February 4, 2012

Sweet Shop - Florida Naturally (photography)

Introducing my latest Sweet Shop -
Jamie owner/photographer of Florida Naturally.

Learn some great photography tips, what inspires Jamie and enter to win a beautiful 8x10 Photo of your choice!

1. What products do you make/sell?
I sell photography prints of pictures my husband, Nicholas, and I take. It’s mainly photography of the Florida wildlife that surrounds us, even smack dab in Greater Orlando.

2. What inspired you to start creating?
Nicholas taught me everything I know about using a prosumer (vs. consumer) camera. I went to school for studio art, and feel like I have an eye for composition, but I never took a photography class. He knew I'd love the technical challenge of getting the settings on the camera right, while I'd also love the aesthetic challenge of finding a great composition.

Prior to my Florida, Naturally Etsy shop, I was selling mason jar lanterns and vintage cameras in another Etsy shop. I really enjoyed setting up the lanterns in various situations and with different lighting, and photographing them for the shop.

Most of the items were pretty heavy and the shipping was cost-prohibitive, so I was looking for an alternative. Nicholas suggested I sell our photography, since that was what I most enjoyed about the previous shop.

3. What camera do you use for your photography?
A Nikon D80, which we've used so much that the lens motor just putzed out on us. Time to take it to a repair shop…and maybe get a second camera so we can both shoot at the same time.

4. Where are your favorite places to photograph?
I love being in nature - out on our kayak on one of Florida's spring-fed rivers, on a beach, hiking through one of the reserves/parks/forests nearby. I absolutely adore Merritt Island, a national wildlife refuge that butts up against NASA's Cape Canaveral facility. We've seen wild boars, otters, alligators, and hundreds of migratory and wading birds and raptors...the variety of wildlife there is astounding.

5. What is your favorite organization tip/tool?
My tip would be to keep everything digital.
Our files are all digital, and we access our printer through the web, so it keeps shop-related clutter in our home to a minimum (especially compared to the mason jar lantern days!).

6. What tip can you give others interested in making/selling similar items?
To be 100% frank, I would say that Etsy isn't the best venue for most photography – especially nature photography. The items that tend to get featured – and, therefore, sell – are a little more ethereal and artsy. I'm currently working with a local boutique to get our prints alongside their high-end clothing. Hopefully our photography will sell better in a physical setting.

8. What is your day job?
I'm a part-time graphics manager at Northland, A Church Distributed. I put nametags, lyrics, announcement slides, and other graphics into Inscriber, ProPresenter, and Keynote to later bring up during our weekend services. I absolutely love what I do, and I love working with my coworkers, our team’s volunteers, and the congregation. Our church has such a heart for community service, and I’m so blessed to be working there.

9. Describe your ideal weekend.
Day one – relax, unwind, ideally wear pajamas all day. Toss a tennis ball around the backyard for our dog. Lounge in our hammock. Cook something new.

Day two – take our kayak and go somewhere we haven’t been yet. Maybe the boat ramp we pass on the way to Merritt Island along 46. Take some pictures of a really gigantic alligator. Eat at a mom-and-pop catfish and frog leg place we love along US 1 near Mims (Catfish Cabin, if anyone is interested in knowing its name).

10. Where would be your dream place to travel for your photography?
I would love to go to the United Kingdom and Europe on a backpacking/hostel trip. On top of all the history packed into that continent (castles! cobblestone alleys! architecture!), I'd love to be exposed to wildlife I'd never see here in the States.

11. What other activities do you enjoy?
I lovelovelove to read. I devour books. I routinely pay overdue fines to our library. I’m a regular at the local used bookstore. I have at least one book on my smartphone at all times in case I find myself somewhere without a paperback in my purse. Right now I’m re-reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon for the millionth time.

I’m an amateur knitter, mildly addicted to Ravelry. Most of the people on our Christmas list this year got a cowl or scarf of some kind.

I also really enjoy cooking, especially with Nicholas. I’m hooked on Pinterest, which has prompted some pretty awesome meals in our home lately.

12. What is your sweetest memory from childhood?
I had so much freedom as a kid. There’s not one memory in particular; just a lot of happy memories of home run derby in the street, racing our bikes around the block, catching fireflies at night, writing stories in my best friend’s tree house, swimming, picking berries at my uncle’s farm…

13. What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

I love living in Florida, but my heart belongs to Charleston, South Carolina. The four years I lived there were phenomenal – being surrounded by history, living with great friends, enjoying the amazing food, walking everywhere. If you’ve never been, make plans to visit. Immediately.

14. What is one tip you could give to amateur photographers like myself?
Learn what those nearly indecipherable little symbols on your camera mean, and find out how to maximize what you have. The internet is an amazing resource. Don’t be afraid to look up photo tutorials. There are a lot of good ones out there! Even point-and-shoot cameras have a good deal of options. And if you’re still lacking something, Photoshop (and other image-editing programs) can make the difference between a lackluster shot and a great one. Different settings can really make your photo pop.

The main problem I see in product pictures on Etsy is that the focus isn’t on the item for sale – use your camera’s macro settings to get that focus if you’re close to the item! Learn how to use a photo-editing program to sharpen edges if your product still looks a little fuzzy. It’ll make a huge difference, trust me.

Find Florida Naturally here:

Now the Exciting Part!
Jaime is giving away an 8x10 photo of your choice.

Here's how to win!
(Leave a separate comment for each entry.)

Mandatory entries:
1.  Like Florida Naturally on Facebook- Facebook
2.  Follow my Blog, the Sweetest Memory - Blog

Additional Entries (Extra chances to win! Yeah!):
3.  Pin your favorite photo from Florida Naturally on your boards in Pinterest.  Leave your link as a comment.
4. "Like" the Sweetest Memory on Facebook - Facebook

Thank you so much for participating! Entries close (EXTENDED)Thursday, February 16th at 9:00 pm Arizona Time. A winner will be announced by February 17th. Good Luck!

**Would you like your shop featured in my Sweet Shop, please contact me for more information at thesweetestmemory@cox.net**

I am not paid for these featured shops.  I just like spreading the word about talented people in this world.


Gari Anne said...

Great interview! I am following your blog and like Florida Naturally on facebook.

Gari Anne said...

I pinned the Sea Oats pic on pinterest, here is the link:

Gari Anne said...

I also followed.liked Sweetest memory on facebook :)