Having a personal website to sell your photography is a great step. However, it takes a lot of time before you start yielding profits and also requires a lot more hard work as compared to selling your photographs as stock images. If you are the kind of a photographer who wants to have a personal brand of their own and directly sell to the end clients without letting like agencies cutting in their profit, this is the best option for you.
The most challenging aspect of selling photography through a personal website is the fact that you actually need to get a website developed. My starting advice for anyone venturing out in this would be not to select Flash for web development. It makes the search engines blind and hence they will not be able to see what is present on your website which will lead you to have lower search engine ranking.
If you want a Flash website, prepare yourself to put in more hard work through inserting text at everything to help the search engines. This might make you question, why are search engines so important in this?
Search engines and websites
If you are developing a personal website, you need to have search engine ranking and therefore must be SEO friendly so that your potential clients can find you. It is more like starting a business, really.
That is why I mentioned earlier that having a personal website will be a lot of hard work. It is recommended that you have a weblog incorporated on your website where you can make keyword friendly posts to make sure that you stay on top of the search engine results.
Also, make sure that your website loads like a dream and is highly functional and user friendly. Search engines rank websites on their user-friendliness and therefore make sure that you do not stuff too much content on one page so there are no loading issues.
Personal branding is very important when it comes to having a website of your own. This is where your website design would step in. While getting your website developed, choose colors that define who are you as a person so that you can create your own signature style. This is how a brand that sells Inflatable Fishing SUP makes the most of the revenue.
Get a corporate logo developed which you can also use as watermark on your photographs to avoid copyright infringement. Keep your website minimalist, sleek and stylish.
Create a seamless photo gallery comprising your work. Make sure that you effectively divide your collections into different folders according to their genres so it makes it easy for the clients to browse through. For a photographer, the photo gallery is like an e-store and therefore you must carefully design it. I would suggest that you enable the shopping information section to show on every page so that the client knows the existing items in their cart and their total amount. Keep the prices competitive keeping the huge stock agencies in mind. The more competitive your prices are the better chances you will have of making sales.
A great landing page is highly recommended in order to do well at selling photographs through a personal website. Of course, there will be different variants of your landing page that you will need to test to make sure that you come with the best and most effective choice.
There are numerous free and paid online tools that will allow you to test different versions of your landing page and provide you with in-depth data about which one is working the best with the users. Google Analytics Experiments, A/Bingo, KISSmetrics and Unbounce are some popular platforms that allow seamless A/B Testing.
Do you want to sell prints?
If you are looking to sell your photography prints through your personal website, then I would recommend you to use an intermediary service such as Sell Media Plugin or Shutterfly. With the increasing demand of printed photographs for home and office, this is a great niche that you can tap on. If you think that this ultimately what you want to do as a photographer, then I would suggest you to go through lifestyle magazines to see what homeowners like to put on their walls.
The biggest downside of selling your photographs as prints is that it can be very time-consuming and financially risky for you. If you stock a number of prints that you want to sell, you would have to pay the initial printing and framing cost directly from your pocket and you will not even be sure if all of it will sell or not. Moreover, if you get a photograph printed and framed on demand, it will cost you extra in packing supplies and shipping costs. Plugins or services such as Sell Media Plugin or Shutterfly take the extra work on their shoulders and make your life a lot easier.
They take up the responsibility of printing the photograph and delivering it to the end customer without you needing to do anything.
Once you are sure of integrating a service with your website, find a suitable service and give it a go. While you are comparing services, make sure that you choose a service that offers you a 50% commission. Shutterfly, for instance, deducts 15 percent transaction fee and the wholesale print cost. It also has an annual fee and you can select between different user plans. If you want, you can also choose different products to sell such as calendars through Shutterfly. However, make sure that you set the prices competitively so that you actually start making sales.
Once you have selected the service you want, you can integrate its gallery on your website and wait till you start making sales.