Running a photography business is never easy. For example, you currently could have limited bookings and are stressing about your income. Therefore, selling your work online is a tantalizing – and somewhat passive – prospect.
Online sales are one of the best solutions for generating income, simply because you gain access to a large potential market. However, before diving in, there are a few factors to consider. For example, you need to price your work, determine how to sell it, and create a successful marketing strategy.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of photography e-commerce. We’ll then look at three factors you might want to consider before you start.
The Benefits of Photography E-Commerce
We are often advised to do what we are passionate about. For you, this could be portraited photography, other nature photography. While this passion is vital for a successful business, limiting yourself to a single service could stifle you. A narrow service offering might also lower your income potential.
Photography-based e-commerce could be the answer. It lets you take the photographs you love, while still making money from other channels. With 4.5 billion active internet users, you are practically sure to find a customer base.
E-commerce also gives you the time to focus on the photography you love. You might love nature photography but run a portrait studio. Online stores let you sell your nature photography as prints while you run your portrait business.
3 Factors to Consider Before Selling Your Work Online
Knowing the opportunity to sell your work online is a good start. However, you need to consider certain factors before you plunge into this market. Taking some time to assess the fundamentals might boost the potential success of your e-commerce venture.
1. Choosing Where to Sell Your Work
Where you sell your work can determine how successful you are. There are a lot of options here – your portfolio, your business website, and much more. You can also take advantage of photography marketplaces such as Nature Picture Library.
However, your website or portfolio might be the best option. This is because you have complete control over your work and how it is sold. Marketplaces may determine the pricing for you, and will usually take a commission. Both of these factors could reduce your income.
If you want to create your e-commerce store, Visual Society is a standout option. You’ll need to sign up for an account, which is free for the first three months. You can then start customizing your store.
You can easily set up online payments, add different products, and view analytics from your store dashboard. We also have award-winning templates you can choose. It takes very little time to get your store up and running.
Another option for creating an e-commerce website is by using the WordPress platform and its associated plugins. You’ll need to purchase a domain and hosting, then find an appropriate theme. Next, download an e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce and configure it for your store.
This seems easy on the surface. However, WooCommerce doesn’t come ready to go, out of the box. For example, if you’re going to sell to customers in different countries, you should get a currency converter. You also need to have a print supplier and shipping partner to handle the orders. These cost money, and will inevitably bump up the price per item. An all-in-one platform could be a better fit for you.
2. Determining the Products to Sell
You might feel you’re limited to selling prints online, but this isn’t the case. The sky’s the limit on your exact product offerings, such as canvases and stock photos. You could also have your photographs printed on mugs and clothing.
Before adding products to your website, you’ll want to consider the items you sell. You also need to think about how you’ll create the products and ship them. Order fulfillment is vital to success, and you need good partners. Third-party vendors can help, but you need to carefully vet them and ensure they offer the level of service you want.
As we alluded to, an all-in-one solution can make product fulfillment easier. Visual Society will handle this aspect after a purchase. This leaves you with more time for photography and less time worrying about shipping an order.
3. Pricing Your Photography and Marketing Your Products
Many photographers find it hard to price their work, simply because they are too attached (which is understandable.) However, when you first create your online store, you need to consider certain factors for pricing. The most important are your overhead costs and what your potential customers are willing to pay.
If you want to sell different products, you also need to consider the cost of creating them. Self-fulfilling your orders require printing and raw material costs. These costs can fluctuate, and you’ll have to keep on top of them to turn a profit.
Marketing your photography business and products require two different strategies. Some of the marketing strategies you are currently using can be adjusted for e-commerce. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media are two tried and trusted methods of getting eyes on your images.
However, if you’re going to use social media, you should consider branching out from Facebook and Twitter. Many photographers have success with Instagram and TikTok, such as Kyle Meshna. If you’re new to marketing, we can help – along with getting your store optimized, we can also help you find work with our artist directory. This is another channel worth leveraging.
In the current climate, many photographers are worried about money. Selling your work online could reduce your stress levels by creating a steady income. It also provides you with the flexibility to focus on the photography that you love.
Before taking the plunge into selling your work online, you might want to consider:
- Where to sell your work.
- The type of products you will sell.
- The price of your photography and how it’s marketed.
Is selling your work online something you’re currently considering? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: cottonbro.
Thad Allender is the founder of Visual Society. He leads a team of passionate designers and developers working to revolutionize the way photographers and artists sell online. He lives north of New York City in the Catskills.