The Failing Photo Studio (How to Avoid it)

Starting a Successful Photography Studio

If you look on Peerspace or Giggster, you’ll see an endless lot of studios for rent. Well I have a lot to say about those and as someone looking to start your own photography studio, don’t look at the number of “competitors” but instead look at what you could be doing different to win business over all of them. 

This video provides 10 mistakes to avoid when running your own photography business. I Hope that it helps you succeed. And my social links are below, so I can continue helping you!

10 Mistakes to Avoid in your Photography Studio

  1. Little Increases: Not incrementally increasing prices. Sometimes a $7 increase per hour won’t scare the potential photo studio client, but it can add a lot to your wallet. For example…

    Instead of charging $30 per hour, charge $37 per hour. It’ll be the same client and likely it won’t scare most photographers away. 

    That means you have $56 additional revenue per day, $7 x 8 hours = $56 Dollars

    $56 x 5 days a week = $280 additional dollars per week

    $280 x 4 = $1,120 additional revenue per week just because of a small hourly increase. 

    The $1,120 is an extra $13K per year and that could cover all of your utilities or new studio equipment every year!
    Or just a new camera system for YOU! 

  2. Minimum Hours: Not regulating the minimum number of hours for a studio booking. One 11AM rental can kill your studio revenue before 11AM and even the next few hours after that. Have a minimum number of hours people can book and save your business.

  3. Instagram is a Billboard: Treat it like one and if you think it’s cute to just post random images then it’s a waste of time. When I had my studio, there was an entire wall which was all images of Madonna and Kate Moss. When I tell you, everyone wanted a photo by it and they all tagged the studio. Guess what? Nearly all of my clients came from those instagram posts.

  4. Speak their language: Not everyone was raised the same. There are people who come in from the rain and won’t wipe their feet, just trample all over your clean floors. There are people who lean against a wall and put footprints against white walls. Animals! Actually, I’m convinced animals don’t do that, so just savages. Therefor in my studio I had a rule of $10 per foot print deducted from their security deposit. 

  5. Keep it secure: The video goes into details and I won’t do that here but PLEASE get yourself a camera system for your protection and the protection of your guests. Please!

  6. Walking Tours Book Clients: When I had my studio, I would take mini strolls around the studio. I’d ask if they wanted anything, if they needed anything. Most of the time they did not (cause my studio offered it all) but they would familiarize themselves with me. And every now and then someone would say “do you know what could be great for this studio?” and I would hear the greatest idea! Take the opportunity to listen to people, after all, they’re the ones you are trying to impress.

  7. Backup Lights: Lights break, people break things and photographers will rent your photo studio to complete a job. It’s vital that you help them accomplish their goals and they’ll be back every single time. Help them, they’ll help you.

  8. Blank Spaces are a Waste: It’s your studio and if you’re a photographer or videographer, then take the time to have a wall of fame for your own work. Remember on number 6 when I said you should walk around? Well those same people will walk around and see your work. They’ll likely ask about it and there you go… the relationship just started. You will book clients because bored label executives, managers, parents, crew will be curious and they’ll ask. You’ll establish yourself as not just a studio owner but also an amazing photographer. 

  9. Networking Events are Rent: You are fortunate enough to have a photography studio others want. Take the opportunity to give back and be an asset to the neighborhood. Have a day where you can host a photowalk or a community of creatives to work together. Always speak to a legal professional first and protect yourself but someone in that crowd won’t be able to afford your studio today. However, you will soon become a goal they save up for. 

  10. Parking is a dealbreaker: Be honest about parking. Some photographers (people like me) like to pay for the crew’s parking. I feel it’s the right thing to do, especially my production assistants. If your sign says $9 but the parking guy says it’s $20 (see the video for this exact scenario) then it’s a major problem. $20 per person is a whole different story $100 later, I thought it would be $45. Few things leave a bad taste in the mouth of the client than a bad parking situation. 
Carmen Electra in hair and make up at Walid Azami's Studio
Carmen Electra and Walid Azami