How Photographers Can Scale Up Their Business? (2023 Guide)

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Scaling a professional photography business can be very hard and challenging because it is difficult to identify where to start.

You have several options in front of you, from increasing your prices to accepting more clients. But those are only short-term solutions. You will eventually be overbooked and not have time for more clients, or you will drive away clients because of the overpricing.

Luckily, there are a few alternatives to how photographers can scale up their businesses. One of them is using ecommerce. Ecommerce represents the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. With it, a photographer can diversify their income and, at the same time, keep their passion at the center of their work.

In the next few paragraphs, we will give an overlook of the relationship between ecommerce and photography and discuss the best way to use ecommerce to scale your photography business. With those tips and tricks, you will learn how to promote your brand, which will lead to an increase in your profits.

Why Should You Choose Ecommerce For Scaling Up?

First, we will answer why choosing ecommerce is a good thing for your photography business. Although this advice is primarily meant for freelance photographers, even if you are working for someone, you can consider taking this career path.

Anyway, if you’ve been a freelance photographer for a while, you are aware of how tiresome it can be; a lot of travels, manual work, positioning for perfect shots, and endless hours spent in front of your computer for edits, to mention some.

You can leave all that behind for a while if you set up an ecommerce site. Not only will you spend many hours adjusting the site to your needs, but you can get into a lucrative business when you are done. We won’t lie to you, not every photographer can complete this task successfully, but the final result is worthwhile. So, you can at least try.

The good news for photographers is once you’ve established your ecommerce store, it’s easy enough to automate most of the processes on your website. This ecommerce site can be used for generating passive income and one of the best techniques for that is dropshipping. The basics of dropshipping will be explained a bit later.

Ecommerce store is the best way to expand your business and reach out to a previously untapped audience. By proper positioning in the digital world, you will surely find many new clients interested in the services you offer and your modus operandi. An online store gives you the means to engage with prospects, and a market to sell your photography and photography-based products.

This course of work better suits those photographers who are more office-bound. If you are into traveling, setting up an ecommerce store maybe won’t be the right choice for you. When choosing whether to set up an ecommerce website, you need to carefully measure the advantages and disadvantages of that decision. If you think that monetary compensation doesn’t worth the freedom you will lose, it is better to skip it and try some other techniques for business scaling.

How to Find an Ecommerce Solution That Works For Your Site

The first step when setting up your ecommerce store is to choose the platform that fits your needs. You can integrate an ecommerce plugin with complete functionality into an existing portfolio site if you own one. Or you can create an ecommerce store from scratch by using paid or free templates that are available online.

For all WordPress users (which is the most used platform among photographers), one of the best choices is the WordPress gallery plugin colorlib. It is a website that offers free and premium website templates and themes for various purposes, including ecommerce. It provides a wide range of professionally designed templates that can be used to create visually appealing and functional websites. It is highly customizable, and it can be used with other CMS, such as Joomla and Drupal.

If you don’t use WordPress, we also got you covered. Our pick is TemplateMonster. It is a well-known platform for various CMS solutions. There you can find a rich collection of templates for ecommerce, business, portfolio, and other types of websites. It is very easy to navigate, and you will surely find something for your needs in their selection.

Building a Brand

One of the main benefits when integrating an ecommerce store with your photography business is an opportunity to launch and create a personal brand. You can gain recognition and appreciation among a vast audience you couldn’t reach earlier.

An ecommerce element will be a strong value-add for your brand, helping you create a more well-rounded profile as a professional photographer. Your customers will see your entrepreneurial side, not just the creative one.

To further increase your brand awareness, you need to use all the resources you have available on your ecommerce platforms. You can use their functionalities or expand them with plugins. For such features, you need to use social media marketing tools, and tools for creating email marketing campaigns. These marketing features (and many others) will help you engage with your customers in a more personal manner and build confidence in your brand.

Keep in mind, that, although this all starts as a side hustle and relaxation from your regular job, it can easily move you away from the freelance photographer model. The main difference between freelance photography and ecommerce work is the stability of the job. While freelancing work can vary dramatically in amount, ecommerce stores can stabilize your income.

photographer camera girl
Photo: Pickpik

Use the Store as a Portfolio

No matter if you already created a site and filled it with your best works, you can also use the ecommerce store for expanding your portfolio. The easiest way to do so is to display your work in product and photo galleries.

Ecommerce solutions feature photo-centric layouts and attractive themes that are flexible and easy to customize, meaning you can reflect your style as a photographer through your site’s design. Whether you’re a wedding photographer, do fashion shoots, or specialize in travel and landscapes, your store can act as an extension of your style and niche.

But don’t overdo it. Remember that your work is the most important, and layouts shouldn’t distract clients from your photos. Your work needs to be the primary focus of your store site, so always emphasize them. Use effective layouts that are simple enough so you can mix them up with the most iconic of the photos you shot.

Dropshipping & Print on Demand

People like adding photos to products to make them into mementos or as unique, custom-made gifts for friends and family. You can use that to your advantage.

There are two strategies you can use to sell products through your ecommerce store:

  1. Dropshipping
  2. Print on demand

Of course, you can combine these two strategies if there is enough demand. Both are low-cost ecommerce options, which is perfect if you want to experiment with ecommerce before committing fully.

The creativity and professionalism of your photos will attract more customers, so keep developing your skills.

Dropshipping is a business model in which you will be a retailer (the dropshipper). You will not keep an inventory of the products, but you will hire someone to produce the goods you got the order for. When a customer places an order, the retailer purchases the products from a third-party supplier or manufacturer, who then ships the products directly to the customer. The main perk of dropshipping is that you don’t have to keep the products you sell in stock. You will be a middleman, and your only risk is that the supplier won’t fulfill the order, or the order will be of low quality. But those are the problems you can overcome by changing the supplier.

Print on demand (POD) is a business model where you create and deliver printed goods only when you have the order. With this business model, you also don’t have to handle inventory or production. It’s an easy way to monetize your photography talents differently. If you don’t know how to start or what designs you should offer, take a look at competitors’ sites online. There you can find inspiration for your work and designs. Also, keep in mind what audience you target and research their interests.


Now you know how photographers can scale up their business via an ecommerce store. This technique is very appealing to the majority of photographers because it allows them to reach new clients and create a steady source of income.

The initial costs of this investment aren’t very high, so you can take creating an ecommerce store into consideration almost immediately. You just need to clear your schedule and set up the site by placing your most prominent work.

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