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.
Founded 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.
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.