Amazon photography should be a thing right? After all, they sell just about anything else you could think of. You’ve taken so many gorgeous photos and now you want to try to make some money from them. So how do you go about selling your photos on Amazon?
The short of it is Amazon is not photographer friendly. Sure they sell products like canvases and metal prints with photos on it, but the companies that do so don’t appear to create their own work. These companies mass produce any sort of photograph, animation, or painting that they can get their hands on. So where does that leave you? You didn’t spend all this time taking nice photos to practically give it away to another company to sell on Amazon photography.
Prints, Canvases & Wall Art
Do a search of Amazon photography and you’ll be unsatisfied with their results. Amazon photography seems to be composed entirely of mass-produced photographs, computer graphics, and paintings acquired by a few large corporations. These images are slapped on canvases, posters and framed prints without even crediting the artist behind the creation. That’s not how art should be sold. There is no way to sell your image on Amazon as prints, canvases, or any other wall art. Even if they did offer that option, your image would quickly be buried in the 400+ pages of results. There would be no way to differentiate your photography other than adding 20 tag words describing your image in the title of your art piece on sale.
Amazon photography isn’t a real department on the Amazon website, so you can imagine how difficult it would be to sell your art on this site. Since prints are out of the question, your next thought naturally would be to look into digital photography sales. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Amazon does not sell digital images. There would be a host of issues surrounding selling digital images including deciding whether or not to offer refunds and the risk of someone uploading very poor quality images that are out of focus or terrible resolution. Amazon would also then have to prevent crooks from uploading images found online and selling it as their own work. That already sounds like a nightmare.
The only Amazon photography option left is photo books. You can take the time to hand select your best photos and combine them into a hardcover book to sell on Amazon. The trouble with this option is you need to find a manufacturer that will physically create the book for you before you order the books in bulk. Then you need a place to store the books. There is no guarantee that your book will even sell after putting this cost in upfront. Photography books are hard to sell when billions of images can be found for free online within seconds. So what options do you have left if Amazon photography is non-existent?
The good news is there are many alternative sites that allow you to sell your photography. Most of these sites are designed specifically for photographers. These sites will show your photos in a format that appeals to clients looking to purchase photos.
Etsy is an excellent alternative to Amazon photography. It is the perfect place for crafters and small businesses alike. Setting up your shop is simple and you can have your items listed and ready for sale in no time! There are a few fees to be aware of before signing up. Each item for sale will cost you $0.20US, and lasts up to. Etsy also charges a 3-4% payment processing fee and a 5% commission fee. However you get to choose what each image sells for, so price your photos to include those fees. Sell your image in any format: canvases, metal prints, framed prints or digital copies. Unfortunately, the platform is not integrated with a print shop. You will need to track and manually order images at a professional printer. You are also responsible for packaging and shipping the prints yourself.
Stock Photography Sites (500px, Shutterstock, Ghetty Images etc)
These sites are designed for selling photography where Amazon photography isn’t. They showcase beautiful images by some very savvy photographers. Unlike Etsy, there is no fee to upload photos on sites like 500px. However, the free accounts might come with restrictions such as limiting the number of photos you can upload per week. Of course, you can also pay a monthly fee and get unlimited access. Unfortunately, you don’t get to control what your image sells for. The amount of money you earn might depend on the number of companies looking to pay for your image. Selling your images on stock photography sites is only possible with the meticulous use of keywords. If you choose to sell your image exclusively on one of these sites, you’re usually able to earn more than if you had distributed your image across multiple sites.
Your Own Website
This might be the best option for selling your own photography, but only if you’re good at marketing yourself. By selling your images on your own site, you get to control how much people pay for your images. You also control where your images get printed (if you choose to offer prints). The downside is that personal websites don’t have high volume traffic like stock photo sites and sites like Etsy do. This means you’ll have to direct people to your site to check out your work. This can be a time-consuming task. However, if you have your images up on a platform like Instagram including a link to your website will help direct interested buyers to your work. There are countless web hosting sites available to create your own website. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Zenfolio, and Smugmug are some of the most popular choices among Cole’s Classroom members.
While Amazon photography might be the first website you-you think of when trying to sell your own images, clearly, it is not a good platform for photographers. Thankfully there are many other options out there. Each site will require different kinds of work to sell your images. Don’t be discouraged if an image doesn’t sell. Understand that even the best photographers in the world don’t sell every single image they take. It’s understandable to get discouraged, but never give up!