OPENING A PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO? READ THIS FIRST.

HOW TO START A PHOTO STUDIO

Opening a photography studio is an exciting opportunity! This blog will tell you if you should start your own photography studio. What is good about having your own photo studio? What is bad about having it? And what’s the ugly part of having your own photography studio for rent?

 

I’m going to use my own experience of owning a studio (5 Points Studio, Los Angeles) and the lessons that I learned from it. Should you open your own studio? This video and blog will help you a lot. If you ever need a one-on-one consultation with me about it, you can always book a session with me here.

 

OPENING A PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO (THE GOOD STUFF)

 

There are many good things about having your own photography studio. Here are a few below:

 

  • It builds your name around the community. “Oh that’s your studio?” is a common phrase and the more people you meet, the better your photo business does.
  • You have space to photograph whatever you want! You don’t need to book another photo studio ever again. You can shoot at 4AM or 4PM, it’s YOUR studio!
  • You can generate an income that’s on top of your photography business income.
  • You can hang your work on the studio wall, and people may hire you after they book your studio. It’s like your own billboard in your own space.
  • You can name it after yourself. That’s a lot of ego, but some ego is good! I didn’t go that route but it did cross my mind and there’s no shame in that game! It’s called branding.

Photo 1: My LA Photography Studio (one of the rooms)

YOUR OWN PHOTO STUDIO? AVOID IT BECAUSE…

This video will provide so much more insight into owning a photography studio. Here are a few things that got in the way of my business.

 

  • You’re responsible for everything. Every person that walks into your studio could (and I hope not) be its own lawsuit. You’ll need to get insured with a great agent, and LLC it for the most protection. That’s not legal advice. Please speak with your own lawyer for your exact business.
  • What if someone falls in your photography studio? Will you have the proper coverage? What if they fall on purpose to cash a check from you? People will do things for a quick buck and I would like to see you protected.
  • You’re not like this, but other people can be sketchy. Will they protect each model? Will they behave in a professional way?
  • How much time will you spend on cleaning and upkeep? People are messy and life is messy. There are prints on the walls, painting floors white, keeping things dust free, etc… now you’re the janitor and the maintenance dept. Be ready for that!
  • You’ll be busy with your photography studio. Will you have enough time for your own photoshoots? Will your creative work suffer or are you organized?
  • Online trolls (usually another jealous photographer) or another studio may attack. They could bombard the internet with fake negative reviews about your photo studio. You will need to prepare for that to keep your sanity.

Want more insight to the bad side of having your photography studio? Watch the video.

 

THE VERY UGLY PART OF OWN A PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO

 

Your photography studio could be a trap for some awful situations. You run a clean operation and treat everyone with respect. You pay business taxes, treat everyone with respect and then you get a rude wakeup call.

 

  • You hear that there was a situation that’s unsafe in your studio.  Did you have the studio covered with cameras? Was a model mistreated? Was anyone in an unsafe situation? Did you take every precaution to ensure other humans are safe?
  • First you must look out for the safety of anyone and everyone. Then you have to go through legal channels and work with authorities. You had nothing to do with this, but now there’s an accusation and it gets ugly. You have to navigate this and it did not involve you but it was on your property.

When I had my own studio, a photographer who is now on the “me too” list (it’s an unofficial, official list). I did not know him but had heard of his work because he had one distinct style. He rented my studio a few times. I had setup my studio to make sure everyone felt safe at all times. At the time I was not aware of his alleged reputation. Several years later we heard of stories leaking out and it gave me the creeps. I was also thankful that my studio was a safe-space. I made sure models had a safe space to change. I made sure they felt safe. I made sure we had cameras, rules and coverage.

 But what if something happened in my studio with this photographer!? What if!? That’s a horrible situation FOR EVERYONE. When you’re in a space where people are dressing and undressing, you need to protect them. When you have very young people who have a harder time standing up for themselves, you must stand up for them.

 

This blog post took an awful turn, right? Well, that’s part of the business and I want to prepare you. How will you cut awful situations in your photography studio? How will you protect others? Because you cannot control other humans but you can control how safe a space is. By the way, do you know a great way to stop some of the model harassment? Maybe we can get more female photographers. Check this out about shooting like a girl. 

 

Watch the video in its entirety. You can have a powerful business if you take the proper steps.


OPENING A PHOTO STUDIO QUICK TIPS:

Is a photo studio profitable?

 

Yes! A photography studio can be very profitable if you take the right steps. You can pay for the rent of the space with your first few bookings. You can charge clients a studio rental fee and that’s an extra line item for your budget.

 

Here is an example of photo studio profitability. I booked a studio for a photo shoot. This is without extra rentals and a standard workday. Here’s how much they’re making with just my booking. Imagine 20 days each month like this.

Photo 11: Here’s how much the photo studio profited from me in one day.

What does it cost to open a photography studio?

White paint, trash bags, paper towels, janitorial things like cleaners etc… all those costs add up. Sometimes commercial properties cost more in electricity, internet, and water. You will spend a lot on things that disappear like cables, cords, remotes, sharpies etc…

 

Can I call you and ask you specific questions?

I’m available for one-on-one consultations to guide you through any business process. It’s a smart way to use my experience and then build upon that with your business. Click here to get that.

 

What to look for in picking a photo studio?

Natural light is a big deal for photographers and creating the day-look studio. Black-out curtains are vital too! The photographers or filmmakers may want to control lighting. A good sound system is essential, a medium internet speed and stable chairs are good. Have apple boxes, C stands, and sandbags available for them. All your furniture should be stable to avoid falls. Everything should have your studio name on it to slow down the theft. You should have a space where people feel safe getting dressed. You should have parking and wheelchair accessible entries.

 

How to advertise your Photography Studio?

There are websites like Peerspace and Giggster. Do not underestimate Craigslist, individual photographers via Instagram and even local bulletin boards. Speak to local camera stores and ask if you can advertise with them.

 

Photography Studio Setup:

If you can monetize the studio with many bookings, that is best. If you can partition the studio to accommodate many productions, you will see more money. If you can stay open later or the weekends, you will see more revenue because many photographers have a 9-5 job. The ones who take my Masterclass usually go full-time though.

 

Photography Studio business names:

Don’t make it complicated. Name something important for your community. My studio was at the 5 points intersection in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles. I was above a store called 5 Points Clothing. Let’s make it easy for people to remember and call it 5 Points Studio. If your name is not available then consider adding the city name to it. What if “Flash Studios” is not available but “Flash Studios Phoenix” is. It’s good to have your city in the business name for better local SEO.

Photo 12: My photography studio glam room

I WANT MORE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS HELP

I have a list of alternative ways to market your photography studio for rent. In addition, I will have a list of items for you to purchase. The items will help you build additional revenue because your customers will rent from your studio directly! Click here for that blog post.

 

You can get it. One of the smartest things you can do is sign up for my free photographer’s survival kit. That means you get emails whenever there’s a new video, podcast or new info to share. It could be 2x a month or just once a week. Your information is safe and never sold!

I only send emails when there is something that will help you. And along the way I’ll share worksheets, cheat sheets and tips that will help you grow! 

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn