Day 25: Studio Space and How To Afford It

In 2012, I went to a photographer’s meeting and a woman was speaking about sales. I made sure to attend because I hate sales. I’m not good at it and it’s always felt a bit uncomfortable to me. But this woman opened up a new way of looking at sales. It’s about communication, connection, and meeting a person’s needs.

She went on to talk about small ways you can set yourself apart from the competition and give yourself an edge. One of the things she mentioned was having a studio space. That no one wants to meet at a Starbucks with cappuccino machines interrupting every third word. She told us that she shares the space with a photographer (she is a videographer) and that she pays only $200 a month for the space.

I remember thinking “I wish I had someone to share a space with” or “I wish I could afford to rent a studio.”

So after hearing her speak, I hired her for a mentoring session, and two years later she told me her photographer was moving out and she offered me the space. I now rent the studio with her for $200 a month. While it’s an added expense, it’s one that has a great return. I believe the investment in a space is an investment of my brand and my client experience. Thinking of it that way has made it more of a necessity than a luxury.

Your company has bills. Just like your real life. Website hosting, domain renewals, insurance, camera gear cleaning, paying your 2nd shooters. Rent on my studio is just another bill, and if I book one wedding as a result of my studio space in a year, the space will pay for itself.

Some things this space allows me that Starbucks doesn’t:

• My name on the window
• My work on the walls
• A quiet space to talk
• An extra layer of professionalism
• A space for me to display cards for other vendors
• My own decor that is branded to my business
• My work being seen by each client that my studio-mate brings in for a consult

So how can you make this happen? You probably guessed, the first step would be to contact a few friendors to see if they would be interested in sharing a space. I would recommend seeking out wedding professionals who aren’t photographers so you can cross promote each other. Next, go through your monthly bills and see if you can cut out anything frivolous. Evaluate where your business dollars are going and see if you can reallocate them towards a studio. Lastly, contact a commercial real estate agent to communicate what you’re looking for and work with them to find your dream space.

Some extra expenses to prepare for:

Decor and furniture. I’ll be honest, ROSS was my best friend while I was decorating. You don’t have to go big but you do need to make your space comfortable and nice.

Paint: I painted right away. It was worth it but it definitely wasn’t free.

Prints: I thought instead of canvas prints, I’d print on foam board. Well, each print I made was around $70 for a large print. The cost added up. I ended up also getting some IKEA frames and some 11×14 prints from WHCC and that was fairly inexpensive.

Deposits: While I didn’t have to pay a deposit, you might need to prepare for that. Most places take the first and last month up front.

All in all, having your own studio space is completely doable and will allow you to consult with potential clients on a more personal level. I’m here to help so please comment with any roadblocks you have on this avenue and I will do my best to answer!

I’ll see you tomorrow for day 26: Book Recommendations: Talent is Never Enough

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

denise karis photography blog 100 posts in 100 days for photographers

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