Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Selling Photography and other good things...

There is something fulfilling about determining your own destiny, believing in yourself and your abilities and being confident enough to think that somewhere out there, someone wants what you have to sell. There is something awfully humbling about listing your items for sale, seeing people visit, but not having any purchases. This is the time that those less confident give up. This is the time when I begin to do some research and take a few risks. The marketing person in me, says that in order to reach the masses you have to be more visible. Yes, we can post our offering on ETSY, and they do a fantastic job of promoting crafters, but ultimately we are responsible for our own successes. I have been reading, reading, reading how people became successful and here are a few things I have learned:

1) You have to keep listing items. Shoot for a minimum of 100 listings. Work hard at developing your key words, tagging your items, and your photos. Photos of your product have to be crisp and clean. Mine, not always so good, but I decided to work at the 100 listings first then put in better pictures. About 80% of my photos are crisp, some a little blurry, but the blurry ones are not as important to me as the photos of my photo cards and photographs.

2) Get out more. Blog, meet fellow bloggers, go to craft fairs, use your items to promote yourself. I just began sending some sample cards out to unique card shops to gauge their interest.

3) Give your buyers more. I was selling just photos and then I started to look at other shops. They sell a variety of sizes, frames, etc. Many sell photos as art at 8 x 8 and larger art prints. These can be ordered on line and I have found the price to be about $12.50 per print. I haven't done it yet, because I haven't determined which photos are these that I want to focus on. I think if I start that I would create some that could be framed as a set.

4) Find out how others are getting their products printed. I just read a huge article about VISTA Print and how they are ripping off their customers with hidden credit card fees. You can find the article on the ETSY site. I will try to link it here later. I have now switched to Overnight Printers at I will let you know how they do.

Check out my ETSY site and see the new photo cards I am offering. By Friday, I plan to have over 100 items listed.

5) I was told that listing on Friday seems to be the time when you get the most people viewing your products. I don't agree with this completely. What you get on Friday is all the people who have nothing to do on Friday nights, and spend their time shopping. Which is a good thing, but do you really think that there isn't an opportunity 7 days a week? I am trying to list at least three times a week. It keeps me consistent, develops discipline, and keeps me looking for the best shot.

What are you learning as you build your business? Please come in a talk!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Challenge Me...

It's been awhile since my last post. I have been busy travelling, finishing up some last minute projects and working on an RFP for a possible consulting job. My company just reduced my hours to part-time so I thought I might try my hand at starting up my own business. My problem is I can't make up my mind what business to start. I have been writing a children's book for some time, I have my own craft site, but can't seem to come up with my focus. I love photography, but looking at my pictures I just don't feel the WOW! These are great! Maybe I should become a Professional Photographer?? LOL.

But I do love using a camera to see the world differently. I do love working with my hands, I do love children, and I have a ton of experience in association marketing. I am a creative minded individual with a ton of misdirected potential. So what do I do? I keep taking pictures, I keep writing, I keep trying to find my niche.

I would love to hear from you. What is your passion? Did you start a business? How did you know it was really what you wanted to do?

Spring is definitely in the air. I have shared my eagle story. Well, we just spotted another nest that is going to require a hiking trip this weekend. I am just fascinated with birds. If you have bird photo or some other photography passion, please share your stories, photos here. I would love to see them. I plan to decorate my office with nature pictures of birds in the wild. I have been collecting them, and taking pictures of them for some time now.

But lately its been spring blossoms that have been drawing my attention. All kinds of blossoms in pink, purple, white, green, blue, yellow. Isn't it wonderful to watch the season change, with the first sign of spring...a daffodil, a robin, a new nest. Virginia's state flower is the Dogwood, and right now they are blooming all over the state. What is your state flower? Try to capture it in a photo. Post your state flower here. Let's see if we can get pictures of all the state flowers!

My post today is about not getting discouraged. Keep trying new things. Keep looking for unique photo opportunities. It doesn't have to be complicated. Think of something you absolutely love to look at, love to see. Challenge yourself to see how many different ways you can take a picture of that special thing, person, place, item. Once you decide on the subject you will be amazed at how many you will see, and how many different ways you will begin to see it. My ETSY site doesn't seem to be getting a lot of sales. I love the photos, but apparently they either aren't the right size, aren't the right subject, or maybe not the right colors. I don't know but I do know I am learning, and I love the process. Perhaps I need to reevaluate the shop or the items I sell. Maybe people would prefer notecards? Art prints? Maybe I need to decide if I am going to be serious about photography and perfect my skill? Or continue to try new things until I find the right match for me?

What is important, is that I am having fun doing it. I am developing a better level of discipline. Finishing what I start, and not giving up. That alone is worth the effort. I challenge you today to think beyond the sale, think beyond your limits. See what others are doing, try your hand a something new, or a little edgy. Step in some puddles, climb a muddy hill to get closer to an eagle, walk in the rain, walk on the wild side. Whatever it is, do it with passion.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Before and After Photos

I mentioned in my last post this new site called Picnik and I promised to share with you a drastic photo change I did for some of our attendees at our spring convention. The Olympic Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner was our speaker and took time out of his day to meet, autograph books and pose with our attendees. He really is a great guy! But he sweats!! And you know what that looks like on a photo. So I took the liberty of touching the photos up with the blemish fix option on the site. And it worked wonders. This site removes red-eye, whitens teeth, fixes blemishes, allows you to layer and change backgrounds and more. Its easy and fun. I have tried using Photoshop and the learning curve was just too slow for me. I still plan to master Photoshop but Picnik helps you experiment, test things out and see what is possible. It's a blast! So, hope you can see the differences. I did do some cropping on this photo as well. And removed the shine on foreheads, cheeks, noses!

Remember the sweat marks under the arm? That was erased, but then I also cropped the photo. Remember the sweat mark near the button on his shirt? GONE! Compare the sweat around the forehead, shine, etc. All gone! Too fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Picniking is so much fun!

I have to tell you, I have just been playing around on the Picnik site that I mentioned earlier and have been having so much fun! You can too at It is so worth $25.00 a year for the advanced program but even if you aren't interested in paying for it, they offer many free programs you can try. You just load up your photos and start playing. This is a photo collage option that I just had to do. Isn't it fun? Not only that I cropped these photos, adjusted the color for better saturation, sharpened the image and edited a little bug right off the photo. Some of the petals were browning a bit, so I just put some blemish repair on them. Wait until you see the photos I am going to post tomorrow. A before and after of a sweaty speaker with lots of shine and glistening. I used Picnik, and voila! All gone. Check it out tomorrow.

This weekend I went into town to see the Cherry Blossoms around the Washington DC area. I simply love them as you can see. I am sure I will be posting more photos soon, but these pictures are gorgeous! Its my favorite time during the spring season. When the wind blows, its like little pink petal tears are floating all around the city. They almost smell like cotton candy! Okay, maybe some of that is my imagination but I have to tell you its magical. Enjoy my photos, let me know your thoughts. I will be posting them on my ETSY site as photos as well as cards if you are interested.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

People Helping People...

When I started this blog I wanted it to be a place where people could come and share ideas. Where we could encourage one another. This began because when I became a member of ETSY at, I found so many people willing to share their story. How they got started, how they market their company. Many even told me how they do what they do. And then there were those that simply took the time to say a kind word, offer a word of encouragement to others. So this week, I want to introduce you to some of my friends, and their shops, their blogs.

It is so important to let people know when they have made a difference in your life. Tonight, I want you to check out an ETSY photographer who offers such unique and different photos. I have never met Erin Tyner except in email and she was so willing to share with me how she does what she does, that I just want to see her successful. And it seems she is quickly becoming that success! I believe it's because she doesn't view others as competitors. She embraces others and their creativity and encourages them by sharing her story. Her photos are so unique and different and they certainly are her own original ideas. Her willingness to share with me how she does what she does was encouragement and its that kind of response to others that I believe comes back to you 20 times greater. Take a look at Erin's site. Please tell her I sent you! She doesn't even know I am doing this, so I hope she will be pleasantly surprised! You will love the whimsy and thought provoking stories her photos inspire. You can find Erin here: Check her out! And tell her Taryn said Hi! This is one of her photos!

The second person I just recently met via on line blogging is Dani. Dani, you have made a difference in my life. You took the time to read one of my blog entries, and on a very low day, reading your comments to my post simply got me going again. I was able to put the sorry feelings away and move on. You took the time and I thank you for that. Blogging may seem easy to people but when you take the time to bare your soul and someone takes the time to realize that you are hurting it makes a difference. Your blog site is an inspiration to me and I am sure many other people. You can check out Dani's site at

Tell her I said hello! Her blog is a lot of fun and I think you will catch the inspiration bug just by visiting her site!

Don't under estimate the power of social networking. Keeping in touch with your family and friends, meeting people from around the world is expanding your universe and making a difference in the world one person at a time. Take the time to make someones day.