So it's time to get you caught up to speed on what I've been doing with my photography. Yes, more than just blogging!
One of my first goals has been to sell photo notecards. You know the type, you see them in gifts shops and boutiques; there's a pretty picture on the front and they are blank inside so you can get to letter-writing. This has actually been months in the making for me, because I first and foremost had to learn how to use my Photoshop Elements so that I could use the template provided by a professional lab to have them made. Since PE does not come with a manual, this was difficult.
Then I got a job and there was never really time to pursue this, as I have lamented. So, recently I buckled down and really did the work: I found the online PE8 manual, I successfully created a file for a notecard from the template (more on that in a sec), and I did tons of research on how to sell locally.
I had found a professional printing lab last summer that does just about everything, and they provide the templates for press-printed projects like notecards, photo books, etc. (They are also super, SUPER nice) Now what I'm doing is inquiring around to see what the process is for selling. I already know that a wholesale price will have to be decided by me, because there will be a markup which is how the shop makes its own profit. I've had to tone down my initially wild ideas about how many sets of cards and how many different photos, because the profit margin would be way too slim.
The next thing I'm aiming for is an Etsy shop to sell prints of my best stuff. I've been lurking on tons of photographer's shops there, getting a feel for how they price sizes, how they print, etc. I was so blue when I noticed everyone had these super-awesome papers and inks, and then I realized, duh, they get them done professionally. The lab I'm using has all the goods, so I'm happy. :) I've also had to figure out how to ship prints, because they must be carefully packaged - and I have to find out where to get the packing materials - and then for larger prints you can no longer use standard shipping packages. It's really not something that takes a day to set up, that's for sure.
The third thing is, I've been seeing photographers advocate having work in an art gallery and at art shows. So I set to work googling art galleries in town that would be receptive to my kind of photography. (As in, not super-contemporary where an empty plant pot is supposed to have a thousand different interpretations) Obviously, I prefer nature, and I prefer to use the best technique I can and let the earth speak for itself, rather than get it all gussied-up with post-editing. Fortunately I found two or three places I'd like to go visit.
This meant, of course, that I'd need a portfolio. So I spent DAYS arranging and rearranging and deleting and adding until I got twelve nature photos that I think are both eye-catching and high quality. (Trutst me, the two do not go hand-in-hand automatically) Then I sent them to the printing lab as 9x12s, got a 9x12 portfolio binder, and just yesterday I picked them up and there you have it - my first portfolio. (Of course, presentation is everything and I ended up totally rearranging them again, ha!)
THEN, I knew I wanted a blog that I could refer to on the back of my notecards and at my Etsy shop and all that. Just something for customers to refer to every now and again, nothing intensive. But I needed a banner. A real one. As you can see above, I FINALLY learned how to make them, using Photoscape. (I tried in Photoshop, but it just wasn't happening and the manual was no help. I even googled but people's how-to's STILL weren't cutting it) So, happily I created a new blog, slapped my banner up there, and let it sit for a while while other things were getting put in order.
I had created a business name that I really loved. It didn't have my name in it, so maybe in the future if friends *AHEM* with high-quality prints wanted to join, they could. But wouldn't you know it? I googled the name and SOMEBODY'S USING IT. So I googled about nine different variations of it and - THEY ARE BEING USED. Expletive deleted!
And blog deleted, too. Good thing I didn't start posting on it yet. So, I finally found one that I don't see anyone using via the web. But then I realized (or my dad reminded me) that I need to create a fictitious name.
As I understand it, your company name is your name, but it goes by a fictitious name also and that's what the public sees. You have to register it in your state, and if it's too close to what someone else has you may have to get their permission. (I've been through this at work, it's ridiculous)
So, now you have me - yes, really - creating a small business. W. T. H.
Once you have the name registered and a few other papers filed, you don't really have to do anything else, espeically if you don't have a shop or office space or anything. But registering it means I have the name (renewing annually, of course) and will be free to splash it all across my notecards, business cards, Etsy shop, and blog.
Except now of course that means I can't do anything else until I get my name registered. C'est la vie.
Oh! Before I forget - I totally am on mission to have a telephoto lens very soon. I know exactly the one I want, how much it is, and where to get it. This is a big deal because I will be using my own money to do this, and life after credit cards means long waits. But I want to get close to things, and I have to take this step in order to really have a diversity of prints to offer down the line. I think it's time.
Now, excuse me while I go dive into paperwork.