Update: This post was originally posted on 6th March 2020 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.
It's everyone's dream to make money doing what they love, as the old saying goes if you do what you love then you'll never work a day in your life.
And that is what I am trying to do by selling my photographs as prints and greeting cards. Now there are many ways that you can use photography to make money, some of the most obvious ways is to become a portrait or wedding photographer. But there are other ways including product photography and motor sport photography to name only two. But I've decided to focus on being a photographic artist, at least that is how I am describing myself.
At the time of writing this I am selling on Etsy which is one of the biggest selling platform for handmade and vintage items. And it is due to the fact that it is so big that made me decide to go with Etsy. Also several years ago I ran a jewelry business which I sold my pieces through Etsy so it was somewhat like returning to an old friend, because although I never did spectacular with my jewelry I did fairly well.
Upsides and Downsides
Now as with everything in life there are downsides as well as upsides so I thought I would write about my opinion on the ups and downs of Etsy. As well as where I plan on taking my photographic art going forward. But as ever this is only my opinion on Etsy and is not anything official.
So the upsides of Etsy is that because it is so well known it means that there are million potential buyers, which compared to some of its competitor is a huge advantage. However, the flip side of this is that there are also millions of sellers that you are competing with. Now in all fairness not all those sellers are trying to sell photographic art but there are still going to be a good few thousand at least.
Another upside to Etsy is that it is very easy to set up a shop and very easy to manage the shop once it is set up.
However, the two big downside that I find is that I have to compress my photographs for uploading onto my shop which I'm sure you appreciate as a photographer I don't like. However on the website you can't actually tell the difference so that really is just me being a picky photographer.
The other big downside is the constant changes that Etsy has been making, which has financial impact on sellers. Now this is not just me that says this but I've discussed this with other Etsy sellers. For instance not that long ago Etsy started giving preference to sellers offering free shipping to America, now I made the decision when I started selling to offer free shipping to all my buyers no matter where they live and have incorporated this into my pricing. However, I know that for some sellers this has meant them increasing their prices or taking a bigger hit on already small profit margins.
The other big change that Etsy has made very recently and will be coming into effect from next month (April 2020) is that all sellers are going to be automatically enrolled in offsite advertising. Now this on the face of it sounds like a good thing as it is more exposure but if you make a sale through this avenue you will have to pay a percentage to Etsy like a commision and you still need to pay your listing fee and selling fee. And if you offer free shipping like myself you can end up with your profit margin shrinking even more. My biggest gripe with this change is that you are automatically enrolled and can't take yourself out until after the first month. Well at least that is my understanding of it, if any of my readers know better please let me know.
Long Term Plans
For the time being I am willing to accept the downsides for the perks of being on such a well known website. However, in the long run I am planning on selling through my own website and through shops and galleries. And although every day I am working towards that goal as well as the goal of my art supporting me full time without the need for a day job, I am having to take it one step at a time and Etsy is one of those steps.
In the meantime if you would like to visit my shop you can do at: