How to Sell Photographs Online with WordPress.com

If you’re an avid photographer, you may be wondering how to transform your passion into a full-time business. Or, at the very least, make some extra cash from your hobby. If you’ve considered starting a website to sell your photographs before now, you’ve probably run into a few blockers. How will you get your photography seen? How will you sell it successfully? How much do you need to invest to hit the ground running?

…the list of questions and concerns goes on.

The good news is that with a WordPress.com website, it’s easy to go further than just displaying your photographs in an online portfolio. Instead, WordPress provides everything you need to share your masterpieces with a community and generate revenue.

Sound good? Below, we’ll dig deeper into how to sell photographs online with WordPress.com. Let’s dive in!

How to Sell Photographs Online: Find Your Niche

Before building your photography website, consider your work. The photography market is a saturated one. So finding a niche to hone in on is imperative to success. From there, you can tailor your artwork and website to engage with a more specific audience. This makes it way easier to market your work to exactly the kinds of people who’ll love your photography, and with a bit of luck, open their wallets to buy some!

At this point, it’s worth noting that there’s more than one way to sell your photography. Among the possible ways you could start earning from you work are:

  • The news:  If you like photographing events in your local area, or if your photography resonates with current affairs, news outlets might be interested in your photographs. 
  • Art-lovers: While the market for prints is saturated, countless people still love hanging photography on their walls. If artistic photography is your thing, try to identify consistent themes in your work. By appealing to a specific subject matter or style, you’ll find it easier to identify your audience amongst art lovers.
  • Portraits: Family, professional, baby, and/or pet portraits are always a sought-after service. If you’re great at portrait photography, why not use a WordPress.com website to sell your skills locally?
  • Product photos: Nowadays, launching a side hustle seems to be the norm. Consequently, the demand for stunning product photography is at an all-time high. For online selling success, budding entrepreneurs must showcase their offers in the best possible light. So, suppose you have a knack for arranging, snapping and editing objects in a way that’s enticing to shoppers. In that case, you could easily promote yourself as a product photographer.
  • Stock Photography: Stock photography is everywhere. Bloggers frequently use high-quality royalty-free imagery to add a striking visual element to their written content. Stock photos are often sold on websites like Shutterstock, Unsplash, Can Stock Photo, Stocksy, iStockphoto, Eyeem, Alamy, Microstock, Dreamstime, Getty, and Adobe Stock (now Fotolia). However, you can also sell stock photography from your website and start building a business licensing your photographs.
Unsplash

Once you’ve noted a few ideas for where your photography could find potential buyers, research this niche in more detail. More specifically, you’ll want to see how many people search on Google for the kinds of pieces you’re selling. The easiest way to get this info is Google Analytics’ keyword planner. Head over there and type in a few relevant keywords to compare their popularity. Ideally, you want a niche that attracts lots of searches with low competition. In the long run, this makes it much easier to rank your web pages for keywords relating to your niche.

How to Sell Photographs Online: Research Your Niche

Once you’ve picked a niche, it’s time to do some homework. Each niche comes with unwritten rules regarding what sells and what doesn’t. For example, when it comes to photography prints, the best-selling photos include landscapes, iconic cityscapes, famous places, abstracts, wildlife, and nature. 

So, do some snooping and identify successful photography sites in your niche and learn from them. What does their website look like? What work seems to be selling best? How do they market themselves? How do they describe their products?

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. As you go about your research, create a checklist so that your website, products, marketing, etc., reflects these standards when you launch your online business.

How to Sell Photographs Online: Using Your Own Site vs. Stock Agencies

You might be wondering whether selling photography via a stock photo site is the easier option. Thousands of professional photographers have chosen this method to make money online. At first glance, stock sites appear to have some advantages:

  • It’s often cheap or even free to get started with selling photographs on places like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock.
  • You’re showcasing your work in front of customers who are already actively looking for it.
  • It’s easier to gauge the average sale price for the kind of photography you’re selling.
  • .Licensing and payment processing is handled by the stock site.
  • After uploading your photos there isn’t much extra work to do.

But stock sites also come with drawbacks. In the long-run, we believe you’re better served with your own photography website. Here’s why:

  • With your own website, you keep 100% of the profits you generate. There aren’t any hefty platform fees or commission payouts to worry about. 
  • It’s easier to build an online community that’s interested in your work rather than having to compete with everyone else on the platform.
  • You have full control over how your products are sold, what services you offer, and how you display and promote your work.
  • The truth is, stock photo websites are often so saturated that you still need to do lots of marketing to stand out. If you’re having to make an effort to bring in your own customers, why not direct them to your own site instead?
  • With your own website, you can run a blog to provide consistent social media content from one place.
  • It’s easier to establish and build a brand with your own site.

Overall, a high-quality portfolio website lends your brand far more credibility than a stock photography site. Your site can act as both an online store and a virtual business card. Here, it’s easy to successfully introduce yourself, your photographs, and any other services you want to offer.

WordPress.com might take a little more initial setting up, but with beautiful design themes, the intuitive Block Editor, and done-it-for-you design patterns you can still quickly get started with selling photos online. The big difference is that once you’re set up, your WordPress.com site costs a predictable flat fee per month, no matter how many photos you sell.

Why is WordPress.com Ideal for Selling Photographs Online?

WordPress.com is one of the most flexible platforms for creating your online store and photography portfolio – it’s both easy to get started, but flexible enough to grow with you. With the intuitive setup wizard, you can have your site up and running within minutes. All web hosting and security are handled for you, so there’s no need to worry about that. Plus, WordPress.com boasts the in-built eCommerce tools you need to start displaying and selling your photos. 

Best of all, on the eCommerce plan, your site comes with 200GB of storage, which is room for nearly 40,000 18 megapixel photos. Not to mention, should you run into trouble, expert support is available 24/7. On top of that, WordPress.com’s eCommerce plan comes with two quick-start sessions to help you get up and running as smoothly as possible. 

WordPress.com boasts hundreds of customizable templates, or “Themes,” explicitly designed to cater to the needs of specific industry types – and photography is no exception. There are over 92 photography-related themes (48 of which are free!), so you’re bound to find a layout that suits you best. Once you’ve settled on a theme, you can tweak it to your heart’s content using WordPress.com’s intuitive web page editor.  

WordPress Photography Templates

How to Sell Photographs Online: Displaying Your Photographs

Now that you’ve chosen a niche, identified your audience, and have a website, it’s time to populate your site with content. Naturally, the most important content is the photographs themselves, which should be front and center. 

However, your “Contact” section and “About Page” shouldn’t be neglected. These pages provide website visitors with essential information. They are likely to prompt the visitor to engage with your site – whether that’s making a purchase or contacting you.

Display your photography on your website’s homepage, and ensure your niche is immediately apparent to your visitors. This means your photos should be consistent in style and subject matter. Failure to do this may confuse buyers and result in them clicking off your site. 

First impressions count. When website visitors first stumble across your site, you want to wow them! Making your work as attractive as possible is the easiest way to achieve this. Your photos should be large and high enough quality to provide an excellent user experience, but not so huge that they’ll take ages to load. 

Tip: Be a little cautious with watermarks; only use them where they’re indispensable! Google doesn’t like watermarked images and will often push them further down their search results.

When it comes to publishing work on your site, think like an editor. Only display your best pieces that would be seen as ‘valuable.’ Your store and portfolio should be highly curated. As the age-old adage goes: it’s about quality, not quantity.

Also, don’t forget to include image alt-text and descriptions with your photos. Not only is this great for SEO, but it also makes your website more accessible.

How to Sell Photographs Online: Pricing Your Work

Creatives of all types often struggle with pricing their work. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Only you know how much it costs to create your photographs. Do you rent out studio space? Obtain new objects and props for your sets? Do you hire actors to create stock images? And if you sell prints, how much will the printing and shipping set you back? Are you selling unique, limited edition prints? 

The answers to questions like these will help you figure out a fair price for your work. For example, stock photography won’t cost anything to reproduce – you can sell licenses repeatedly. As such, you’re better positioned to offer these kinds of products at a considerably cheaper rate.

Tip: Don’t try to be cheaper than everyone else at the expense of jeopardizing your work quality! Shoddy work appears unprofessional. Instead, ask for a fair price so that you can create a premium product worthy of the price tag. 

For further guidance on pricing your work, photography websites in your niche to get a sense of the going rate for the products you’re selling. Etsy is full of photography listings, so this is a great starting point.You can use these figures as a template for your own pricing strategy, adjusting them up or down depending on your costs and demand. Don’t forget, WooCommerce enables you to create customer coupons, so you can always throw in special offers further down the line.

How to Sell Photographs Online: Tips for Your Photography Website

When signing up to WordPress.com, we recommend choosing at least the Business plan. This unlocks the ability to install and use robust plugins to help with your marketing, SEO, online selling efforts – to name a few! 

WordPress pricing plans

As well as that, here are a few other tips to help your photography website stand out:

WooCommerce

The WooCommerce plugin is the easiest way for WordPress site users to design a digital storefront and start selling photos online. With its integrated shopping cart and a wide array of store management tools, WooCommerce provides everything you need to start selling physical and digital products. You can accept customer payments from all major credit and debit cards, Google and Apple Pay, and, of course, PayPal.   

Applying Tags

In your WordPress media library, you can apply tags to your photos. This is great for introducing relevant keywords into your content for search engines to pick up. To make the most out of this SEO opportunity, keep your tags keyword-focused and straightforward.

Start Blogging

Writing keyword-inclusive and engaging content is excellent for drawing traffic to your site and engaging customers with your pics. 

Unlike stock platforms, your WordPress.com site already benefits from the world’s top blogging platform. This makes it quick and easy to establish a high-quality blog alongside your photo site.

How to Sell Photographs Online: Promote Your Business and Build an Audience

No matter the type of online business, your success hinges on your marketing efforts. If you’re unsure where to start with online marketing, here are some pointers:

Social Media

Social media platforms are excellent for engaging directly with potential customers and building rapport with your current following. You can use WordPress in conjunction with JetPack Publicize. This tool comes with advanced social media and social sharing functionality suitable for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. WooCommerce also comes with a Facebook extension that allows you to display and sell images directly through Facebook.

However, when sharing social media content, be sure to keep in mind these best practices:

  • Always include visuals with your posts. As a passionate photographer, this should be easy for you!
  • Keep your content relevant and provide value. Answer common questions and find solutions to your audience’s pain points. This works wonders for establishing yourself as an industry authority. 
  • Share your expertise freely to establish yourself as a credible professional.

Email

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways of promoting your brand, with some marketers earning as much as $42 back for every $1 spent. That’s a fantastic return on investment you just can’t ignore. To enhance your email marketing, download and use an email marketing plugin on your WordPress site. Tons of platforms provide advanced email tools, including email marketing automation and purpose-fitted email templates. Please note, many of these come at an extra cost, but some, like MailChimp, offer a free plan.

WordPress also integrates with Klaviyo, Mailster, MailPoet – amongst many others. So, do your research and find an email marketing plugin that best suits your needs.

Once you’ve done that, and before you can start sending email campaigns, you’ll have to build an email list. So be sure to have a subscription form on your site where visitors can opt to receive newsletters from you. 

Not everyone likes giving out their email addresses, so present an incentive for signing up, AKA a lead magnet. This could be a small bundle of digital photos, a downloadable photo print, a photography tutorial guide, etc. Give some thought to what your audience wants, and take it from there. 

Are You Ready to Sell Photos Online with WordPress.com?

Selling your own photos online to generate a passive income doesn’t need to be complicated. WordPress.com makes it easy to launch a first-rate online portfolio that can be expanded into a fully-fledged online storefront (using plugins like WooCommerce).

It takes time to build an audience. But don’t let that put you off; you stand every chance of being successful. Consistency is critical, so keep up your marketing efforts, produce high-quality images, and maintain your blog. Once you get the ball rolling, your customer base should grow exponentially. 

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make money by transforming your photography hobby into a photography business with WordPress.com. Sign up for a free account today to get started!

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The WordPress.com Team

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