Tobias Friedrich is a Germany-based award-winning underwater photographer who loves capturing the beauty of the world within our oceans. With his photography, he brings to the surface the elegance and calmness of marine life from every corner of the world.
Tobias first started taking pictures of sea life in 2007 after getting his scuba diving license. Since then, his images have been published in prestigious diving magazines and newspapers all around the world.
Aside from photography, Tobias also enjoys leading international expeditions and marine life workshops with other underwater photographers and enthusiasts. His unique work has earned him as many as 50 awards, including being named the German Photographer of the Year 2019.
Tobias came across Sellfy when he was looking for an easy-to-use eCommerce platform with great features for digital products. Now, he sells Lightroom Presets, among other products, to a growing online following of 17.6K+ on Instagram and 20K+ on Facebook.
Read on to learn more about Tobias’ extraordinary niche and how he came up with a high-quality product to meet a very unique market demand.
How do you define yourself as a creator? What is your business about?
I’m an underwater photographer who travels around the world to take shots of marine life like mammals, animals, etc. in any underwater environment. So, it could be in Greenland, the Arctic, the Maldives, Indonesia, or anywhere else on the planet.
I love showing the world how beautiful and pristine the underwater world is and how important it is to preserve it. That is one of my missions as a creator.
How did you become an underwater photographer?
I had a completely different career in the beginning. I was in project management in an IT consulting company 20 years ago.
But, then I was introduced to diving and I fell in love with the underwater world. So, I got a scuba diving license and began taking shots with my camera and doing part-time work for magazines.
I built myself up until, at one point, I couldn’t have any more days off. So, I had the chance to say, “Okay, now, I’m doing this full time.” This was around seven years ago.
At what point did you decide to open a Sellfy store?
I actually wanted to do this for a long time—to open an online store. And, COVID was the reason that I could do it because I finally had the time for it.
I had been traveling so much in the last few years that I was barely at home. So, I couldn’t just take the time off to see what was out there and to open an online store. It was always a major problem for me. But, I’m glad that I was finally able to do it.
What types of products do you sell in your Sellfy store?
I have a yearly calendar, and then some books and stuff. But, I mainly sell Lightroom Presets for underwater photography.
How did you find Sellfy and why did you choose our platform over other alternatives?
I found Sellfy when I was researching different online stores with my webmaster. We liked Sellfy’s ease of use and CMS, and the fact that it had great features like coupon codes for promoting your products.
I wanted an eCommerce platform for digital downloads; a platform that would allow me to easily sell my stuff to other photographers. So, that’s why I chose Sellfy over other alternatives, and I’ve been quite happy with my choice so far.
What do you like the most about Sellfy?
It’s super easy to set up and it’s also very easy to upload products.
I like how convenient the whole platform is—my customers will just get a download link after a purchase is made. I don’t have to do anything manually. Everything is automated, which is great for me because I travel a lot.
So, all I have to do is just put a product out there, do a little marketing, and then earn passive income while I sleep. This means a lot to me because it isn’t easy to make a living out of underwater photography alone.
It took a lot of time and effort for me to create my Lightroom Presets, so it’s really nice to be able to just put them online and let Sellfy’s automated process take care of it.
I also like being able to sell different types of products and have multiple streams of income instead of just one to keep my business afloat.
Tell me about your audience.
Most of my followers are underwater photographers looking to learn how to edit their own images with Lightroom Presets. They usually find me somewhere on the internet or through my website. Sometimes, they’ll also send me a lot of questions, especially when I’ve done a recent webinar on Lightroom Presets.
What about marketing? Do you use any strategies to make people buy your products?
This is something I definitely need to work on. I don’t do enough marketing, but when I do, it’s usually on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
Sometimes, I use paid advertising as well. But, I have to say that paid adverting doesn’t really work that well for me.
I think it’s better to do live webinars where I talk about underwater photography or where people can ask me questions about Lightroom Presets. I actually get more sales that way.
I’m probably also one of the few creators, if not the only one, who sells decent Lightroom Presets for underwater photography, so I got that going for me in terms of marketing.
What’s the most challenging part of your business?
The most challenging part for me is the shipping of my physical products and keeping my customers updated about the delivery process. Making sure that the timing doesn’t overlap with my travels can also be challenging at times.
But, I guess this is the sort of thing that comes with having a big online business. It can be a bit of a struggle to pack and deliver 200 calendars in one day, especially if you have to do this all by yourself.
And, what’s your favorite part?
The best part is getting a push notification from the Sellfy app. Every time there’s a sale, I get a little “ka-ching!” sound with an announcement of how much I’ve earned.
It always makes me happy to see a sale notification pop up on my phone. It’s very rewarding to see the results of all the hard work I’ve put into a product, and that people are enjoying my product.
What tips would you give to other photographers or content creators who want to build an online business?
I’d say go ahead and create digital products so that you can earn passive income.
Also, think about the marketing and the pricing of your products. Think about the profit margin and how much you want to sell them for. Are people going to buy them for this price? Ask around. Let people test your products and give you hints or tips.
So, do a lot of product testing before you launch anything. For example, I had to test my Lightroom Presets multiple times to make sure that everything was good. By doing this, you prevent potential customer complaints.
And, finally, don’t forget to update your products every now and then, and to send notifications to your customers. This is important for keeping them happy.