed decisions about how you want to approach these next stages of your photography business.
How Do You Want to Sell Your Prints?
Despite the fact that you can sell your prints through an online store, you can also think about doing some fieldwork by going out to art fairs and selling prints on the weekends whilst handing out small business cards with your website and email address on, this could help you get more potential customers who want to purchase your prints but can’t physically see you.
This will offer many advantages in the long run and it shows how serious you are about making a living from this. Check online for open fairs and speak to your council about what you can do to apply for a selling permit with these events like other local businesses.
However, if you want to completely focus on selling your photography online through your own website and have you have creative and complete control, then this will be a good thing to go for. You don’t have to answer to anyone and will be able to decide on the packaging, how to accept payment, style, and delivery without another person chiming in. You can make it authentically yours.
Find a High-Quality Printer.
This doesn’t just mean finding a printer for your own use but deciding on whether a local printer may be best or using print on demand services. This is where quality is essential, you can ask to see some of their work upfront to gauge whether it is the type of print you want, as well as buy your own photo paper and see if that is a good fit for your prints.
Once you have decided, you can set up a contract, if required, to have them done at certain times, or as and when needed as sales can fluctuate depending on the time of the year and costs. You may want a bulk printed initially, just to cover your back so you don’t run out if one type is more in demand.
Open edition & Limited edition prints
Do you want to sell open edition prints or limited edition prints? Maybe a mixture of both would be best, just make sure that they are labeled as such for your customers. A limited edition print is one that only has a certain amount printed. These could become collectibles and increase in value over time. They can be very sought after by art/photography-loving buyers.
Whereas open editions are unlimited and can be printed as many times as possible. You will need to think about which prints you want as limited and open, so you can plan on what type of paper you want on each and the price points.
Deciding On The Price
When you are pricing prints you need to factor in why you are going for that number and if it is justified. Obviously, your work is important and you put care and attention into your photographs, so you want to sell prints that people are happy with and you are proud of.
High quality prints will cost, as you are using good-quality materials for your photographs. Photographers don’t want to undervalue their work putting them on cheap paper or using a cheap camera. Factoring the inches of the photograph, if you want to sell it with a frame (you could put it as an option), and what you paid for the materials, can help you figure out the price.
There is no point in giving out an exact cost, as it will vary for all of you, but if it cost you around £40 to create, don’t sell it for that amount as you need to make a profit with your images. You could look at selling photography prints as a package, e.g. 3 for 2, so that a discount is applied. It could affect your print sales in a good or bad way, so try it out to see if it works in your favour.
Don’t forget to also think about where you live and where you want to sell it to, will it only be within your country or are you happy to sell it overseas? If so, then planning for delivery costs and timeframes is essential because you may need to charge for delivery. You may want to ask what other photographers prefer and take on board their advice.
Using an Online Marketplace
If you prefer to not sell it through your own website, then there are additional options that you could look at to sell photography prints, photo books, and any other way you want to sell your images.
Etsy may be a good marketplace option, or you could check out sites like Redbubble and Fine Art America, as they are not only a marketplace but also offer the use of drop shipping to help with selling prints.
You will need to do your research first to make sure they are the right fit and that they offer the services that you require for your business. It could help you save money as you won’t need to do all the packaging and delivery and they can also offer the addition of printing your photographs on t shirts and other products. Fine Art America and Redbubble can provide this.
Decide On Your Marketing
Other sellers like you care about being visible online and being able to remain relevant with their photographs. Professional photography is a skill, and you want to be appreciated for that skill, so when you are selling your photography prints, you know that you have done everything you can to make an impression.
Marketing can help you achieve that. You may want to get in touch with a digital marketing company, as well as focus on your on-page SEO to see how you can remain visible online and sell photo prints that showcase your best work and get you noticed.
When customers purchase prints through your site because they saw it on social media or in an advertisement, this shows that good marketing works. Appealing to people in your target demographic is always going to be an important and key part of this all.
Don’t just produce prints and wait for people to wander onto your website and see them. Put them out there and make noise. Who knows, your prints could be someone’s favourite wall art that they show off when people are around.
Hopefully, you are aware of how to sell photography prints through your own website or on a marketplace, so you can make a good go of it and potentially make it your full-time business. Selling photo prints for the first time will be a daunting experience as you are putting it all out there for people to judge.
Just remember that you are doing this for a reason, and your photography prints deserve to be out there for people to enjoy, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be in art stores alongside other great photographers. Most photographers will doubt themselves and their talent at one point, it’s all part of the process.