Considering Opening a Studio


Kerry--  In advance of your course this month, I have an option to rent space 13.5' x 13.5' for $150.00/mo in the gallery I once displayed artwork.  There is a large unused attached room with exit doors and bathrooms across the hall from this space.  I can use this space for free for large group shots.  The double glass doors exit to the back of the store, so loading and unloading equipment is a straight shot and convenient, and convenient for customers as well.

I just lost a sale from a woman who preferred to go to a studio.   I can understand the reluctance of a woman to want to go to a strange man's house, or have a stranger come to their house.  Thus my 2 questions:

  1. This business closes at 7 PM.  What frequency do you experience shooting clients in the evenings?  They trust me (having worked there) and would give me a key and access to alarm codes, but I would rather not press the issue at this point.
  2. I have a home studio that I custom built to shoot product being 12 x 24.  Clearing out my Manfrotto product tables and cabinetry, it would be perfect for portraiture and head shots.  It has nice cabinets, tile floor, white walls, and 14' ceiling.  Access is through the garage, so I don't have to parade people through my home.  I could also cut in a door from the driveway if necessary.  Currently thieves would have to break into the garage and into the studio, and with no windows, one really cannot see what is in there.

My dilemma in making a decision centers around all the traffic of people in this business with space for rent, versus the expense of rent with sporadic business.  Since your course will take us through the marketing of starting up a new business, is there any advice you could give me in advance?  $150 is not a lot of money, but it buys golf and cigars 🙂  Thanks.


3 Responses

  1. Kerry Allan
    I would take the approach of using the art gallery space in addition to the home studio. If you can hang samples, put out cards, shoot large groups and so on I would certainly do it. It sounds like it could also add some prestige to your advertising. I would shoot as much as I could at the home studio and use the art gallery space when needed. That being said, the space is a bit small. That's why I think you need to keep your home studio as your primary facility. Can you keep equipment there or do you have to move it in and out every shoot? Could it be used as a permanent head-shot facility? One session can pay the whole months rent. I'm assuming they're not asking you to sign a multi-year lease so you can probably get out of there if it doesn't pay off. But based on this info, it sounds good to me. I'd go for it :) Kerry
  2. Kerry Allan
    P.S. I do very little work in the evenings. Weekends yes, but not so much in the evenings.
  3. Brent Rowlett
    Thanks a million for your comments. My wife says the same thing as the primary reason for holding back my activity is a lack of a studio, with the obvious one being marketing and pricing. The traffic through this facility is large offering the chance to be seen by more people. In addition, they advertise heavily in all the local publications to promote traffic to their store. Twelve feet is minimum distance for portraits for me with an 85mm lens. For full length shots, I can go out the double doors into the hallway to use my 70-200 lens. The two large bathrooms (men/women) across the hall would be convenient for my daughter to apply makeup and give the clients the ability to change clothing in private. Adjacent to this room is a large unused 25 by 30 public area to the back exit of the building whereby I can set up large backdrops for groups and families for free. Artist there can have their paintings photographed by bringing them down to my studio...another plus without all the setup required. Yes, I can leave my stands, tripod, soft boxes, poles drop racks, etc. I am able to paint the main wall slate gray, and a 13-1/2' side wall I intend to paint with slate gray and sponge paint a lighter gray into it. I have a rack system that will hold 6--10' drops, and I have a bedroom full of framed examples to hang as well. I intend to pack up my lights, generator, computer and cameras and take them home following each session. Having plenty of lights for both studios, I see no need to tempt anyone in lifting them from my area. I would have to sign a 6 month lease. My feeling is that the advertising they do alone would be worth it. With your upcoming program, I still want to continue to shoot head shots on sight at businesses and learn how to market that activity better. I am going to sign up tomorrow while the space is available. Thank you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software