Tell us a little about your work…
I’m actually fairly new to photography. It became a serious hobby of mine about two years ago. But since then, I have become rather obsessed with it, spending many many (oh so many) hours taking photographs and learning how to manipulate them in my digital darkroom, Photoshop.
What is the best/most exciting thing about working with your medium?
Having a creative outlet is relatively new to me and it has been wonderful. For me, the work in Photoshop is as important as taking the initial photograph. I love working on a photograph in Photoshop to manipulate color and mood. Sometimes I know what I want the final image to look like and sometimes I just start experimenting without any clear idea. I like both processes. Having a final image in mind and being able to achieve it is very satisfying. But so is just approaching an image with a sense of play, without any particular notions about it, and then to watch it emerge is quite exciting. I don’t know how to paint or draw, and so I sometimes really manage to surprise myself with the images that I am able to create.
What is the most challenging/frustrating thing about working with your medium?
Finding enough time to do it! Ideally, the best time of day to shoot is either in the early morning (sunrise and just after) and around sunset. Because of that full-time job thingy, it’s very hard for me to structure my days to do that. Unlike painting or drawing, which you can do in the comfort of your own home, with photography you actually have to go to the darned place! Which I love doing and I’ve discovered so many places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. But again, time restrictions mean that I don’t get out nearly as much as I’d like to.
How else do you market/sell your work besides Etsy?
I have a personal website: www.irenesuchocki.com, as well as a flickr site. Earlier this year I must have given out about 700 business cards to various Etsy sellers to include in promo packages during art and craft fairs this summer. I have also tried a couple of ads on popular blogs, but it’s hard to tell if they had any impact.
What Etsy sellers have you recently bought from?
I have purchased gorgeous jewelry from Vintaj and mattskiss99, a business card holder from flickaalice, ACEOs from heather91 and asilart, and some yummy smelling soap from SoapbySeaBlossom. There’s so much great talent on Etsy. I plan on buying as many gifts as I can from Etsy sellers.
What advice can you offer for other Etsy sellers (especially newbies)?
It takes some work to promote your store on Etsy. Use the mechanisms available to you: Showcase, the forums, listing items daily (I try to list at least twice a day). The key is to do what you can to keep your store visible and that means being active on Etsy on a daily or near-daily basis. Customer service is also critically important. Giving buyers the status of their order, dealing with problems (lost or damaged goods) in a professional manner, including personal touches in your packages (thank you notes, coupons) all go a long way to establishing a good rapport with your customers. Also, try not to get too attached to whether or not you sold anything today, or how long it’s been since you last sold something. It’s too much of an emotional roller coaster.
Do you have pets?
Yes. I have a plump cat named “Six” (because she has six claws on her front paws). She is, of course, the best cat in the universe.
Do you have a day job?
Sigh. Yes. By day I’m a mild-mannered Technical Writer (which means I write user guides for computer software), but by night I’m a … well … still pretty mild-mannered … photographer! I’m also a certified yoga instructor and I usually teach a class a week to some of my friends.
What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
It used to be reading, but now I more often find myself buying a bunch of flowers to photograph indoors.
What is your least favorite chore?
Cleaning out the garage (something I’ve been procrastinating on for a while now).
What is your favorite sweet treat?
You can visit Irene's Etsy shop at www.IreneSuchocki.etsy.com.
Items currently for sale in her shop range from $14 - $32, and she has some great gift ideas for Father's Day!