Aspiring photographers know that making a break in the business can be hard to do. Thankfully with the revolution in online commerce it is easier than ever to set up as a professional photographer and start selling your pictures. However, while it is easy to set up this system, it is hard to do in a successful way. One of the most common places for selling artwork, particularly photographs, is Etsy.
Etsy is an online peer-to-peer based global community of buying and selling. Creative entrepreneurs set up their own “shops” and sell their unique products. Popularity of shops are based mostly on product and customer reviews. It can be a difficult endeavor to begin, but the thrill of success is so worth it.
That’s why we’ve assembled a list of tips for selling photography on Etsy.
Tip 1: Quality is Everything
Art purchases are rarely necessities. Therefore people are willing to spend their time and pick a photograph or print that really strikes them. In order to get the best results you should know your market. Make sure that you have an audience in mind when taking photographs so that you can be sure that you will be producing something that people want to buy. This is the most important of the tips for selling photography on Etsy.
In order to do this most effectively, choose your audience first. Do you want to create artwork for children? Are you targeting college-aged girls? Maybe you like to create photography for the comic-book loving guys? Whatever strikes your fancy, go hard or go home. Go all in for that audience. Learn what they like, what is trending, what is hot and what is not. Then, base your creations off of those trends. Your sales will reflect your research.
Tip 2: Plan Plan Plan
Selling photos and prints on Etsy involves more than just taking the picture and putting it online. You should know how your prints will be made. Are you going to do it or will you leave the printing to someone else? There are a variety of options that Etsy sellers usually offer. Sometimes Etsy shops will provide printing for a higher fee. Other shops do not offer printing, but will offer the digital download so that it can be printed at home or locally.
Others offer both options – whichever the buyer prefers. These printing preferences become especially important when creating photography that may be used for wedding programs, invitations, cards, etc. What kinds of frames will you offer or will you offer frames, envelopes, or other wanted accessories? How are you going to ship? Where are you going to store your stock? These are all vital questions to answer, as they all shape your ability not only to sell on Etsy, but also to ensure you are making a profit doing so.
Tip 3: Test, Evaluate, Retry
Science is useful for more than making photographs! By employing the scientific method of testing, evaluating your test results, and adjusting your approach, you can find the sweet spot for your market. Maybe your material sells better at certain times of the year than others. Or maybe you get better results when your image is shown in a display setting rather than just the image itself. The only way to find out is to get out there are test the waters. Take notes on how you’ve changed things so you can see if your changes to your marketing are effective. Remember, no market is the same and by doing this you can make sure you are operating at the highest possible level within your niche.
As mentioned earlier, popularity is usually based in customer reviews in the Etsy world. Encourage your buyers to provide feedback so that you can learn and grown and be able to best provide for your chosen audience. Be approachable. Be respectful. Understand that not everything is personal. It seems that Etsy artists may fall prey to taking customer complaints more personally due to the fact that this is something you personally created. Try to remember that you are part of a business. Learn from comments and reviews. Do not let them get you down, only build you up for greater success as you continue to evolve as an entrepreneur.
Tip 4: Advertise Your Artwork
Advertising is a major key in any retail work! You already know HOW to do this… you are an artist. Put your creative mind to work. Just because your art looks fabulous in person, does not necessarily mean that everyone else will see it the way you do from the other side of the computer screen. You have to make them see it the way you want them to see it. Perception is reality. You want your viewers to perceive your art as a masterpiece. Put in the work to do so. When you post the photos of your artwork on your Etsy shop, make sure you are showing it in the best lighting, with the best filters, in the best brightness and contrast, with the best backdrop, etc.
Use artsy backdrops to display your work. Instead of showing a picture of your art against your raggedy carpet, pair the art against a trendy printed overlay or on your gorgeous marble table top. Use the resources you have available to your advantage. Never assume that the art will sell itself, you have to advertise it well to sell it. On the flip side, do not make your art look like something it’s not. I do not condone “catfish” Etsy selling.
Tip 5: Create Meaningful Relationships with Customers
Arguably one of the most important tips for selling anything on Etsy is to create meaningful and quality relationships with the buyers. I am an avid Etsy shopper, so I have great advice for you on this topic. Take it from someone who your business depends on, the buyer. Money talks, eh? The trick with Etsy is that there are so many shops that sell similar items. How do you make your shop stand out? I’ll tell you a little story from my personal experience… I think it will help you understand…
I am planning my wedding currently. Yay! Eeek! Congrats! Exciting, right? I am relying heavily on Etsy artwork to use as subtle details and wedding décor. Like I said earlier, so many shops sell similar items. The determining factor to how likely I am to buy from a shop has been how personable the seller makes an effort to be. Some shop owners will send a private message and ask what I plan to use their product for, and I consider this effort so meaningful! There is just something so kindhearted about that. When I tell the shop owner that I plan to use their work for my wedding day- they generally get excited and congratulate me. We start a mini-relationship. It creates a deeper appreciation from me, the buyer, for the Etsy seller’s artwork and of them for my purchase. It creates a story that can be told later. Such as, “Yes, I design photography for brides.” Or, “I bought my wedding designs from “so and so’s” Etsy shop.” It creates the perfect advertisement in a meaningful, quality, and personal way. I truly believe this is the most important aspect of being a successful seller in any industry.
As you can see there are plenty of things you can do to sell your photos. We hope that these tips for selling photography on Etsy will help you move prints out the door as fast as you can make them! We can sum this article up with a quote by Imogen Cunningham to leave you inspired.
“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I am going to take tomorrow.”
Whether you are just getting started or a seasoned professional, there is ever room to improve. Let these tips for selling photography on Etsy encourage you today.