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Sell Pictures Online the Easy Way
4 great resources for selling photos on the internet
A number of sites have emerged with great reputations for helping photographers sell pictures online.
Are you more interested in your own photographic style and vision than the commercial approach of stock photo websites? Do you have some photos that you can imagine selling as prints, canvases and cards?
Not sure about the time investment required to create a functioning little business, though?
You could be perfectly suited for sites like Redbubble, SmugMug and DeviantArt.They provide a service for hosting your image galleries, taking orders and processing payments, printing items and shipping them to your customers! Not bad.
Selling digital photos has never been easier! All you have to do is upload photos and select the products you'd like to offer from your store.
It takes the whole ordeal of setting up a system for selling photos on the internet out of the equation! No need to design a website, find a printer's, set up a payment system, package and ship items. A business without the business stuff! But of course, these websites do take a cut for their back-end work!
Ebay too is a really profitable - if surprising - way to sell pictures online. I'll tell you how, and introduce you to the other sites worth using, in a moment. But first:
What separates successful stock photographers from the rest?
An important prefix to selling photos on the internet through these outlets...
You've got to do a bit of marketing!
Sites like Redbubble are very often misunderstood. They deal with all the physical requirements of business; taking orders, printing items, shipping them and so on. They don't, though, offer some sort of fully functioning successful business on a plate!
You cannot expect to set up an online store, however cool the galleries look, and expect to soak up half the traffic that comes to the host site. You are provided with a great starting point; somewhere from which to begin selling pictures online and attracting customers.
I'm sure this is all obvious to you, but it can be easy to assume that literally everything is on cruise control with these kinds of arrangements. It's very much not!
You will sell your pictures just by putting up a nice gallery at a well known site...But not many! You've got to market that store!
...Gradually build up the online visibility of your galleries...
1. Contribute to photography related forums, using a link in your signature and occasional link to your work in posts.
2. Submit articles on photography or art related subjects to places like Ezine Articles, featuring links to your galleries.
3. Answer questions on Q and A sites related to photography, occasionally linking to your store.
4. Create a site of your own, if you are able to, and direct the visitors to that to your store at RedBubble, SmugMug, or wherever. (My review of the best photography website templates)
5. Advertise your work in newspapers and magazines. Do you take pictures of your local area? Market your online store in your local newspaper!
6. Hold an exhibition of your work and provide business cards to all visitors showing them where you sell your pictures on the web.
Basically, do anything you feel like to increase the profile of your work - locally, nationally and, especially, online. (Here's my review of the world's most successful resource for attracting visitors to a website)
Your galleries are where these efforts finally pay off! You make the sales and the host site does the rest. You create the interest and the business auto pilot kicks in.
Good, so you're all clear on that. Now let's check out some of the sites worth looking at when you want to sell pictures online...
Keen to start a little online business? Overwhelmed by all the information out there? Stop! Here's the most successful resource of it's kind anywhere! I've used it for years.
RedBubble is a hugely popular site - for sellers and buyers. They have accrued a massive collection of awesome images and talented photographers. It's worth a browse even if you don't plan to sell pictures online here. It is free to join.
There is a pretty active community at RedBubble. It's good to connect with other photographers who sell pictures online in the same way and discuss strategies! You can also tell people what you think about their photos and bask in all the positive feedback to your galleries.
You can sell your pictures in a range of formats. Framed prints, mounted and laminated prints, greetings cards and postcards can all be made available to customers. You can even sell your pictures as prints on t-shirts! Materials and production quality are of a high standard.
N.B. The file size of your uploaded photos will determine the size of items you are able to offer.
Pricing is left down to you. If you're unsure how to sell pictures effectively by setting the right price, use other RedBubble photographers' galleries as a guage. You could even drop one of them a question and they're sure to get back with some helpful advice.
You retain full copyright to your work whilst using Redbubble as an outlet, of course.
We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.
- Ansel Adams
I like SmugMug. You can sell your pictures through them as well as participate in an active community of photographers.
It is not free to join, but with a Pro account you will be able to personalise the look and feel of your gallery. It's easy to create a really professional looking store for selling photos on the internet that will convert visitors into customers.
A SmugMug gallery is an ideal place to send people whose attention you have gained elsewhere. Seeing your work in this kind of place will give them an immediately positive impression. It just looks good!
SmugMug provide a tool for quickly and easily applying a watermark to your pictures to help guard against copyright infringements. They allow you to set the prices and have a really high quality printing service. Their drop-ship system is efficient and helps to ensure customer satisfaction.
In general, SmugMug is a top-notch place to sell pictures online and provides an ideal store-front for your photography!
You may well not have leapt to the conclusion of 'eBay' whilst wondering how to sell pictures online! But don't write it off - eBay works! It's just such a popular online marketplace that anyone can cash in on it.
So, how to sell pictures online at eBay? Step 1 - set up an account, if you haven't got one already. If you're new to online auctions, go and check them out. See how they work, buy something (it doesn't have to be much, people offer ridiculous things - a paperclip, a cornflake, a pea!).
See what kind of pricing other eBay photographers are going with to give your self an idea of where to start. Remember - it's not like other pricing calculations, this is a minimum bid. Keep it low, enough to just scrape a profit; bidding will often raise the stakes.
Do your own printing to keep costs down. Be sure to use high quality archival materials, though. Buyers will expect this and it's an important priciple to stick to whenever you sell your pictures. Plus, the feedback you're given will be public and affect your ability to make further sales.
|Advice, tips and news for pro, and aspiring pro, photographers...|
DeviantArt has a kind of cult following online. I've been using it for a while and it's really good fun. It's an unbelievably popular and successful website, with over 13 million registered members! 13 million!! Not a bad spot to promote your work. DeviantArt is free to join.
Of course, there is a risk of being totally invisible in this large community. To avoid that, join groups and be as active as possible.
Leave lots of comments under people's work, attracting them to view your galleries. Start groups of your own in areas of photography that interest you.
Lots of people use DeviantArt to sell pictures online as well as to find artwork to purchase. So it does pay to promote your self within the community. Buyers are able to choose from prints and canvases, and select their preferred paper type.
This is not the place to sell your pictures if you want a clean, professional looking online gallery to direct people to who you have attracted through marketing elsewhere. But, it is a useful little earner and a fun community to be part of. So do check it out!
Other notable mentions:
Cafepress and D'art are also superb resources for photographers looking to sell pictures online. Well worth having a look!
Have Your Say and Share Your Photos
Have you tried to sell pictures online? How did it go? What was your experience with sites like those above. Share your stories with other PAC readers.
Where Next?Art Marketing Online