My Etsy Shop & Photography Journey

Travel & Lifestyle Photographer based in Southern California - Hannah Wilson

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally ready to officially announce that I have an Etsy shop for my photography! I wanted to share with you a little bit about my journey with the camera, and give you a proper introduction to my new shop.

My Journey with Photography

Photography has been an interest of mine since high school. It began as a hobby, then I decided to study it at a very expensive private art school in San Francisco, which I quit after 2 semesters. I just wasn’t loving it—at least not enough to justify going into major debt.

I kept photography on the back burner for years, but something clicked last Thanksgiving, when I invested in my Nikon D750. Dropping a large sum of money on a single piece of equipment somehow gave me permission to act like a real photographer. In fact, even though I had been avidly taking pictures of things regularly, I was extremely hesitant to label myself as a photographer. It felt too high above me.

When I picked my new, fancy camera up from Best Buy, cradling it like a precious fragile object, I felt a new passion for photography that motivated me to create better quality images and search out unique perspectives. I can do so much more with my images than I ever could with my old camera. I can photograph inside dark churches without a tripod, I can bring my apturture all the way down to 1.8 and get that super blurry, magical background, I can shoot in RAW and manipulate the shadows in each image without ruining the quality. It’s amazing, actually, the creative freedom I gained when I bought my new camera.


If it wasn’t for that camera, I know for a fact that my photography show at Sagebrush café, would have never happened, and without that show, I wouldn’t have taken the time to really think about the images I was taking. The hours I spent carefully choosing which photos to display, grouping them together into corresponding sets of three, and writing out the captions and Artist Statement, forced me to think about why I use a camera in the first place. It also forced me to make really harsh quality judgements of my photos, figure out the difference between a pretty photo, an interesting photo, and a fine art photo that people would actually want to display in their homes. It even got me thinking about the possibility of creating an image that is both beautiful and thoughtful at the same time, one doesn’t necessarily have to rule out the other.


So, after the success of my show at Sagebrush, I knew it was time to open an Etsy shop.


I used to have an Etsy shop years ago, when my blog was still called “Darla Dear.” At that time, I had never been anywhere, never photographed anything besides objects in my parent’s house or things I found at the local antique market, like a teacup, pocket watch or vases. When I did travel to France as a student, it was my first attempt at travel photography, and I took thousands of photos, but none of them were high enough quality (in my opinion) to actually sell as legitimate fine-art travel prints.

But for the first time since I embarked on the photographic journey 7 years ago, I feel proud of my work and confident in the quality of it. I feel more like a professional than ever before.


What You’ll Find in My Shop

My Etsy – which I’ve named French Californian, of course – focuses mainly on the streets and architecture of Paris, but since I’ll be moving back to the USA very soon, it will start to feature more and more images of California (and wherever else I travel) as time goes on. At the moment, there are only 20 listings in my shop, but I have plans to increase that number soon. I’ve been sitting on a pretty large number of “sellable” photos in my Lightroom catalog for a while now, and it’s time they get some fresh air.

In addition to Paris photos, I have an entire section dedicated to flowers and foliage, since it is one of my great loves in life. I will also be adding lots more Europe photography including the Amalfi Coast, the Black Forest region of Germany, and Sweden.

The overall look I aim to achieve in my shop is this: painterly scenes with rich color and just a hint of magic. I want my images to look beautiful and polished, but I don’t want them to look overly processed or “fake.” I’m also greatly inspired by French Impressionism, and I’m extremely attracted to luminous light with just the right balance of contrast.


I can’t end this post without saying how much I was inspired by Georgianna Lane and her husband David. I took a photo workshop with them in Paris around the same time that I purchased my new camera, and that workshop, in combination with my job working as blogger and social media manager for Paris Perfect, really pushed me to improve. It was the first time I seriously considered pursuing photography as a means to make money. I’m certainly not at the point right now, where I can say that I earn a proper living from my photography, but I’ve certainly got my toe in the water!

If you haven’t already, you can also see some of my favorite photos in my portfolio. And please, check out my Etsy shop, and let me know what you think!

I'm a Californian in my mid-twenties who studied Art History and lived in France for 3 years. I blog honestly about my travels, share my thoughts on life, and get poetic about art and photography. I also sell prints of my photographs on Etsy.

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