Selling "Printable" Photographs on Etsey or Ebay

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by Glenn McCreery, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. I was unfamiliar with Etsey before reading the posting below, so I looked it up. The first thing that I noticed is this listing for a set of three printable landscape photographs at,
    Set of 3 Green Mountain Forest Landscape Prints. Scandinavian | Etsy

    The price of $5.87 seems rather low unless you sell a ton of them, which the seller apparently does. Selling printable photographs rather than prints is concept that I had not previously considered. Does anyone here have experience with selling printable photographs?
    johnfantastic likes this.
  2. Hmmm, interesting, I never heard of this either (but I never look at etsey). I see that to purchase them printed and framed the price increases dramatically. Also the pictures themselves are rather generic, the sort you see at Ikea and other mass market home furnishing stores for sale.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  3. I'd be curious as to what portion of the sales are actually just for the downloadable files as opposed to prints. And how do the prices of the prints compare to getting similar prints made of your own photos.

    The downloadable files are not that useful. I mean they could be a background on your monitor or a screen saver. Or you could get your own prints made. I'm sure the idea is to get you to purchase prints from Etsey.
  4. @ Glenn.. IMO it's not a great idea to make "digital image files" available to purchase online. From the onset, it may seem to be a convenient way to simplify the sales process. But in reality, you could allow someone to purchase a digital file anywhere online for just a few bucks -- and you simply cannot regulate how they use your © image once they get it in their possession. They might make hundreds of prints and re-sell them (at your expense) post them online illegally for personal or commercial uses. The ways someone can take advantage of you by possessing the printable image file are endless.
  5. It's not my photo unless I personally printed it. Obviously can't be "competitive" online. I always want to meet the buyer in person. No fantasy about collectors, resale etc. I want to see and hear the buyer's personal response.
    d. stucky, Ricochetrider and tsphotos like this.
  6. Hmmm....

    While I've never sold any of my photos, I've looked at having some printed. Since I don't have my own lab or space for such, IF I were to print any it'd be outsourced to either a lab or somebody like Zenfolio (my photo host site) to make some sort of print. It's easy and cheap to get a basic photo print made, heck you could probably take photos on a thumb drive to CVS or Walgreens and walk out the door in 20 minutes with prints. I had a slightly better than average ink jet print made for my GF of a photo I shot last winter and it was still reasonably inexpensive, although framing etc was not. The lab who's been developing my film lately did the job.

    BUT if you want "real" prints made- as in a silver gelatin print of B&W, or some sort of peziograhpy, carbon, platinum/palladium, or similar alternative for an archival grade, top quality photo print, the difficulty- and cost- goes way up. Consequently, in paying to have such nice high end prints, one would have to command quite a price to sell them - and then to make money on selling them? Add in the cost of mounting, matting and framing. The cost for the consumer would be high indeed.

    How many of us can claim any such market for our photography? I'm guessing darn few.

    In this light, maybe it's a stroke of genius (even if, in today's world of advanced technology, it's no huge forward leap) to offer "downloadable files" for consumers at an inexpensive cost. They can then either home-print the shot, or have canvas or other format prints made for their office or home. All costs beyond the purchase of the file, are of course on the buyer.

    Seems like it's a small step away from selling images to some "stock photo" host? Either way, if these folks are selling loads and loads of "files", more power to them; they are selling their photography!
    johnfantastic likes this.
  7. Same with you, first time I have heard of it. But I think it would have a market among home owners who would like to decorate their homes with pictures that uplift their spirit, usually landscape photos. I think there would be a market for it and if the world is your market then it could probably be quite huge. :)
  8. thanks for sharing. I didn't know about it too)
  9. Regardless, I'd think that most people who are sophisticated enough to make a decent print from an image, are going to be too sophisticated to be eager to buy someone else's image. ?

    Anyhow, that someone is trying to do this is no proof that it is a successful strategy.

    "I can call pictures from the vasty deep. So can anyone, but do they come when you do call"
  10. WOW! Did you look through the seller's links and up selling possibilities? This was a lot of work to put together, BUT it's a great way to "milk" a small number of prints. Using the lowest price, for printable files, the revenue is over $7,000. The buyer can also get canvas prints and other mounted images. The images showing possible usages are excellent. I'm tempted to order a file, then a print to see who the sub-contractor is that's doing the printing. There's a good amount of work required to set this up initially, but you could milk a couple of images for years. Once you've established a template, then it's easy to add more images in the future. This looks like a high potential niche to me.
  11. I think many/most people who need/want decorative prints have known about Etsy and the like forever....or at least for the past several decades.
  12. I have sold my prints online at Etsy since 2016. Great site, excellent customer base, and I make good $.

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