Why You Should Sell Your Photos on Etsy


Many photographers dream about making money selling photos online. Thanks to the Internet, photographers now have many photo marketing options available to them. Ranging from microstock sites like Dreamstime and iStockphoto to eBay, the biggest hurdle is selecting the best site for your work. Another growing marketplace that many photographers are finding great success with is Etsy.

how to sell on etsyFounded in June 2005, Etsy is fast becoming the best place for creators of art to sell their handcrafted wares. Their motto is to “enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.

Why you should sell your photos on Etsy. Microstock photography sites offer photographers an excellent opportunity to market their portfolios. While many photographers “do well”, stock photography is all about numbers. Since your work will be showcased along with millions of other excellent photos, you need to be a constant contributor to build a library large enough to receive a significant revenue stream. In addition, the payout structure for microstock sites is biased towards high volume sellers since the money received per image download is typically very low compared to selling prints. The positive news about microstock sites you do not have to have prints made or deal with collecting money or shipping the final product.

I have had very good results selling prints on eBay. Since they are the one of the largest marketplaces on the Web today, traffic is not an issue. In addition, you set your own prices and deliver the finished products. I prefer this style of marketplace since it allows you to add a personal touch to selling, which can add value to the customer experience and your bottom line. The main downfall with eBay is that it is a crowded marketplace full of bargain hunting shoppers.

Etsy, on the other hand, is a niche marketplace for handcrafted artwork. Visitors coming to Etsy are people interested in artwork period. They are looking for unique works of art from a wide variety of artisans. While Etsy will never match eBay in terms of sheer traffic volume,  Etsy’s overall ranking in terms of relevance is growing quickly. From a marketing perspective, I prefer to advertise my work within venues specifically focused on art. Think in terms of selling high end art in Walmart versus a boutique environment.

Patrick Andrew Adams on Etsy.>

In the end, the marketplace you should select is one that offers the best financial return for your work. If you haven’t heard of Etsy and are thinking about selling your photos online, I would suggest you check them out.

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11 thoughts on “Why You Should Sell Your Photos on Etsy

  1. Thanks for the recommendation about Etsy. I’ve been thinking of ways to sell my photos without getting into the whole microstock nightmare. Do you find that prints, framed prints or canvas does best on Etsy?

  2. Chris – When looking to sell my images, I try to determine the price point most customers are willing to pay in a given marketplace. Higher price = higher profit, but usually results in fewer sales. I have found the price range of $30 – $50 to work best for me. When I lower the price, there is not a noticeable increase in sales, plus it hurts your image as a professional photographer.

    Within the $30 – 50 range, I vary the offers. Smaller prints may include framing or mounting, but larger prints do not. I have found that series to work really well. Typically, if a buyer likes your work they will want to purchase additional prints of similar size and genre. Signed limited editions justify a higher price and give added value to the customer. Many buyers enjoy collecting specific artists, so know your demographic and cater to them.

    Experiment with package deals as well. Many buyers are sensitive to postage and handling charges. The “buy x and receive free shipping” offer has been well received.

    Hope this helps.

  3. How would it compare to a hosted domain unique to the artist?

    I know that on etsy I could just as easily be on another artists page and become lost within all the art and other artists.

    How does the traffic work on etsy? Because I would imagine that vistors still need to find you within the mass of other artists/photographers. You said it’s not a problem but how much traffic is finding your page within it?

    I’m curious because I want to sell my photographic art, but I am probably going to go with a few methods of selling.

  4. Do you know if I can sell the same photos on Shutterstock and Etsy?

  5. I’m trying to find information on how many sales the normal Etsy photographer can expect to make. Do you guys have any anecdotal information? I see sellers with good photographs on Etsy, and I wonder whether they’re actually selling.

  6. Its a good blog. can you gve me more information about?? its a nice photograph.hope to visit again.

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