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2021/02/27 20:05 · thegarnet

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Selling Prints Online

How does a photographer begin selling their pictures online as prints? One of the many choices that comes up is SmugMug. I know professional photographers who sell a few prints through it, but they say they dont sell too many. But they probably don’t do a lot to push the exposure of their SmugMug site. What if you want to do more to market your prints, like through Facebook ads, Google Ads, landing pages, or creating a subscription prints service?

Some photographer blogs, such as Ken Rockwell say that being a photographer is a lower paying job than almost any other. Its not making good photos that sells. It is marketing the great photos that sells. It is all about the self promotion, and setting yourself apart.

So what are the choices to pursue more aggressive marketing of your art?

Private notes:

  • Features no one has thought of in the existing photographer platforms
  • Manually operating an affiliates program

Some of my example galleries

How to evaluate an online art prints sales choice

  • How easy is it to put the pictures online?
  • How do people find your pictures? Search engine with tagging? Only your own visitors see your pictures, or is there a global marketplace offered on the site to let other visitors find your work?
  • Can you build your own email list from the site?
  • Getting others to market your art - Is there an affiliate program? Multiple level affiliate program such as two level?
  • Costs? Setup fees? Monthly fees? Commissions on sales?
  • How many pics can you put on for free to try out? What features do you lose in the free try out?
  • What is the profit model? How does the artist get paid?


  • Use a photo hosted platform like SmugMug, and try to do the affiliates program entirely outside of SmugMug
  • Use Wordpress with plugins for ecommerce (e.g. woocommerce) and print-on-demand
  • Go with a gallery software like PIWIGO and write plugins for ecommerce / print-on-demand / affiliate tracking
  • Write a completely custom gallery software targetted at Lightroom Classic users that includes workflow including LR
    • Best option in terms of building in an affiliate program, funnel tracking, etc., right at the base
    • How realistic is the option of an affiliate program motivating others to go out and sell an artists photos?
      • Most existing affiliate programs are very small percentages, 10% or less
      • Training: How will you train salespeople to effectively sell memberships to the photogallery

Totally Do It Yourself Art Print Sales

One possibility is to buy your own wide format printer, create your own portfolio book of prints, and start selling them in the real world: Showing the portfolio book to real people in real life, getting their reactions, asking for the sale. This is guerilla, boots on the ground, marketing at it’s simplest.

One photographer I know is always advising “Think Big!” As in wall sized prints. He wants to someday afford wall sized metal prints of his own work.

What about software?

  • You will need art gallery software.
  • You will need e-commerce software, payment gateways
    • Sales tax calculation (ArtSpan advertises that they worry about this)
  • eMail marketing - MailChimp, Constant Contact, or self managed such as Sendy
  • Affiliate tracking system?
  • Custoemr relationship management system
  • Backend system for tracking fulfillment

Image Security

Color1Photo touts their “IMAGE SECURITY YOU CAN TRUST”

  • No Right-Clicking - Your images are protected.
  • Watermarks - Protect Image Previews with Watermarks. Create your own custom watermarks.
  • Resolution - The software automatically creates a very small version of your image file for web viewing.
  • Amazon Web Services - We use Amazon Web Services for safe file storage.

Make sure that any image that can be downloaded does not have adequate resolution for a quality print, so nobody will make any money off your work.

Affiliate softwares

Good article about what is affiliate marketing from the point of the affiliate network:

  • A more embedded offering of affiliate products, 20% commission, and keeping traffic on own site instead of sending to the affiliate site

  • Pay per lead affiliate network

Article - How to add an affiliate or referral program to a wordpress site

  • Discusses the basics of affiliate or referral program
  • Mentions affiliate plugins
    • Affiliates Manager Plugin
    • Ultimate affiliate pro Wordpress plugin
    • AffiliateWP plugin
  • How to setup the affiliate or referral program on WordPress

LeadDyno affiliate solution - How To Start An Affiliate Program

    • Always unlimited affiliates
    • supports multi level - “Multi-level marketing is a popular way to incentivize affiliates to recruit other affiliates by giving them additional credit for any purchases their sub-affiliates generated. LeadDyno supports multi-level marketing up to 10 levels.”
    • $49 per month minimum
    • $59/mo. if 4500 unique visitors per month
    • $79/mo. for 7500 unique visitors per month

Useful queries:

  • add affiliate program to your site

Shopping Carts / ECommerce Software

OSI Affiliate says it includes tracking up to 200 affiliates for $47/month -

NOTE: Read this more indepth to get all the options listed here… Good article on choices: eCommerce for photographers -

  • Indepth info on WooCommerce
  • NextGen Pro - $139 - Wordpress plugin offering print lab interface - NextGEN Pro is now the ONLY WordPress plugin with automatic print lab fulfillment (meaning that when someone orders a print on your site, a professional print lab will automatically print that image and ship it directly to them, without you having to get involved in the process, as opposed to traditional “self-fulfillment” methods).
  • Basic review of a large number of photography portfolio sites


Useful queries:

  • Need to try:
    • fine art print-on-demand
  • Tried:
    • open source photography gallery with print-on-demand


  • Why is BayPhotoLab not coming up in print-on-demand lists? Is it because they focus only on photoprint fullfilment?
  • Remember to compare costco pricing to BayPhotoLab - Big different: CostCo will not drop ship

Fullfillment Vendors - in Seattle Washington

  • Free upload library
  • Products include fine art prints, photo prints, metal prints, acrylic prints, canvas prints, and more.
  • Offers sales website: Uses ArtStoreFronts, branded shipping

Best Print-on-Demand websites: The Definitive 2020 Guide -

  • Note that many of these are about printing on all kinds of products other than making fine art prints
  • In-depth descriptions of the alternatives: What to expect, profit margin explained, how to get paid, initial investment, design ownership, ranking
  • End focus is on t-shirt marketing
  • Article mentions:
    • Bonfire
    • Redbubble
    • Teespring
    • Society6
    • Spreadshirt
    • TeePublic
    • Threadless
    • Zazzle
    • Teefury
    • Design by Humans
    • SunFrog
    • Printful

Print on demand websites for photographers -

  • Article mentions:
    • Red Bubble
    • Zazzle
    • Fine Art America
    • Society6
    • Printer's Studio
    • CowCow
    • Deviant Art

Other possibilities:

  • BayPhotoLab
  • AllInOne - mentioned elsewhere on this page

Integrated partners:

    • Basic - use their printlab? Might not offer right click protection, may need power - $55 annual
    • Power - $85 annual
    • Portfolio - fulfill with BayPhoto, options for frames, mets - $200 year
    • Pro - allow assistants access - $360/yr.
  • - Works with BayPhoto
    • Allows mix of self fullfilment / labs
    • 1500 photos - $10/mo.
    • 5000 photos - $20/mo
    • 100 photo plan - Free - But it says it is a 14 day trial
    • $0 option takes 15% sales commission - unlimited galleries
    • Collects email from visitors
    • Testimonials
    • Strong marketing
    • works with clients of photographer
      • Client galleries
      • Album proofing comments
      • Client photo selections
    • Art Galleries



Set commission, like 25%

Wall Art -

Ratio In inches In pixels
1:1* 24' x 24'* 7200px x 7200px*
3:2* 30' x 20'* 9000px x 6000px*
4:3* 32' x 24'* 9600px x 7200px*
—– 8' x 10' 2400px x 3000px
—– 11' x 14' 3300px x 4200px
—– 16' x 20' 4800px x 6000px
—– 20' x 24' 6000px x 7200px

* Those ratios can be sized down, but the specified sizes are the biggest available since your artwork must display correctly up to those sizes.




  • Less expensive than ASF. Claims ASF wants $2800 for AR feature!
  • Also includes an AR function like ASF
  • Comparison of costs:
    • Artspan has a 30 day free trial and the three plans are all-inclusive. No extra charges for any feature. Cost of the plans is $8.30, $16.60 and $24.90/month. NO set-up fee.
      • $20/mo - 150 artworks
      • $10/mo - 21 artworks
    • FASO pricing: from $8 Intro Plan to $35/month. Free trial. No set-up.
    • ASF has a set-up charge from $1,000 to $2,800 and a monthly fee of $44 to $59/month. Commissions on art sold run from 5% to 15%.
    • Squarespace: monthly fees are $8.00 to $40/month. Ecommerce enabled sites are $26 to $40. See Trustpilot for reviews. Users have found the set-up to be difficult.

Example product:

ASF: ArtStoreFronts

  • Advantages
    • Trying to provide all in one solution including marketing training
    • Education that can probably be applied to other sites - Of course they are very big on their Augmented Reality AR showing what your prints look like on the customers wall, and having a smooth shopping cart experience.

Others commenting on ArtStoreFronts experience

Breakthrough Prints Monthly Subscription And Commission Structure

business/art/selling_prints_online/start.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/06 20:22 (external edit)