Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a commercial photographer working with Google shooting street view tours inside businesses around the UK.
I love shooting more creative/artistic work when I get the chance. My fantastic girlfriend helps me with all the back office and if she doesn’t like a photo it doesn’t make it into the shop!
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I started full-time as a commercial photographer in 2002, but I’ve been taking photographs for over 30 years, and I’ve been selling on Etsy since 2010.
I was selling prints around the UK to hotels, pubs and private clients and found Etsy the perfect place to reach further afield and now sell my prints all over the world.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I sell prints and canvases, using my own photographs from around the world.
There are a wide selection of images from African wildlife, European architecture and other travel images to Highland cattle, Crumpet(that’s my dog) and other nature photography. There are some abstract images in there as well…
What inspires your work?
I’m an outdoors sort of person, so there’s nothing I love more than walking early mornings across the fields and through the woods nearby.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, and always have a camera to hand where practical – whenever I’m unable to take it with me, I spend my time looking for “visual opportunities” for when I return.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I’m taking photographs every day, as I work with Google and others shooting virtual tours for hotels and venues around the UK.
Some of my commercial work is not creatively fulfilling, though I prefer it to “really working for a living”. As a result I’m keen on abstract work and wildlife as it’s far removed from most of my corporate work.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I tend to look at things differently in everyday life, and this transposes to the photographs I create.
To illustrate: I’ve spent some time travelling around Africa, and the tendency with wildlife images especially, is to attempt to recreate the photographs you’ve seen countless times before: roaring lions, ear-flapping elephants and yawning hippos. I try to capture a different viewpoint, concentrating on the textures and light, rather than the animal’s form itself, and bring this to bear on all forms of photography.
Don’t look to replicate the picture postcard photos you’ve seen before – though it’s difficult not to press the shutter when that bull elephant “flaps away” in front of you!
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a studio for product and portrait shoots, but most of my work is on location.
All the post-production is done by me, with as little alteration as possible from the original image. I get it right “in camera”, rather than relying on Photoshop!
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Keep going, believe in your own work, take advice but don’t take it as gospel, and stick to your “creative guns”.
Check your pricing – is it realistic compared to your competition, and will it keep you alive if you’re relying on the work. I see so many businesses with products priced too cheaply.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
It takes time to build up a head of steam – the more you sell, and get involved in the community, the more visibility you get.
Ask your customers what they love about your work – and what they don’t – and listen.
Do your research, check shipping times/costs to all countries you intend to supply, and do what you say!
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love walking my dog – Crumpet – and play boules for a local pub team in the Cotswolds.
Friends and family take up the rest of my time, and some golf when my back allows it!
What is your favorite quote?
The purpose of art is to wash the dust of daily life off our souls – Pablo Picasso
Where can people find out more about your business?
It’s all on Etsy, though you can follow me on twitter – @shortwork – where I show off recent commercial work and interesting images/ideas I come across.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Trust yourself, create what you love, enjoy it.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.