With the ease of setting up a shop on a website or using a service like Big Cartel, many photographers are choosing to sell their photography through their websites. If you have a significant audience online (people who follow you and are fans of your work), selling your work online may be very profitable. However, many galleries do not like their artists to sell work online. This may be because they feel it will compete with the gallery’s sales of your work, and/or because they feel it looks unprofessional and may “cheapen” the work. Either way, if you are represented by a gallery, checking the gallery’s temperature on the topic before you begin selling online is imperative.
If you are actively seeking gallery representation, it may hurt your chances of success in that area if you sell your work privately through your website. If you are in talks with a gallery that does not support its artists selling their own work online, you may want to be cautious when considering this. In general, you should weigh the likely financial success of selling your work on your website (having an actual shopping cart feature) versus just having contact information listed for sales inquiries (either your own if you are unrepresented or your gallery’s if you are). Posting contact information for sales inquiries is not considered a conflict for galleries looking to add artists.
*excerpted from the book, Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers