The Starting Point
It has been about 4 month since I’ve opened my Etsy shop for my photography prints. I have listed the photos that I’m passionate about. One can find panoramic prints of landscape and nature photography, regular size prints of animals, nature, landscape, urban, diptych, triptych and some more unique prints. The point is not to tell you what I have in the store though.
The Journey Begins
My photography journey started somewhere along the way when I got my first professional camera which was a DSLR, Pentax K-r. The Pentax K-r is not really a professional DSLR but it was a nice entry level camera for me to handle. It helped in producing higher quality photos that I couldn’t get with my previous point and shoot Fuji camera. With the Pentax in my hand I started taking photos of basically everything. Experimenting with different objects and the way light was affecting them and soon enough got the courage to work with live beautiful models.
My first photo shoot with a model was a great success, not because I took amazing pictures, but because I didn’t. After the photo shoot I went with the wonderful model/singer, Megan Sanches, to the nearest Coffee Bean and showed her all the exposures we took. I thought we had really good photos for her but soon enough she showed me I was a little off. Megan, as an experienced model, pointed out things that I seemed to ignore during the shoot. There was some unnecessary harsh shadows on certain places of her face, eyes squinting, some wrong angles and so on. Taking all those comments into consideration, she still paid me a great compliment saying that ‘we still got some great photos without taking too many photos’. There was more quality than quantity. Awesome!
Since my first shoot I got more experienced and paid attention to more details. I started taking head shots and editorial shots with actors/actresses, models, singers, comedians, etc. Of course I also took photographs of landscape and nature because it just felt good doing so.
Peter Lik, My Inspiration
During a trip to Las Vegas with my wife (girlfriend at that time) and friends, we went to the Forum Shops where I first discovered a stunning landscape photography gallery. The gallery of Peter Lik. Some of the photos were amazingly big and saturated, the color really popped out. The quality seemed to be of the highest. When I was looking at his most famous pictures such as “Whispering Winds of Change” and “Ghost” I decided I want to have my own gallery one day! Ever since, I am always thinking of the next best landscape photograph I can take. I started taking panoramic shots more often and simply focused on what will look absolutely amazing as a huge print on one’s wall.
The Opening of My Shop
I think it was a day after we got back from Las Vegas that I went online and researched where I can start selling my photography that I already have taken and got great compliments on. After a couple of hours I decided to invest my energy (an just a small amount of money) into opening an Etsy Shop. It was time for the photos to take space on the market and be attached to titles, descriptions and tags. Opening the store didn’t take much of my time and I started listing my photos, one after another. After reading somewhere online about the Etsy shop and secrets to success in it, I slowed down the listing pace so I will have more to show in a longer period of time. It’s one of the strategies you learn with time.
The Bitter Truth
Truth be told, I have a little over a 100 items in my Moshe Levis Photography Etsy Shop, and I sold only one so far. It was a great 9 piece wall art and my client’s excitement was up to the roof. You can see it here, 9 piece Colorful Abstract. I always try and promote my store and photography on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and my own personal website Moshe Levis Photography, but so far it doesn’t seem to help as much as I wish. With that in mind I am not giving up. I will keep listing amazing photographs and hope that people who love them will purchase them and hang the photographs in their homes or offices.
It can be hard to determine the dollar value of one’s photograph because many photographers just want to sell their photos in any way they can. If a picture is ending up on one (or more) of the royalty stock photos out there, their value immediately decreased since they are available to every person for a low price (considering) and the photos then being download and used in many ways. I believe that some photographs must get the attention like every famous fine art painting out there. A million dollar painting can take 2 minutes painting or 2 years and so does a photograph. One can wait on top of a mountain for hours, being cold and risking his/hers life just to capture an amazing exposure at a precise moment. The value of a photograph also comes from creativity and importance to the time being. In order to increase my photographs value I am making some of the exposures limited editions so maybe only 1 or 3 will be printed. That way only 3 people in the world can have those photos, hence the price.
The Journey Never Ends
I’m sure that opening a photo gallery can be an expensive investment (I’m actually researching it as I’m writing) but I am still chasing my dream of having this gallery of BIG prints. I will have a wide verity of sizes, print medias and exposures. The plan I have in mind, for starters, is to have 1-4 prints every month because printing can be very expensive if you want to get the best quality paper, ink, coating, framing and mounting. Then, I may find places to put my photography in other galleries and see how good (or bad) they do. After learning more and having more experienced with other’s galleries, I will look for a place for my own.
1. Starting small is not a bad thing. Almost everyone starts small and gets bigger in time. In fact, everything I have ever done with my photography, from the first photo shoot to taking large panoramic landscape photos, taught me a lot of things that I could not learn otherwise. Experiencing Peter Lik’s gallery didn’t make me jealous; it got me inspired. Something to look up to and think before taking every shot. Whatever happens with my Etsy shop, good or bad, I will not give up until I have my own gallery, and the day I’ll get to that bridge… I’ll take a picture of it
2. I have learned that in order to be successful you MUST be consistent with what you’re doing if it’s working and change it if it’s not working but ALWAYS invest time in your business and do not neglect it. It may be tough at times but it all pays off.
3. Do not give up if you are not selling anything for the first few months, even a year, just keep listing and if you believe in yourself you’ll find ideas and ways that will eventually will help you make sells and you’ll start making money from what you love.