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How to Sell Photography Prints Online
Photo by Matt Moloney

How to Sell Photography Prints Online

Published on March 3, 2022
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Gone are the days when artists were limited in how, when, and where they could sell their art. Instead of finding a way to get your art into someone’s hands in person, creatives nowadays have found the online world to be a much more productive avenue. The internet has made it significantly easier for artists to market their art across the globe and actually generate consistent sales to support their businesses and livelihood.

Whether you’re an artist researching how to sell photography prints, or an enthusiast looking for inspiration, insight, or the next addition to your collection, we’ve got all the intel below. Read on to learn more about how art gets sold online, and the best (and most lucrative) ways you can go about monetizing yours.

Find the Right Platform

Photo by Brooke Lark

Selecting the best possible platform to monetize your work is an acquired art form. Naturally, there are a few elements to take into account, especially when you’re freshly learning about how to sell photography prints online. And with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to feel lost at sea, so we’re here to help you out. Here’s a roundup of a few of the most popular platforms on the market nowadays.

Etsy

This one was probably obvious. Launched in 2005, this mega-popular online marketplace has become the go-to for crafters, designers, painters, and artists of all kinds to showcase their work, connect with potential customers and sell their art online.

Etsy’s popularity is both the biggest draw and challenge for artists. On one hand, it gives you exposure to one of the largest audiences of craft and art enthusiasts on the internet. But on the other, it also facilitates one of the largest groups of artists trying to make a living off of selling their work, which can make it a challenge to break into and get your art in front of the right people online.

To sell prints on Etsy, you’re going to need to create an Etsy shop. Once you’re done doing that, you can proceed to list your products (do not forget to include the highest possible quality photos), and start marketing your work and raking in that cash. For those who do not know their way around marketing, fear not! Etsy has a variety of tools to help get your art in front of the right audience. Additionally, in terms of fees, the platform charges a nominal listing fee. If your art gets sold, you’ll have to pay a 5% transaction fee and a 3%+ $0.25 payment processing fee. There are also additional advertising fees if you want to promote your products on the Etsy platform or off-site.

Society6

If you want to see your art plastered on a huge variety of products, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place than Society6. This print-on-demand powerhouse has one of the largest product assortments in the industry, enabling customers to explore your art through a slew of categories, including furniture, technology, wall art, home decor, apparel, and more.

To start selling your art on Society6, you’ll need to create an account and upload your art to your artist’s shop. From there, you can select which categories you’d like your work to be featured on. You might have a design that’s perfect for apparel, a different one for phone cases, and so on.

And good news is that this platform is one of the easier places you can sell your art online. They fully take care of marketing, fulfillment, printing, and shipping. However, Society6 is not one of the most lucrative places; it’s more of a secondary-income kind of deal. Artists make 10% of every sale, but there are additional ways to drive revenue.

Photo by Felix Kolthoff 

FineArtAmerica

If versatility is what you’re after, consider looking at FineArtAmerica; one of the world's largest online marketplaces. Combining the traditional gallery model with print-on-demand offerings, this platform allows you to either sell your original work online or give people the option to have your art transformed into a T-shirt, a phone case, or a greeting card.

You start by opening an account, then uploading photos of your artwork, then choosing which products to feature, setting your prices, and you’re pretty much ready to go. In terms of pricing, FineArtAmerica sets a base price for each product. Then, you set a markup, which you get to keep when a sale is made. And for digital downloads, you get to keep 100% of your asking price. FineArtAmerica does ask you to add a 30% markup, which they get to keep as commission. And if you make a sale on an original piece of work, then that’s 100% of the sale made by you.

SaatchiArt

If you want to build up exposure, then Saatchi Art might be the place for you. The online art gallery and marketplace has a huge audience. Their website gets approximately 12 million page views and well over a million visitors each month, with a big social media following as well. It is safe to say that getting on Saatchi Art is going to help you gain a global following; the platform has sold to over 80 countries across the world.

To get started on Saatchi Art, all you have to do is create a profile, then photograph and upload your artwork. When selling a piece of work, you simply have to package it; the platform handles the shipping and takes a 35% commission on the sale.

Wirestock

Selling your photos, videos, and vector graphics has never been easier through Wirestock. The platform provides one-door access to the world’s largest stock photo and video marketplaces; this way you wouldn’t have to create a profile on each and every one. Additionally, Wirestock takes care of keywording and captioning for you, which is immense help considering it’s one of the most tedious components of trying to monetize your work. 

In addition to selling your photos online with Wirestock, you could also sell and buy prints directly from a free portfolio provided to you by the platform. The platform takes all the printing and shipping needs off your shoulders, with a 30% commission on earned royalties.

Steps to Take To Successfully Sell Art Prints Online

Photo by Dan Burton

Price it Right

When it comes to selling prints, pricing your listing is going to be tough. No matter what you set as the charge, you might get the feeling that it’s not enough; this is something you’ve poured your soul into after all. To optimally monetize your art it is generally recommended to distance yourself as much as possible from the work, act as though you’re an outsider looking in. An outside perspective, while a difficult skill to obtain, is key to understanding how much value a piece of art carries. And by no means do we suggest charging pennies, we simply urge you to be realistic.

When you’re just getting started and have zero sales history, your first hurdle is going to be changing those very facts. Put yourself in your customer’s position; would you purchase something off Etsy from someone with no previous sales? This is where you need to comfort your first buyers with a professional-looking presence—all your information filled out, clearly indicated return policies, an easily digestible price, etc. It’s worth noting that going with too low a price does not look particularly good either. Imagine coming across prints worth a couple bucks, you’d likely assume they were really bad quality, wouldn’t you?

After you’ve established yourself a little bit, you can increase your price a bit more and start to see more of that beer money rolling in.

Use Social Media to Boost Sales

There’s no avoiding it, if you want to sell prints online, it’s a whole lot easier if you employ the tools of social media to connect and engage with people who’ll buy your work (or, at the very least, help you sell it). And sure, social media can be a touchy subject among creative types, most of whom are happier in the studio than online. Will you be heard? Is it worth putting in the effort to build relationships through social media. Of course, the answer’s yes, if you go about it the right way.

The right way means finding the social media channels that work best for you. Be it Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you need to explore to see which one works best for you.

Get Creative with Promotions

Promoting your work does not necessarily equate to spending a hefty marketing budget nowadays. There are countless ways of marketing yourself online nowadays—creative routes of promoting your art or art business you should definitely take advantage of. And by creative, we do mean free. With so many things happening online, it’s more important than ever to leverage your expertise in the field. You could, for instance, start a blog, create videos, guest post on other blogs, join and participate in online forums, submit your blog posts to art directories and so on. If taken seriously, these approaches will definitely pay off in the long run.