How to Sell your Photography (and Other Art) on Society6
What is Society6?
The first time I saw a link on someone's blog to their Society6 page, I was, honestly, kind of confused. I'm not sure what that says about me and my reasoning abilities, but I'd been reading a crafting tutorial and suddenly saw myself confronted with the option to buy a picture of the finished item. Why would I want to do that? Wasn't I here to learn how to make it, myself? And why were there little hearts with numbers next to the pictures? Was each number the quantity available of a certain picture? I quickly clicked away, and then forgot about the site for several months.
After a trip to Florida, I decided to find a way to turn my favorite photos into art prints. First, I turned to Zazzle, mostly because I was familiar with the site. I still use Zazzle for postcards, pillows, puzzles, and other things of that nature, but it just doesn't have the feel of a 'serious' place to go for art. After searching the web, I came across that Society6 place again. After paying it closer attention, I realized that Society6 is fantastically easy to use, has a fun social networking element, allows the artist to maintain rights to the image and set his/her own commission, and doesn't have a minimum payout threshold. I'd found a real winner.
Getting Started with Society6
If you visit the Society6 front page, you'll see something like the photo to the left. The pictures featured on the front page change, but you'll see the option to sort by item type (framed art print, device skin, t-shirt, etc) and, once you click one of these options, you can also search by category, such as photography, animal, typography, or humor. You may also sort each category by random, new, or popular.
Once you select a merchandise type, you are brought a window seen in the photo gallery below. You can click on each picture to arrive at its page, or you can click on the submitting artist to visit his or her profile page. On the artwork's page, you can choose what size finished piece you're interested in, see how many people have 'promoted' it, submit it to StumbleUpon, and more. The 'promote' number is located next to the little heart that confused me to begin with! When you are logged in, you can 'promote' a fellow artist's work. This doesn't mean you buy it or offer it for sale on your website - it is the Society6 version of 'liking' something.
Society6 BasicsClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Use Society6 as an Artist
Uploading your work to Society6 is easy. First, you must create and verify an account. You can create an account and purchase art for free but, like most sites these days, if you want to verify your account you need to provide accurate billing information and have a small transaction go through. The cost to set up my Society6 account was $1, and I've already made it back. You may also log into Society6 using Facebook, and can link your twitter and StumbleUpon accounts, too.
When choosing an image to upload, whether it is a photograph, digital creation, or a high-resolution scan of another piece of art, always make sure to save in the highest quality format available. The better your resolution and the larger your image, the more selling options you have. Society6 will not allow you to choose sizes for your artwork that would look terrible when printed. If you upload a small file, you'll only be able to sell a mini print. If you upload a really high-quality image, you can add close to half a dozen different sizes. Of course, larger art sells for more, so uploading your best file opens the door for higher profits. If you want to make your image available for sale, click the 'make this artwork immediately available...' If you do not click this box, you will create a post, which is similar to a Facebook wall post. While your image is uploading, you can choose up to three highly relevant image categories. Keep it relevant! If your tags are deemed irrelevant, they will be removed and you can be penalized.
After your file is uploaded, you get to input your commission on each size available for your print. People charge different amounts for their art - if you look in the first photo of the slideshow above, you'll notice several different prices. It is up to you, but most people have a final price between $14 and $20 for the smallest size print. Make up your mind depending on how long it took you, what you think is fair, and the size of the printed artwork. You may want to look at the actual dimensions, not just the size name, when making up your mind. Categories include things like 'mini,' 'small,' 'medium,' etc., but the dimensions vary a bit, depending on the uploaded file. Society6 automatically sizes the options to fit your images size and length to width ratio!
After setting your commission, all that remains is publishing it for the world! After publishing your initial art prints, you will have the option to create device skins, cards, and a few other items. Most of these categories have specific image pixel dimensions, so you will need to size your image accordingly.
You will also want to upload a profile picture as soon as possible. I, like many others, choose to use the same profile picture on every website. This helps people recognize you, even if you're new to a particular website. You may choose to add a bio and a banner image, when you get the chance.
Uploading Images to Society6Click thumbnail to view full-size
Do you Sell your Photos or Other Visual Art?
Do you sell your photos or visual art, online or offline?
Just like most websites these days, Society6 has a fun networking aspect. You can follow users, which means their new artwork and comments on their art will pop up in the "my society" tab, kind of like a Facebook news feed. The main body of this tab shows the people you follow's activity, but the smaller pictures to the right are a great way to find new folks. The column on the right shows what new people the folks you follow are following, and what art they promoted. By commenting on art, promoting pictures, and following new folks, you can (hopefully) gain comments and 'promotes' for your own art. All users, verified sellers or not, can comment and promote.
When a user makes a sale, it is popular to upload an image of the sold item as a post with a "thank you!" to the buyer. It obviously isn't mandatory, and I hadn't figured this out yet when my first two sales took place. While you don't have to, it must feel nice as a buyer to check back and see the thanks. Also, community members are likely to stop by and offer congratulations, so it's kind of fun!
Learn the Art of Photography
Photography's easy, right? You just get yourself a digital 'point and shoot' and take away. Sort of...
If you want to sell your photography, you'll need to do a bit better than that!
Do you Use Society6?
I haven't gotten rich from my Society6 sales, but I find the interface extraordinarily easy to use, enjoy connecting with other artists and photographers, and have made a couple bucks. Do you use Society6? I'd love to hear your opinions!