Selling photos online

The Statistics

It is safe to say that we live in an online world. In 2007 nearly 15 million households (61%) in the UK had internet access (source) and in 2003 62 million households (55%) in the US had web connected computers (source).

Selling your photos online is a great idea. It provides your existing customers with an easy way of browsing their prints and purchasing them. However whilst expanding your business online can offer many opportunities and benefits, it can also provide headaches, pitfalls and risks.

Potential Benefits

  • The web offers a “potential” world wide audience
  • The web is a convenient, no pressure medium for your customers to browse and purchase your photos
  • Being able to receive payment more quickly from online transactions.
  • Inexpensive way to reach new markets and interact with them
  • A sign of professionalism

Potential Headaches

  • Finding an affordable and reliable web hosting provider
  • Developing your photography website (style, technologies, approach)
  • Developing shopping carts and ordering systems
  • Integrating with online payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal
  • Ongoing maintenance

As you can see there are some very compelling reasons to go online. I’ve already spoken about some of the costs associated with running a photography business which include the time spent managing orders, sales and payments particularly for event and school photographers. If done properly, going online can greatly reduce the time spent on this part of your photography business.

My personal view is that within the next 2-3 years, maybe sooner, at least 60% of professional and serious amateur photographers will be selling their photography online. I’d even go so far as to say that the current “teen generation” of the western world will expect everything at their finger tips, instant gratification and a photographer that can shoot their wedding, senior photos, party, graduation, glamour portraits or what have you and then provide an “online shop” for them to browse, choose print sizes, paper types, colour styles and then pay with their credit chip!

Written by

Derek is Engineering Czar and Co-founder of Fotomerchant. He once picked up a camera and started shooting but everyone screamed so he stopped.