One of the ways to make fast cash on the side as a modern photographer is by selling prints.
But while it can be profitable, you might have to deal with several challenges when starting.
For instance, intellectual theft, every photographer’s nightmare, might force you to give up the thought of selling prints.
Plus, finding potential clients, shipping, and framing can be a challenge.
Yet, some photographers, like Steve McCurry, still make a decent income with this side business.
But how do they do it?
That’s exactly what you’ll learn in the tutorial: how to sell prints as a photographer and earn a decent income, from producing quality prints to finding top-dollar clients.
- Why You Should Consider Selling Prints as a Photographer
- Problems With Selling Prints as a Photographer
- What You’ll Need to Sell Prints as a Photographer
- Where to Sell Prints as a Photographer
- How To Sell Prints as a Photographer: Step-By-Step Instructions
- Things to Consider When Selling Prints as a Photographer
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Similar Tutorials to Check Out
- Wrapping Up
Why You Should Consider Selling Prints as a Photographer
Don’t bother with selling prints unless you want to
- Earn money doing what you love: Who says you can’t earn while doing what you love? Selling prints can be one of the best ways to monetize your passion if you love the photography business (like capturing wildlife or landscape photography).
- Share your art with the world: Photography, like art, helps people see the world in a different light, but this is only possible if you share it. Selling prints allows you to share your unique vision and creativity with others.
- Build your reputation and following: If your prints are unique and quality, selling them can help you build a following and a reputation in your industry. And with reputation comes high demand and better value for your work.
- Create a lasting legacy: Like Kevin Carter, you can create a lasting legacy of your work and leave a mark on the world for generations by selling prints. Your prints may become valuable collectibles, passed down through families and displayed in galleries for years.
Problems With Selling Prints as a Photographer
While you consider selling prints for a side business, several challenges are worth noting.
- Market saturation: The market for photo prints is currently oversaturated, compared to the early 90s when art made more fame than photography. So it can be more tasking to get your work noticed and find potential customers now than before.
- Changing trends: Time and trend is something beyond any man’s control. The demand for certain types of photographic prints can change over time, and it can be challenging to keep up with shifting trends and stay relevant in the market.
- Low-profit margins: While this is subjective, the cost of producing prints can eat into your profit margins, especially if you aren’t selling at a high volume or charging high prices.
- Shipping challenges: Shipping prints is challenging, especially if framed with fragile or expensive materials like glass. You may need to invest in special packaging and shipping materials to ensure your prints arrive at their destination undamaged.
What You’ll Need to Sell Prints as a Photographer
Here are a few things you’ll need to sell prints.
- High-quality photographic prints: Quality is synonymous with value. Producing high-quality prints can improve the value placed on your work, leading to your success. So it’s necessary to invest in high-quality materials.
- A reliable printer and printing software: While you’ll need to produce quality, a reliable printer and printing software can do the trick. We recommend the Canon PIXMA Pro 200, which uses an eight-color, dye-based ink system. Several other options are available on the market; research and find one that meets your needs and budget.
- A selection of frames and matting: With frames and matting, prints can sell for a lot more because they become visually appealing and add more value. Invest in high-quality products that complement your work and fit within your budget.
- A website or online marketplace to sell your prints: You’ll need a platform to showcase and sell your work. It can be a personal website, an online marketplace like Etsy or Amazon, or a print-on-demand service like Fine Art America.
- Payment processing and shipping solutions: You’ll need a way to process payments and ship your prints to customers. Consider using a payment processing service like PayPal or Stripe, and research the best shipping options for your business.
Substitute materials and considerations
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t acquire all of the previously mentioned items — you can try these alternatives.
For one, you can use print labs or services like Fine Art America or Printful if you don’t have or can’t get the necessary equipment or resources to produce prints on your own.
These services can handle the printing and shipping for you, allowing you to focus on creating and marketing.
There’s also an alternative if you can’t invest in frames and matting.
Some photographers will typically sell unframed prints at a discounted price in this case.
But we recommend partnering with a local framing shop, allowing you to offer framing to your customers without the added expense of purchasing framing equipment.
For platforms to sell, you can create social media pages or profiles on platforms like Instagram and Facebook; they cost next to nothing to set up.
Where to Sell Prints as a Photographer
Like selling sneakers online, you need to sell your photography prints on a platform with
- High-volume traffic with an interest in photography
- Renowned authority in the art niche
- Sections for uploading your work and description
- Chat ability to communicate with buyers
- Copyright protection
If you’re finding it difficult to get a suitable platform, here are some suggestions, along with their fees/commissions and payment methods.
Fine Art America
Our top recommendation for selling photography prints is Fine Art America, a popular online marketplace that offers a wide range of options for photographers and artists.
The platform offers a variety of art print sizes, materials, framing options, and tools for creating online galleries and managing sales.
Why It’s a Great Option
Checking all the features we listed above, Fine Art America meets all requirements and more.
The platform has a large customer base and strong reputation in the art world and can offer a viable opportunity for photographers to showcase and sell their work.
It also handles printing, framing, and shipping, taking the burden off your shoulders and letting you focus on quality shots.
- Free to set up a seller account
- Standard commission rates of 5% on prints and 10% on other products (e.g., phone cases, tote bags, etc.)
- An optional Premium membership for $30/year, which increases commission rates to 30% on prints and 50% on other products
Payments are processed through PayPal or direct deposit and made on the 15th of each month for sales made in the previous month.
Without Etsy, we wouldn’t discuss selling digital art in this age and time.
You can sell fine art, like handmade and vintage items, including photographic prints using Etsy.
You can set up an online shop on the platform and access several tools for managing sales, shipping, and customer communication.
Why It’s a Great Option
On a scale of 1 to 10, we rate Etsy at 8.
While the platform has existed for over a decade, it has consistently maintained a large and active community of art and photography enthusiasts, making it a good option for photographers who want to reach a niche audience.
- $0.20 listing fee for each item listed
- 5% transaction fee on the sale price of each item
- You might pay an additional processing fees depending on the payment method (e.g., PayPal, Etsy Payments)
Payments are processed through Etsy Payments or PayPal and made on a rolling basis while you make sales.
Saatchi Art is another top-rated third-party website with an art gallery that connects artists and collectors from around the globe.
The platform offers a curated selection of art and photography, including limited edition prints and original works.
Why It’s a Great Option
Saatchi Art has a strong reputation in the art world and attracts a high-end audience of collectors and buyers.
It also offers a range of services for artists, including promotion, curation, and shipping.
- 35% commission on sales of original works
- 65% commission on sales of limited edition prints
- Saatchi Art covers the cost of printing, framing, and shipping for limited-edition prints
Payments are processed through PayPal or ACH transfer and made within 7-10 business days of completing a sale.
Aside: Art fairs also offer opportunities for photographers to exhibit both digital images and physical prints.
How To Sell Prints as a Photographer: Step-By-Step Instructions
Selling prints can be a straightforward process if you follow the correct steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start.
Step 1: Choose Your Platform
When it concerns selling stuff online, where you show up can determine the success of your business.
Echoing what we said earlier: always go for platforms with a solid reputation in selling photography prints.
Traffic and community strength are other features to consider.
And for what it’s worth, you can compare fees from different platforms before choosing.
Some platforms offer cheaper fees while others might not, but provide more quality services like better copyright policies.
So, choose your poison but do so carefully by reading through the rules of each platform before you sign up.
Step 2: Set Up Your Account
Opening an account with your chosen platform can be as simple as signing up with your email address.
You’ll also need to enter a password, which you should try to use something unique but easy to remember.
And fill out your correct payment details.
Step 3: Create Your Store
Next is creating a store on the platform.
While each platform might have a different process for this, the requirements are simple and quite similar.
We’ll show you how to create a store for each platform discussed in this article.
How to Create a Store on Etsy
– Visit www.etsy.com/sell to register.
– Answer some questions about what your shop sells and your business experience or you can skip this if you want.
– Choose your shop language, currency, and your country.
– Choose a unique name for your shop.
– Turn on two-factor identification to secure your account from unauthorized login.
– Upload a quality logo and some additional information about your shop for customization.
– Add your products, shipping option, and payment options, then publish your listings to start selling.
How to Create a Store in Fine Art America
– Visit the Fine Art America seller page.
– Click to sign up as a Photographer.
– Fill out the registration form.
– Create your store and edit your business name.
– Upload your images.
– Select what you want to sell.
– Set your prices.
How to Create a Store on Saatchi Art
– Go to https://www.saatchiart.com/whysell and click on ‘sell now’.-
– Create an account or log in
– Create a Store and fill out the required details
– Add your images, then upload
– Enter your contact details and payment information.
Step 4: Promote Your Store
Promote your store to meet potential buyers faster.
You can do this by sharing your store on social media and asking friends and family members to help you or create ads.
Using influencers or bloggers in your niche is also a good promotional strategy.
Step 5: Fulfill Orders
Keeping your account active with quality customer service is as vital as opening one.
Once you start making sales, you need to fulfill orders promptly.
Ensure you package your prints carefully to avoid any damage during shipping.
You may also need to provide tracking information to your buyers to avoid missing shipments or negative reviews, which can affect your reputation.
Things to Consider When Selling Prints as a Photographer
Here are a few extra things to consider while selling photographic prints.
In art, the quality of your prints matters and can affect how people value them.
Try to maintain high quality with your prints and meet the platform’s standard you choose to sell on.
You can start by choosing the right paper, ink, and printing method.
Selling copyrighted prints isn’t an option. It’s outright intellectual theft, and you can face penalties for it.
So, ensure you have the legal right to sell the prints you are offering. If the prints feature copyrighted material, try getting permission from the original creator.
2. Pricing Prints
Several factors can determine your pricing structure.
In most cases, limited-edition pictures with well-crafted handwritten signatures and numbering are more expensive than regular prints.
You can also consider:
- Cost of the materials.
- Platform fees.
- Shipping costs.
- Labor costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some questions we didn’t discuss in the tutorial.
Can photographers make money selling prints?
Yes, photographers can make money selling prints.
Selling prints is a lucrative revenue stream for photographers, whether they’re professionals or hobbyists.
With proper arrangement, a professional Photographer can make up to $5,000 monthly with this.
What type of photos sells best online?
Some popular genres of photos that tend to sell well online include landscape, fine art, travel, wildlife, and stock images.
The key to selling photos online is to find your niche and create high-quality, visually appealing images that resonate with your target audience.
Similar Tutorials to Check Out
Check out similar tutorials on how to make money that might interest you.
- How to make money on Etsy: Take your knowledge further and boost your income with Etsy.
- How to make body scrubs to sell: Learn how to make money through this hot-selling product.
- How to sell gift cards: Sell all sorts of gift cards on top-rated platforms and make cool cash. Learn how.
Selling prints has pros and cons, but if you get it right, you’ll certainly smile to the bank.
While we’ve outlined steps to help you get it right, following through with it and maintaining consistency is also vital.
We’ll love to help beyond this tutorial.
What challenges are you facing in your print business? Let’s know in the comment section.