Professional and amateur photographers are often overwhelmed when wondering how to sell photo prints online. But the truth is, the Internet makes it easier to make money through your camera than ever before. Before the days of "www," photographers looking to sell photo prints really only had a few options: Get a gallery show (which is next to impossible), travel to countless trade shows peddling prints one at a time for nickles and dimes or open their own shop and hope they know enough about marketing to sell at least one print before going out of business.
Now days, photographers can use the power of the Internet to market their portfolios, sell photo prints online and build a customer base and even impress a few folks who might be looking for freelance photography work. And as an added bonus, the cost of setting up a web presence is minimal compared to the hard costs associated with an offline business.
For instance, you can buy a web domain for about $10 per year, install WordPress (free) and build a professional website in just a few mouse clicks, even if you've never programmed a single line of web code in your life. It really is that easy. From there you can set up an e-commerce system to accept orders, process payments and more. It's really that easy to start selling photo prints online.
If that's something you're not interested in, there are several shared community sites that allow you to pedal your products (in this case, your photography prints) to a very hungry market. Or better yet, do a combination of both. Let's take a closer look at these:
Build You Own Website To Sell Photo Prints Online
You don't need to know Diddley squat about web programing to build a great looking website anymore. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you an expensive web development package. You don't need that, trust me. All you really need is a computer - well, and a camera, and a willingness to sell your photo prints on the internet.
What you do need is a web domain, which costs about $10 per year. Then you'll need a hosting service, which will set you back between $5 and $10 per month. Not too shabby, eh?
Once you've got a domain and hosting, you can install WordPress, which is completely free, and is usually a simple one-click process through most hosting services. I'm not going to make this a lesson in WordPress customization, but I can assure you that it's super simple and there are plenty of free resources online.
Then go to PayPal.com and set up a merchant account. Doing so will let you accept credit card and Paypal payments when you're selling your photo prints online. Again, I won't get into the process of this, but my point is that it's easier than ever to accept money and collect orders. That means you could be making money by selling your photo prints online in a few hours.
And yes, you can sell photo prints as either digital downloads or ship off physical prints, assuming you set your process up to collect shipping addresses.
So we've established that it's super cheap to do this, but what if you want someone else to set this up for you? No problem, the market is so saturated with out-of-work programmers and web developers that you can get great results for less than $100 through freelance sites like Elance. You could even put out a job description that says you're wondering how to sell photo prints online, and would like an experienced web person to help out. Honestly, they won't care if you're wondering how to sell your photography online or of you're peddling goat hair, the techie process is the same either way.
How To Sell Photo Prints Online With A Free Blog
Not interested in all of the techie mumbo jumbo? No problem, you can sell your photography prints online, through your own domain, without going through the hassle. Simply sign up for a free blog service (such as Blogspot.com or Wordpress.com) and you'll not only save yourself the domain fee, but also the monthly hosting costs. Plus, these work incredibly well for people with ZERO website experience - they provide plenty of free themes and control panels that literally do all the work for you. All you'll need to do is provide the content (text) and upload the images of the photographs to sell.
You can go the PayPal route here if you'd like, but the easier option is to simply include your email address so potential customers can contact you in person and request one of the photographs you're selling online. I would recommend, however, that you DO NOT hyperlink your actual email address into the text, otherwise the spam robots will find it and start sending you garbage.
Here's how this easy process works: Set up a free blog, post your photography and prices, customers see something they want, they email you, you set up the payment process and then either email them a digital copy or a printed photo through the mail. Selling photo prints online isn't any easier than that!
How To Sell Photo Prints Online Without A Website
One word: Etsy. Etsy.com is a massive portal of artists and craftsmen that sell their wares online. The community has grown exponentially every year since it launched in the mid 2000s, and untold millions of dollars trade hands there every month.
But here's why you should really care:
- This place is full of people ready to buy. You don't show up in the "photography" section unless you're looking to buy photography.
- They automate the entire listing process! All you do is post your stuff, collect the payment and provide the photo.
Etsy makes it easier than every to sell your photo prints online. They've constantly streamlined the "back end" process of listing your photos and even take care of all the payment processes. All they ask is for a very small listing fee (usually less than 50 cents) and then a small percentage commission on all sales. You can easily adjust for this by bumping your sales price up a tad bit when you create your listings.
Oh, and if you photo prints don't sell during the listing time, they'll usually let you list them again for free!
I'd highly recommend checking the site out and getting a feel for how the whole thing works. I think you'll be impressed.
Sell Photography Online Using All These Strategies
There is no one "best" way when it comes to how to sell photo prints online, which is why I'd highly recommend that you incorporate all these methods into your business model. Use your own domain website or free blog to build and establish yourself as a legitimate and authoritative photographer, and then put up several listings on Etsy. Then, link to your website in your Etsy profile so people can see some of your other photographs. Then, if you really want, you can link these photographs to their respective Etsy listings. It's a nice cyclical process that should really help you sell plenty of photo prints.
So, now that you know how to sell photo prints online, dust off your camera lens and get started!