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Photo Contest Insider Blog

How Photographers Can Run a Successful Etsy Store

February 26, 2017

So you’ve been wondering how to sell your photography prints on Etsy? Are you at the skill level with your photography where your friends and family are repeatedly telling you how your photos are amazing and that they want prints to display in their homes? Etsy is one of those places to make this goal happen for you.

Create your own online shop and sell your photography on Etsy. It’s not at all complicated and the amount of time and effort you put into it will reflect on your success rate.

How to Start an Etsy Shop to Sell Photography


  • Sign-up/Create your shop
  • Set Up Listings
  • Create a Banner
  • Research Keywords and SEO
  • Determine Distribution Methods
  • Explore Product Offerings

 How Photographers can run a Successful Etsy Store

These are the first things to consider and the general steps you need to take to put your art prints or products for sale. If you plan and follow some basic tips, you raise your chances of making your shop successful and consequently profitable.

How to Start Your Very Own Etsy Shop

The good thing about Etsy is that it is quite easy to set up and get going selling photos online. Of course, some planning needs to be done before you can actually sell photography art on Etsy, but essentially they make it easy for you to organize your shop and get set-up for your first customers. You want those sales orders to start pouring in, right?

Your shop will be featured among other sellers’ shops who are selling photography art. There’s a lot of competition on these websites, and Etsy is one of the top go-to online markets for photographers who want to sell photography prints. Being that you will be competing with many others who are just as talented as you, you may want to take some time to think about how you can be different. You want to make your shop stand out to get buyers to notice you and your Etsy prints or products.

Whether you want to do this as a hobby to create some extra cash, or you are seriously considering making it your main source of income, the steps to getting started are the same. The amount of time you put into your Etsy shop afterward is up to you and will reflect on your overall sales and success. The amount of research, preparation and attention to detail you give to your shop will make all the difference.

Now let’s take a look at these tips and go through each one so that you can sell your art and maybe even become one of Etsy’s top sellers. Etsy has more than 30 million buyers worldwide – and all of them are looking for original, unique items just like yours.

How Photographers can run a Successful Etsy Store

Sign-up/Create your Shop

The first thing you need to do is sign up and create an account with Etsy. You will then be guided through the Etsy Shop creation process. Choose a name for your shop that will fit well with your photography and with you.

If you are finding it difficult to find an original name for your shop (because Etsy will not allow 2 shops with the same name), try adding words like “studio” or “atelier”.

Etsy is a marketplace for creatives and artists selling their art. You can find shops for unique jewelry, hand-made sustainable clothing, various collectibles, and of course photography. You will set up your shop under the “arts & collectibles” category in the “photography” department.

Answer all the required questions, like location and currency, regarding your shop so that you can be placed in the appropriate groupings. You will also be asked about your payment method preferences and billing method.

Etsy has a small monthly fee attached to each listing and then a 3.5% transaction fee when a sale is made.

Voila, you’re now a registered shop owner on Etsy!

Set Up Listings

You are now ready to stock your shop with items to sell. You may want to sell framed prints, laminated prints, canvas printed photographs, photo books, or whatever else related to your photography. You choose what you want to sell.

Select clear and high-resolution product images to display each product. Being a photographer, we’re sure you won’t have any problems here.

It’s very important to describe each item individually with a specific title for each. Think about what buyers would type into a search engine if they were looking to purchase your item online. Color, dimensions, mood, and material are all things that you should use very well defined descriptive words for.

You will then have a series of drop-down menus that will position your listing within specific categories and sub-categories. You will need to select the attributes that best describe your products and photos.

Next, you need to set prices and add shipping details to your listing. If you aren’t sure how to price your art and shipping costs, take a look at other photographers to analyze price ranges so that you can apply competitive prices to your images.

A listing stays active for four months or until it is sold.


How Photographers can run a Successful Etsy Store

Create a Banner

This is an important design feature that lets you put your best foot forward. This is where you want to showcase your best photographs so buyers can get a feel for your style and what you are selling. This is like the window to your virtual store. You want to attract as many potential clients as possible to come into your shop and browse.

Keywords and SEO

We can’t stress this enough, but getting the perfect keywords into your listing is crucial for driving visitors to your shop. Etsy has a helpful tools and guides section to help you understand the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It may sound a tad grueling at first, but once you get the hang of it, the keywords will come to you easily.

Add as many tags as possible that best describe your product and that you think shoppers are typing in search engines when looking for your specific images.

Is it a black & white photo of a dog in a park printed on a 5” x 5” canvas? Make sure to tag as many of these words as possible.

Distribution Methods

Next comes the logistics of getting your products to the customers. You will need a shipping method to get your prints to their respective buyers. You can print, frame, produce and ship your products yourself or use a dropship service that will do the work for you and get the item to your customer. This is a growing trend in the industry and cuts back on your production time. Research the different companies that offer dropshipping and choose one that best suits your needs and budget.


You can simply sell printed photographs on photo paper or you can get as creative as you want. You can offer framed photos, photo books, or even printed items. A mug with your favorite winter scene sold during the holiday season can be a great gift giving idea! You may even want to look at what products other photographers are selling to help you with your decisions. Don’t imitate though, be as authentic as you can.

You can even sell stock photos of your images in your Etsy shop. Look at what prices stock photo websites are charging to set your own prices. Try to be competitive, but don’t undersell yourself. You can sell exclusive photographs or offer bundle prices where the client gets to select a range of images.


How Photographers can run a Successful Etsy Store

Start Getting Those Sales!

Once your shop is live and you are pleased with the way it looks and your products are showcased in a knowledgeable way, you need to drive traffic to it.

Etsy shoppers are looking for unique, original art for themselves or for gifts. Remember to try to stand out from the crowd as much as possible. If your shop and your work looks generic it will slip through the cracks and not do very well.

Get creative and spend time making sure that tags and keywords are good and change them if you have to according to the seasons or holidays.

You will want to use social media outlets like Facebook to promote your shop and also ask your friends and family to do the same. Try to bring as many potential shoppers to your store as possible. Go through the seller’s handbook on Etsy to get information that will help you with the marketing of your shop.

Also, remember that happy customers oftentimes become repeat customers. Treat your shop like a true business and keep a professional demeanor with your shoppers. Answer promptly and make sure you have trustworthy shipping methods. Customers can leave reviews on your shop and you definitely want these to be as positive as possible.

The more time you spend in your shop making sure that it is well represented, the more traffic you will drive to your products and raise the chances of making potential sales.

Maybe you will want to start small and build it over time, or you may want to go all in from the start. There is no magic recipe for succeeding on Etsy, every shopkeeper is different and it’s up to each one to work in the best way that suits their lifestyles.

Some photographers make a decent living wage selling on Etsy. These photographers see it as a full-time job and apply all the necessary hours needed to make it successful. It is definitely possible to make good money selling prints on Etsy, but remember the competition is extremely high so you need to work hard to stand out and make yourself unique.



How Photographers can run a Successful Etsy Store

Now You’re a REAL Pro Photographer!

Selling your first print will bring an excitement like no other! You will then feel like you have finally made it and the sky is the limit. This is not the time to sit back and relax. Be patient and spend time fine tuning your shop until you have those several first sales. You may make some mistakes, but try to learn from them. Your distribution method may also need tweaking as you gain experience. Try to turn buyers into repeat customers by being polite and professional in your interactions.

You have complete control over the look of your shop and basically how well it does. SEO, keywords, and marketing are not to be downplayed if you absolutely want your Etsy shop to be successful.

Imagine seeing your photographs hanging in a restaurant or in a local spa! Get your Etsy shop up and running and start selling your photos, getting those good reviews, and building your business. Making money from something that you love doing is priceless.



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