Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview with Matt Tolk Photography

Yellow Beach Flower

I've had the honor of interviewing a truly talented photographer; Matthew Tolk. Matt has the most beautiful photographs up for sale in his shop; Matt Tolk Photography! I'm intrigued  by his amazing photos and by what he has to say about his business. 

1. Name: Matthew Tolk
Age: 29 years old
Where are you from? Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2. Tell us a bit about yourself and your shop/ business.
I now live with my beautiful fiancée here in sunny San Diego, California. In 2004, I graduated from a small state school in western Pennsylvania, with a degree in Communications Media, and soon after that I started working as a Photojournalist. After my last job in Washington, DC working for a Russian news station, my fiancée and I decided to move back to San Diego, where we had lived for two years before back in 2008-2010. I'm working full time as a videographer / editor for a publishing company now. We are both so happy to be back in a city where each sunset looks better then the night before. I truly now believe that there is more to life then just trying to climb up the ladder at your job and enjoying the simpler things all around us. 

I try to capture and make peoples eyes draw to the simpler things in my photos. Whether that is a bird standing in water, both the water and bird so still and calm that its reflection almost looks like a mirror image. Or a chair that has almost been forgotten about. Sitting so long in one place, on a back porch that a plant growing from underneath the floor boards is wrapping itself around the worn wicker.

3. When did you open your shop? Why did you decide to start your shop?
I opened my shop in late June of this year. It has been a dream of mine for some time now just to try and see what would happen if I tested the waters and put my pictures out there, and I guess myself, to be criticized. So far I have been blown away from all the kind words and "likes" and views.

4. How do you promote/ market your business? What works best?
I haven't really had the chance to do much promotion yet. I'm hoping I can at least get a Facebook page up for my shop sometime soon. I know I'm way behind on the times. 

Sunset at Sunset Cliffs

5. What’s your favourite item from your shop and why?
My favorite photo from my shop.... I'd have to say Sunset at Sunset cliffs. It is my first photograph that I've ever sold. That's something I'll never forget.

6. Do you also do business offline? If yes, what do you prefer and what works best?
I'm just now getting the itch to pursue trying to sell my prints in a actual store. Have been putting it off but I need to just stop thinking about it and just try and do it.

7. Where do you get inspiration?
I'm not really sure where or what I get inspired from, I guess as corny as it sounds, the world does. If you can just slow your life down and look around, how could you not be inspired.

8. Who is your target audience? Who would typically buy an item from you?
I don't or haven't yet really tried for a target market, Ha might be why I just have one sale! Any advice from your readers is much appreciated!

Sea of Red in a Field of Gold

9. Do you ship internationally?
I hope and would love to ship internationally.

10. What has been the most challenging part of starting and running your own business?
Probably the most challenging thing about starting to sell pictures is just getting them seen. Etsy has become a very, very addictive thing (in a very fun way).

11. What has been the best part of starting and running your own business?
The best part of doing this is that its given me more of a drive to do something that I love. 

12. Do you have any business tips you’d like to share with us?
As for business tips, not sure if it's a business tip but I'd just say, if you're doing something that puts a smile on your face, I'm willing to bet that it will put a smile on someone else’s too. As long as you're doing what you love, you're being successful in a way, right?

Hot Coals Only

13. If there were anything you could change about your business, right now, what would it be?
The only thing that I would like to change is just be able to find more time to scan pictures, my least favorite part of selling pictures online.

14. What are your goals and dreams for your business for the future? Where do you hope your shop will take you?
My goals for selling my pictures is just to be able to keep doing this for as long as I live. I hope to retire and keep doing this as my past-time and hobby.

15. What’s next now? Could we get a sneak peak of what you’ll be doing and sharing next? 
What's coming up in the near future for my shop? Well, some of my family was in town this past week. We went up to Venice Beach and LA, I tried to take some photos but mostly spent time visiting. ummm I have some ideas in my head for some new prints, just have to check back at the shop and see. (hooked haha)

16. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I'd just like to thank you, Katrine. Thanks for just showing an interest in my photos and for really thinking they are interesting enough for your blog. Much appreciation to you and your readers.

Yellow Sunset

Isn't he talented!? I absolutely LOVE all his photos and I love how he says where each photo was taken. It makes me want to visit that exact place so that I can experience the beauty that he so wonderfully portrays in his photos. 
I can't wait to see what's next, because Matt is surely going places!

Please show Matt some love by visiting his shop (please heart him) and e-mail him if you have any questions or requests. Also, be sure to be on the look out for his Facebook page.

Be sure to leave Matt a lovely comment below with feedback, tips, your thoughts, questions, etc.


Anonymous said...

Matthew does some great work; he has an eye for seeing a beautiful photo in the simple things around him. I also happen to be his very proud dad!

Tatiana said...

While I was reading Matthews interview, I felt as if he was talking about me. The obstacles he faces with Esty shop sounds so familiar:) But his pictures are so amazing that I'm sure he will succeeded. Now I go and send him some love on Etsy. :)

Matt Tolk said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Tatiana.

Anonymous said...

Oh my word ... his photos are beautiful!

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