I am agonizingly being molded into a photographer the hard way – and I’m not enjoying one bit.
I don’t like selling things; I like buying things. That right there explains more than anything why I was a Contract Negotiator for more than 25 years and only spent 4 months working as a waitress. I really like being the one holding the purse strings and doling out the pennies, as well as the secrets to successfully getting my pennies. I don’t like trying to guess what Joe-Public wants, when he wants it and how he wants it. Joe-Public is far too fickle and cantankerous for my tastes, he complains about everything, and generally ends up pissing me off royally. And he’s always underage and trying to get you to serve him liquor.
Now I have to figure out how to get Jane-Public and her girl friends to sashay over to my Etsy shop and relieve me of 36.73826 tons of gewgaws and while they’re at it, relieve me of some annoying debt. Since I don’t have sales experience, and since I hate sales and would rather not have to invent any sales techniques or savvy, I’ve been hitting every Etsy beginner “what you should know” and “10/9/6/18/40 Tips for XYZ” article I can find. And I did discover some good stuff that actually helped, like some FireFox software hacks that make a whole lot of functions you have to perform a whole lot easier, and some great ideas for tags. The other great idea was how to present your items that boiled down to – don’t use crappy photos.
My photos are crappy. They said don’t use flash; I’d tried to use flash and they were right, but when I hadn’t used flash, my photos were dark compared to everyone else. They said use natural sunlight early in the morning or early evening. They said just sit near the appropriate window. I’d taken my photos at night inside. They said use interesting angles and props; show the item being used. Well, I did use my hands, neck and shoulders, and I took pictures of myself (neck down and boobs up, wrist to finger tips) wearing all of my items, but that’s as far as my imagination traveled.
I woke up the morning determined to improve my photos and ran into my first snag. One of the first things a homeowner in Florida does is plant lots of trees on their newly acquired piece of turf to provide SHADE; lots and lots of beautiful shade. Shade to help keep the A/C bills down in the summer and tree removal crews busy hauling them off your roof or out of your living room after the path of a hurricane. I am a dutiful Floridian and my trees are huge. I know there is sunlight in the morning because I can see it pouring down on the tarmac out on the street and I can see softly dappled and shifting patterns on the tile and on my hands. However, my camera insists the flash is necessary. I think my camera believes I live in a cave.
So I tried the backyard and I had about 20 minutes before the sun blazed over the house and tried to turn me into a crispy fried crunchy. I did, however, get a few items photographed, but oy! What a pain. When my body temperature would reduce to merely sizzling, I’d hop outside and do one or two more items, then swim back to the house in the river of my own sweat to give the A/C a shot at trying to stop the grilling process again. Long before noon, I gave up. By 4 p.m., sunlight was peeking into my bedroom window, so I set up again and resumed the laborious torture until once again my dutiful trees did their job and put me out of my misery for the rest of the day.
Now I need some feedback – have I improved? Am I on the right track? Are the new photos better? Can you tell which are new? What do you think about my pricing structure? Seem reasonable? Too low? Too high?
Talk to me, people – I suck at this and need professional (or non-professional) help!