I would like to introduce you all to Sonja Quintero an interior designer and photographer. She has a really unique style, I really like. Lets get to know more about her in this interview.
SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Sonja: Well, essentially I come along an object or a scene that interests me and I take some shots of it with my Nikon D800 or with one of my film cameras. I would say a lot of my work is more like street photography because I photograph what I see out in the cities, but some of my work is created by setting up still lifes, which I’m growing quite fond of. And I’ve also loved taking photos of architecture and cemeteries – I find them quite beautiful.
Once I’ve uploaded my images to my computer, then I look at the ones that have “potential”, maybe do some minor editing and then narrow things done to images I think will work great for my online shops. It’s definitely an on going process. Sometimes, I’ll come back to photos I took years ago and find a “gem”!
SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy? What’s your favorite part of Etsy? What’s your least favorite part?
Sonja: I actually started selling purses on Etsy back in 2008. But I quickly realized I wasn’t that good at it! Plus, it wasn’t something I was as passionate about as photography. So, in 2010 I decided to open my photography shop, Squintphotography.
My favorite part of Etsy is the exposure you can get as an artist, but also all the great art you can discover. My least favorite would be the bias towards more popular shops. It can sometimes be hard for customers to find you when they browse and the same featured shops keep coming up. This isn’t exclusive to Etsy, I’ve seen this on most online art and craft sites.
SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Sonja: 1. Have great photos! It’s the only way to showcase your work to a potential buyer who can not touch and feel what you make.
2. List only your best work. Don’t add listing just to fill up your shop. I would say have at least enough items to fill one page, and make them good!
3. Promote, promote, promote! Get your links out there on social media, share what you’re doing and what you love and you will gain followers and eventually sales.
SammyPhoto: How did you get into photography?
Sonja: A few ways. A friend of mine was taking a photography class and saying how fun it was, while at the same time I was working as an Interior Designer and I often had to take photos at my clients home while construction was going on. My boss complimented my photos, saying they were really good. So, it got me thinking and I eventually bought a Nikon film SLR. I wanted to learn to proper way, with film and a “normal” 50mm lens. Over the years I took a few college photo courses here and there, but am largely self taught.
SammyPhoto: What inspires you?
Sonja : I actually love the work of photographers, Keith Carter and Peter Brown. Their work is mostly different from mine, but it speaks to me in almost a spiritual way. Their work taught me to go out there, explore and shoot whatever I find interesting.
SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Sonja: I am from Dallas, Texas and although I wouldn’t say it’s directly influenced me as an artist, living here has offered some great opportunities. There is a real growing support for local art and artists, which is fabulous. Also, the city offers so many cool things to shoot and discover. One of my fave things is to walk through downtown in the morning and take photos of the buildings and shop windows.
SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Sonja: I would say its modern, urban, sometimes dark and funky.
SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Sonja: I still love to sew and recently finished a quilt for my husband and I. Also, we love to go hear live music and try new restaurants in town. And if I’m lucky, he’ll take me dancing sometimes!
SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Sonja: No, not yet! Besides selling on Etsy, occasionally I do Interior Photography for realtors and designers. It’s a way to combine my love for interior design and photography and mostly, it helps supplement my Etsy revenue. Also, I do sell online at Fine Art America and Society 6.
SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Sonja: I have a BFA in Interior Design and Art History and have taken some college level courses on Photography, but essentially taught myself the basics. Also, I have many friends that are photographers and they have definitely helped me out along the way!
SammyPhoto: Share a blog you love with us.
SammyPhoto: Anything else you would like to add ?
Sonja : I consider myself first and foremost an artist. I always loved drawing as a kid and then became interested in design as a teenager. Photography is my “grown-up” passion now, but is definitely influenced by my love of art and my experience in the design world.