I’m over Etsy.

I’ve tried my best for a couple of years, but it’s time to face the truth: my shop on Etsy is going nowhere. I’ve put it in vacation mode and will be closing officially on New Year’s Eve.

I’m still a photographer; nothing can change that.

This blog, and TheiPhoneographyBlog.wordpress.com, will remain active. I don’t plan on posting to either again until early next year. Maybe I’ll post more often now that the pressure to be a financial success is off my shoulders.

Thanks for reading this. Thanks following me. I’ll be back in a few weeks.


I’m celebrating!

I have just spent the last week (yikes!) completely re-writing my SEO. (That’s short for “search engine optimization”, which is how you get found on Etsy.) It’s been quite the experience, know what I mean?

Anyway, as we all know, celebrations call for presents! So here’s my present to you.

Please use the coupon code THANKYOU10OFF for — you guessed it — 10% off anything in the store through October 10. Ladies and gentlemen, start your holiday shopping now! Just surf on over to —


Or better still, just click on the word “Shop” at the top of the page.


Debunking Etsy Myths

One of the key myths about Etsy is that the more items you have listed, the easier it is to be found in search. More listings means more opportunities to be found in search, which means more customers and sales.

I agree, to a point: you have to be found in search before anyone can buy your work.

When I first opened, I wanted to join the Female Photographers of Etsy (f/POE) team. I needed about two dozen images to qualify, got busy, and was on the team in a few weeks. I’m glad I did, too; I’ve met a lot of great friends that way. (Hi, ladies!)

My next goal was to reach 100 listings, then 150. Earlier this month, I hit 152. I must really on my way, right?


None of it made the slightest difference, so I joined a promotions team. I started making a lot treasuries, got into many, many more, and began playing games to build followers and favorites. And I was successful, too! Except… ninety percent of my followers and faves are from other people on the promotions team, and they aren’t buying.

So for my next step, I’ve decided to really make an effort to learn all about SEO – search engine optimization. SEO has been called a black art consisting of keywords, tags, and mystical, constantly-changing algorithms that only Etsy and Google understand. To sell on Etsy, good SEO is essential, but it takes a lot of time and experimentation to get it right. You make a few changes at a time, see what works, what doesn’t, and make more changes. It takes time to figure out. (The fact that my favorites and followers are cluttered up with people who are required to favorite my items and follow me makes it that much harder.)

It was tIme to make some drastic changes.

First, I’m reducing my team participation to the bare minimum. Once the fake faves and follows drop off, I’ll be able to make a few SEO changes and actually be able to see what works and what doesn’t.

Second, I’m getting back on track, aesthetically speaking. They say that if you do what you love, success will follow. Well, I took a good, long look at my shop this morning. Visually, I was all over the map: black and white, intense color, architecture, landscapes, nature. I couldn’t tell what kind of photography I loved, and I know me!

This had to change immediately.

My first love is black and white photography, followed closely by alternative imagery like pinhole and iPhoneography. So I spent most of the morning deactivating any listings I didn’t love. I’m down to about 100 now, but the shop finally looks like just one person made the images.

Will it make a difference? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. Comments are welcome.

Adding smaller images to the shop!


Photo, color, art deco movie palace

In an effort to reach more customers, I’ve decided to add smaller images to the shop. I’ve created a new section, Under $20 USD, for the 5×7’s. To ensure the images are the best they can be given the smaller size, I’m  “re-mastering” everything. It takes a while, but I’m a perfectionist, so it has to be done. A fun Labor Day weekend is in my immediate future, I fear.

As always, comments are welcome.

Etsy Wholesale

As you can probably guess from the  title of this post, Etsy is more than just a gazillion individual artists and crafters trying to make a few bucks from their creative efforts. They also have a wholesale section for retail buyers looking for interesting handmade items. They could be buying for a small brick and mortar store, department stores, or major catalog houses such as Pottery Barn.

I applied a few weeks ago, figuring I had nothing to lose. On my application I explained that while I had no experience selling wholesale, I was a government buyer for over 20 years. Having been one, I knew what professional buyers wanted, needed, and expected, and that I’d have no problem working with them.

I found out tonight I got in.

I’m not sure what’s next, but I’m looking forward to starting the new phase of the business.

Nikons, Old and New

I want to sell work through Fine Art America and offer products like pillows in the shop, but when I saw the image size requirements, I knew I was in trouble. The minimum size needed for anything bigger than a cell phone case is 3500 pixels on the short side. The images from my 12.3 megapixel Nikon D300s have a short side of 2848 pixels.

Obviously, something had to give – either my plans, or my camera. 

My plans won. After checking B&H, I got a quote for my old camera and ordered a refurbished D7100. Money is tight, and I didn’t want to invest in new gear right now, but facts are facts: the D300s just doesn’t cut it any more. 

So tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have a new camera. The maximum image size is 4000×6000, and it has a very fast, 24.1 megapixel sensor. I think this is the same processor in Nikon’s top-of-the-line, I’ll-buy-it-when-I-win-the-lottery, D4. (That baby will set you back $6,000.) Everything I’ve read says it’s a great camera.

I won’t be able to offer larger products for my current images, but I’ll be all set for the future.

Second sale on Etsy!

Double Rainbow At Sunset, Looking Out From The Beach

A bright double rainbow after a thunderstorm at sunset.

I just had my second sale on Etsy!

Am I excited? YES!  Am I satisfied? NO!

I keep telling myself that with enough hard work, I may be able to pay a few bills with the shop one day. With that in mind, here’s looking forward to my third sale!

Finally! 100 listings on Etsy!

B/W photo, deserted house, empty room with picture window

Deserted Room, Norfolk, VA

In case you were wondering why I hadn’t posted in a while, I was working on an important goal.

It’s taken a while to get there, but I did it! 100 listings on Etsy!

This is kind of a big deal; you apparently don’t really start to get found in search until you hit the 100 mark.

I have an actual “About” page!

I finally got around to filling my about page! Go me!

New Listings!

I’ve been busy today, listing new images in the shop. Take a look over at NancyGoldsteinPhoto.etsy.com. If you like what you see, or know someone who might, please share and pin.