Should You Open Your Own Online Print Shop?
The ways by which photographers go to make a living is shifting and changing constantly. Thanks to the continued growth of the internet and social media, we’re beginning to see photographers take matters into their own hands. Martina Tolot (who’s work we featured here a couple of weeks ago) recently opened up an online print shop, and we were intrigued: why did she feel that opening an affordable online print shop was the way forward? So… we asked her!
What’s made you want to open up a print shop?
I’ve thought about starting a print shop for a while, and for me it was really about having a place and a use for my film photography. A blog is nice, but it feels so disconnected to what I know as a photographer. I had a fine arts education, and would spend hours in a dark room printing my images for classes and shows. Holding a final print in your hands feels right, fulfilling the photograph’s purpose, which is to exist physically on paper (or other media) and viewed as art. Looking at my images on Tumblr just didn’t feel complete to me.
What’s your favourite medium to shoot?
My 35mm photography is my way of connecting to where I live, where I travel and what I’m experiencing. I don’t know how to do something or go somewhere without a camera in my bag. It’s second nature to me, and that connection is what I want to share with other people, which gave me another reason to launch my print shop.
How did you come up with the price point for your prints?
Creating affordable art was a bit of a struggle for me. Coming from this fine arts education where ideally you would be selling a print in a gallery for $2,000 and up was difficult to set aside; but I think that conceptual fine art photography lives in a different space than decorative art photography. I had to make the distinction for myself and between my own work to come to a place where it felt right to sell a print for $50.
Why do you think photographers should consider opening an online print shop?
It is so easy now to build a website or even just add a store to an existing site, why not start a print shop if you want to? If you can afford to spend $350 a year at most for a square space for example, why not try? I say go for it!
See Martina Tolot’s prints for sale at printshop.martinatolot.com