Online & Digital Print Sales

So many people have talked about the business of selling your photographs, and the various options and pitfalls in doing so.  There are so many discussion points varying from whether to sell online or on consignment, print your own or use an online printer, and much more.  The ideas of printing, fulfillment, delivery, and such are all vexing subjects for sure, and it’s a sea of information out there to wade through.

Rather than spend time wading through that sea, I thought everyone might be interested in one option – that of the digital download.  Various outfits like Mpix, Smugmug, Shutterfly, and others offer a range of services for printing and fulfillment where digital prints are selected online, then printed and mailed to the purchaser, or even just downloaded to the buyer directly for them to print on their own.  This last option of letting the client download their own pictures is something that more people are turning to, and even here there are many options.

One that I’ve been testing the waters with is a WordPress plugin called WP eStore.  It’s got some pretty handy features, and if you are okay with touching just a pinch of the coding, it can actually work pretty well.  I can see how this could easily translate to sales of digital downloads of pictures, as well as e-books (which is the type I am going to start selling).  It’s got a pretty intuitive interface, but does have a little bit of code to it within the plugin itself.  With both free and paid versions there are also various levels of support, and the guy that developed this is very helpful with any questions I’ve had.

The left sidebar of WordPress has an entire widget dedicated to the configuration and I’ve shared a screen shot of the interface here:

I’d go into more details with screen captures but since the eStore is active and there is certain information that you have to include (like source file paths and such), that would be a little too transparent for here.  But as you can see from the widget, there are many options available to you for digital downloads including adding discounts, organizing into categories, and even maintaining customer lists if you want to send promotional emails.  All in all, it’s a very cool little plugin, and as I get more work done on various e-Books  this utility will no doubt come in handy for both the blog and for the reader.

Speaking of the reader experience, that end is pretty easy too – all you have to do is click the shopping cart button to add an item to your cart, and you can check out with Paypal.  Once checked out, the buyer gets a dedicated private link to download the item in question.  No fuss, no muss – instant download, which I think is a super nice feature.  The same would hold true for anyone interested in offering photo downloads too.  You can see the eStore plugin in action right here on my Store link from the navigation menu at the top of the page.  For more detailed information, or to download either the free or paid version for your own use, check out Amin’s work on his site here: .

Anyway, there’s my thoughts on the option of digital sales for photography products and services – the eStore plugin for WordPress.  Easy enough to install, great support, and pretty much hands-free once everything is set up and configured.

As always, mileage may vary, and different options are out there for different needs.  If anyone knows of other products, services, or options for online print sales, feel free to share them here as it’s always fun to learn about new things from one another!  Happy shooting, and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow to wrap up the week!

P.S.  Don’t forget, only one week left in the January Circles-themed Flickr Giveaway.  get your photos in soon for a chance to win a copy of Photomatix Pro from the folks over at HDR Soft!

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4 comments for “Online & Digital Print Sales

  1. January 22, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Very nice article Jason. Our options are certainly growing and it is nice to see we are no longer restricted to sign-up to ‘complete’ sites such as Zenfolio or Smugmug.
    For me I am using [url=]PhotCart[/url] which is a complete Photo orientated shopping cart that can be easily integrated into your own website. This gives me complete end-to-end control as I manage the orders, payment, print and shipping myself. It has everything a Photographer needs to manage print and download sales.
    I have currently no intention of offering Digital Downloads of my work however; similar to the fact I have no interest in the stock image market either.
    I am however very interested in [url=]Fotomoto[/url] which offers similar integration to your own site but they manage the order, payment, printing and delivery. The fact that The Turning Gate have incorporate it into their [url=]TTG Highslide Gallery Pro[/url] is a powerful combo and a killer workflow for me. In fact this is turning into one of the main reasons I am considering jumping from Aperture to Lightroom.

  2. January 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Looks like I’m going to need to give the plugin a whirl! I’d downloaded it months ago, but you know how it is……got busy with 7 other things and left it on the to do list! 🙂
    .-= Rich C´s last blog ..HDR, the 5D Mark II, and my 4 year old Macbook Pro =-.

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