If you enjoy photography as a hobby, selling photos could be the ideal side business alongside your day job, and could perhaps even progress to something more. Photography can be a great small business idea for those with creative flair, looking to do something new.
There are a few things that you need to consider if you want to start selling photographs online – from finding a sales platform and listing items, to managing orders and taking payments. Read on to find out how to start selling photos online.
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Where can I sell my photos online?
The best place to sell photos online depends on your budget, the amount of photos you plan to sell and how involved you would like to be with the sales and marketing process.
On your own website
One way of selling your photos online is to create a unique website especially for your photography. By selling on your own site, you have complete control over the look and feel of your store, and your photos are not posted next to your competitors. You can also use this website as a portfolio for any photography services you may wish to offer as part of your business.
Creating a website for your photography business is an easy process. You do not need to be a web developer to get started as you can make use of the many professional website templates available online. You can decide on your own branding and collect customer data for information gathering and marketing purposes.
The downside is that it can be more difficult for potential customers to find you as you might have more exposure on popular third party sites. To help with this you can put together a search engine optimisation strategy and try to improve your search engine ranking.
There is generally more day-to-day upkeep needed for your own website as you will need to fix any technical issues and keep your site updated with fresh content. So, make sure you set aside some time and budget for this.
Through third-party websites
Another option is to sell your photos through third-party websites such as Shutterstock, Etsy, Getty Images or Adobe Stock. On these sites you can sell everything from everyday photos to very niche images, and even sell other types of media – such as videos – too.
Bear in mind that these platforms do charge fees and they usually take a percentage of each sale.
Through social media
Selling photos on Instagram or other social networks can be cost effective and easy to set up. Using Instagram shoppable posts, you can sell images directly within the users’ feeds. You’ll just need to set up a business profile to get started and post regularly to increase followers.
List your items (and make them look good)
Whether you are selling photos through your own website, using third party platforms or sharing your work via social media, there are a few key considerations.
Firstly, you should ensure that the photos you are uploading are quality images – check that they are high-resolution, and they have good lighting and composition. And don’t forget to only list images that you have permission to share. This is particularly important if they include people or private property.
Listing them in a way that customers can easily find them is also important. If listing on a website, make sure you use the appropriate keyword tags, while listings on social media should include several relevant hashtags.
How to deliver your photographs
If offering physical prints to your customers, you will need to have access to a high-quality printer, inks and the correct paper stock. Standard home office printers are often not high-quality enough, so you might consider what supplier relationships you need to build as a part of your photography business plan.
Digital files are a popular option for customers who would like to use your photos for their own websites or for those who would like to handle the printing themselves. You can offer different sizes and resolutions for different prices.
Mugs, cushions and more
Photos can make the perfect sentimental gifts for friends and family and there are so many items that are ideal for printing on. There are homeware items such as cushions, mugs, canvases and fridge magnets, as well as other personalised photo gifts like photo books, greeting cards and memory boxes.
Set up processes and payments
Managing orders and inventory
Selling photos is a process, so you will need to organise everything from orders and customer queries to inventory management and distribution. There are many tools available online to help streamline this process.
You can use an integrated POS system to keep up with orders and send invoices to your customers. It can also track and sync your inventory with daily email alerts that flag any images, prints or products that need to be restocked.
There are a number of different ways you can carry transactions when selling your photos online. It is important to ensure any payment methods you allow are safe and secure for both you and your customers.
Square Online Store
Using a Square Online Store you can accept all major credit and debit cards, as well as eGift cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay. The platform helps to ensure that all transactions are processed securely.
Connecting customers to an online checkout is another way to sell your photos. You can direct buyers to the checkout using buttons, QR codes or links and you only pay a fee when you make a sale.
If you have your own online portfolio or blog, a really simple option is to add a Buy Button next to each photo or collection. These can be customised to suit your theme and are easily embeddable with HTML code.
Marketing your photos
Once your online store or social media site is up and running, it’s time to get the word out about your photography business. Here are some of the different ways you can market your photos:
- Start your own blog – business blogs are a great way to boost your SEO strategy and widen your customer reach. You can even make your photos a focal point with monthly features.
- Engage on social media – while you might be used to posting photos, there are other ways to grow your business through sites like Instagram and Facebook. Reply to comments, post stories and reels of your shoots, and host a few giveaways or competitions.
- Local partnerships – talk to other small businesses about featuring some of your work – from coffee shops to local galleries. Then post about them on your social media to expand their audience.
Selling photos online is the ideal side hustle or business for those with a love of photography and by using the online platforms available to you, getting started is easier than you might think.