Video Thumbnail

How to Obtain the Lifestyle You Want as a Full-Time Photographer

Dispelling the “get rich quick” photographer fantasy once and for all, and a look at what full-time photographers are actually doing to obtain the lifestyle they want.


Why are you trying to sell your photography?

If you're anything like most of our customers, it's likely to:

  • Quit your 9-5 job and focus solely on your work
  • Generate retirement income

  • ​​​​Have the freedom to travel, shooting whenever you want, wherever you want 

In short: to attain a lifestyle you don't currently have.

But how do you actually get there?

Do you have the right strategy? Or are you wasting time, going down the wrong path without even knowing it? 

To answer that, it's actually a lot easier to explain what doesn't work. Here are 4 popular distractions that won't get you where you want to go:


1. Taking a "spray and pray" approach to art marketplace websites

This tactic involves uploading your work everywhere you possibly can in hopes that an occasional print sale from each of the marketplaces will stack into a considerable income.

how to sell photography

Marketing is what drives art sales, and the more platforms you use to sell your art, the less attention you can give each of them. 

With hundreds of thousands of photographers on marketplaces, tens of thousands of images are being uploaded each day and millions are already there. The likelihood that someone will stumble across your images is miniscule. 

In fact, if you manage to sell a couple of prints a year this way, you are in the top .01% of earners. Even in that case, you are still a victim of the marketplaces' algorithm changes, which is always based on their current best-sellers. 

The best way to make it work is to drive traffic to your marketplace accounts to ensure art buyers are seeing your work. But if you're going to go through the trouble of doing that, you would be better off sending that traffic to an online art gallery that you own and you alone reap the full benefits of – the customer's email address, phone number, and opportunity to create a direct relationship. 

The marketplace strategy does not work for generating enough sales to attain a desired lifestyle. 

We've interviewed over 50,000 photographers from the US and Canada, and have never found an exception to this rule. Have you?

The good news is that having this knowledge is powerful! It will stop you from wasting your time - perhaps years - "spraying and praying". Instead, you can focus all of your time on activities that will get you to your desired outcome. 

Because not making sales on a marketplace is not an indicator on how well you can do.


How is Art Storefronts Different Than Marketplaces?

We're glad you asked.



2. Sitting back and thinking buyers will come to you

If your photography is just sitting online, with no active romance marketing taking place, you are putting your future in the hands of pure luck. 

There are no hacks, there are no get rich quick schemes. “But give me the one marketing tactic that is really working!” The truth is, there isn’t one.

selling photography online for holidays

The only way you get buyers to come to you is through consistency in marketing.

It’s by following a plan, sticking to it, building relationships with your audience and playing the long game. We call these small wins.

After a while, all the small wins stack up and create big wins.

You know those photographers we talk about here on the blog - the ones who sell over $100,000 per year, right from their own art gallery websites? Turning small wins into big wins is how they did it. Don’t be fooled into thinking anything else. You have to put in the work just like every other business in every other industry.


3. Relying on the declining art gallery market

Art galleries have been going out of business for years.

At an increasing rate, people are buying more online and this continues to take market share away from retail. This is why photography galleries have been closing at an ever increasing rate.

If you want to achieve your desired outcome, you need to make sure you are making  sales in other channels and are not overexposed.

If art galleries were the means through which you achieved your desired outcome, it probably won’t last very long and you’ll be back closer to where you started from. Don’t let that happen!


4. Believing in any part of this phrase: “Photography doesn’t sell online”

Forgive us for making a blunt statement here: Just because you haven’t sold photography from your website, doesn’t mean that it is not happening.

This is a defense mechanism that usually surfaces from those who have no problem selling offline at art fairs or in galleries, but have failed to turn the online channel into something significant.

Upon digging deeper with these types of people, we almost always discover they are using an old and outdated website that offers none of the 7 cornerstone features an art website needs.

One feature that is becoming more and more essential to an enjoyable, modern buying experience is Augmented Reality that allows the buyer to picture the piece in their own space.


Live Preview with Augmented Reality

Now anyone, anytime, anywhere - can try out your art on their walls.

Of course: if you provide a terrible buying experience, you won't sell anything!

This is not reflective of the online photography market as a whole – which is not only growing, but thriving.

We have spoken with many, many photographers who, despite not being well-known, are selling over $200,000 a year right from their own art gallery website. Some of them are on our platform.


A Proper Photography Website

I've been trying to build a proper photography website for quite some time now. I've tried, Smug Mug, Wix, Square Space and even trudged through WordPress. None of those compared to what ASF offers. I found the platform easy to use and the support has been the best I've had yet from an online company.

Andy Kulchyckyj Photographer

Photographers are now selling their prints (presented on a variety of mediums from paper to metal) on a regular basis.

Simply put - if you are not taking advantage of this direct channel (your own art gallery online) you are missing out on your biggest revenue opportunity! It is bigger and more consistent than everything else.

Alright, so we've covered what doesn't work. How about what does?


Obtaining the Full-Time Artist Lifestyle – How It's Done

Hear more about Megh's success as full-time artist in this podcast interview.

Do you know any full-time, successful photographer who has NOT put in the work to build their own business step by step?

We don't either, because they don't exist!

Everyone who has been able to quit their 9-5 job, retire on their art-selling income, or live the lifestyle of the full-time photographer had to put their head down for a few years and build their business.

Fortunately, it's not rocket science, and it's far more work-based than luck-based (contrary to what most non-photographers think!).

So where do you start? It's simple: you make it easy and enjoyable for people to buy prints from you by running your own art gallery online.

In other words, don’t have an outdated website that is difficult to buy from and is not in line with industry standards – you will leave tons of sales on the table, and make your life so much harder!

From there, you do what all businesses do – you follow a marketing plan and stay consistent with your efforts. Too many artists post on social media for a couple of weeks, send a handful of email blasts, and then give up. 

You wouldn't expect any other business in the world to become self-sufficient in a matter of a couple weeks or months. Your online art business is no different (even if you've had success offline. It's just a different game.)

In short:

  • Ensure you offer the buying experience art buyers expect
  • Continually educate yourself on being an effective photography business owner
  • Spend your time on the marketing tasks that are known to work, and avoid wasting time on those that aren't.
  • Don't operate on an island. Surround yourself with a community of successful artists that are just like you. Share the knowledge and get better, together. (We offer our customers a private Facebook Group for exactly this purpose).  


Why It Is So Worth It

how to become a full time artists

If you've given much thought to the lifestyle you want to obtain with your photography career, you likely know the answer to this far better than us.

With consistent income, you can live the way you want. It's as simple as that.

Nothing good comes easy, but if you put in the work now, you can reach the future you want in 3-5 years. 

So, what are you waiting for? 👇

See why hundreds of photographers are using Art Storefronts to run their own art galleries online » 

Art Storefronts Is the All-In-One Art Business Solution

We help photographers and artists open and run their own art gallery business, online.

Your Own Website

Best-in-class software built from the ground up specifically for photographers and artists.

Back Office Tools

Spend less time on paperwork, and more time creating.

A Marketing Plan

Skip the frustration – we'll teach you what's actually working for photographers and artists.

What Our Customers Are Saying

Sell More Art With Augmented Reality

An augmented reality tool purpose-built for artists and photographers. You'll sell more art than ever when your buyers can see what your work will look like on their walls – straight from your website (no app downloads required!).

Introducing Live Preview with Augmented Reality >>

Get Art Marketing Advice Sent to Your Inbox

Enter you email address below and we'll keep you up-to-date on all the latest and greatest art marketing strategies and tactics.


Sell More Art Online

If we can't teach you, no one can!