How Photographers Use Etsy

Ready to sell your images as fine art? Want to step beyond stock photography, and actually make a name for yourself in the fine art world? Why not start with Etsy.

People describe Etsy in a lot of ways. Yes, it may be a “Popsicle stick and yarn” kind of site, but its also a way for you to get recognized for your artwork. There are great artists on Etsy that are pulling in full time incomes with their artwork. Etsy is more than just a place to put up a few trinkets; its also a place to gain some serious traction, and use the advertising and leverage Etsy has built up over the years.

Etsy attracts members from over 150 countries around the world. Top categories are jewelry, clothing, crafting supplies, accessories, and art – which is where photography is listed.

If you don’t have an Etsy account yet, start by choosing a name. Mirror your business name as much as you can – its important to brand yourself from site to site. Then completely fill out your profile. People often short themselves by putting up a photo, a link to their website, and a sentence or two about their business. Don’t skimp here. Fill it with as much as you can. Even change it from time to time to share your interests with people.

Besides having a strong name, it’s also important to have the best photography possible. (Should be a no-brainer since we are talking about photography, but just want to emphasize it again here.) Make sure you share a quality image of what your photography looks like. It doesn’t have to be a close-up of the exact image – why not showcase it on an easel or on a wall? Then provide close-ups of details so they can see small parts of your photograph?

Then start listing your best work. Etsy charges a 3.5 percent transaction fee per sale, and charges you for a listing – $0.20 per item for a four-month listing.

Each time you list an item – which includes the item’s name, description, price, tags, etc – it has the chance to show up on the home page under the Recently Listed Items section. So it benefits you to list things at different times of the day, and to re-list items again and again for maximum exposure. Some experienced sellers re-list items daily, and create a budget (maybe $2 to $3 a day) for re-listing and advertising purposes in order to gain exposure to their accounts.

You also have access to a sellers advertising program called the Showcase. You can purchase a one day spot in the Showcase section for $15

And of course you can use all your existing social media sites to help promote as well. Facebook, Twitter, websites and blogs should all have a link to your Etsy account, and showcase what you are doing and adding on a regular basis.

Think Etsy is for you? Here’s a couple of resources to help you move in the right direction.

Start with Etsy’s Do’s and Don’ts – a great resource that will help you make sure you stay within their policies.

Then read the Etsy Seller Handbook – guidelines, how to’s and videos will help you walk through the entire process.

Want to check out the photography section on Etsy? See what others are putting up on their accounts and selling.

You can even join a group to help you stay motivated, and learn from other photographers who are there and doing it.

And after you join Photographers of Etsy, check out their blog too. Great information, and a great resource to help you learn just a little more about this online resource that may just help you bring in another source of revenue.

Want to see who’s making money on Etsy? Inc is running a Masters of Etsy article to give you some ideas. No photographers, but you can check out their sites and ideas, and use them to build your own. They also share 6 Tips on Preparing for Holiday Sales On Etsy – great advice no matter what time of the year it is.

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We're the co-founders of and have been writing on this blog since 2004. We started Virtual as a way to help photographers stretch beyond a part time income, and develop strategies to become a Five Figure Photographer or a Six Figure Photographer. Ultimately its all about lifestyle, and if your goal is to live as a photographer 24/7, we think you should have the knowledge and the tools to do so. Welcome!


  1. I often wondered about putting my photography up on Etsy. I wonder if any photographers make a lot of sales through the site.

  2. Some are doing very well like her:

  3.' John Morris says:

    I’ve been a member of Etsy for about 72 hours now and although I have not gotten any sales right off the site, it seems I’ve gotten a good number of inquires through my own site. My latest was an hour or two ago for a custom order.