There are so many working photographers in today’s market who have left the confines of the studio for the more free and exciting world of location photography. There are just as many, if not more, that have never been in a studio situation and don’t know if it is something they would be interested in or not. Certainly, the financial savings is a big part of the reason for the change and when coupled with the client’s not looking as much for the “studio traditional” these days, preferring a more relaxed look, it’s no wonder fewer and fewer photographers have commercial locations outside of their homes. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for having a studio that may have been overlooked.
ALWAYS THE STANDOUT
Over the past 40 years or so that I have been involved in professional photography, I have watched this pendulum swing back and forth more than once. And it changed back again a few years ago away from the studio. However, it would seem that this just might be the ideal time to find a way to stand out from the crowd. To do what all successful photographers have done over the years. Be the standout. Be the one photographer in your community doing something different than everyone else and offering clients the opportunity to feel confident that professionalism within our little industry, does exist. The ability to work on location is real and much of your work might come from time spent with clients away from the studio. But when needed, and it is hard to predict when this need might arise, the comfort in having a dedicated space in a commercial location, is a great comfort indeed. This is a place where you meet clients for interviews/consultations, a perfect location to promote things like company headshots, and a great place for all of your equipment to be available, be setup, and ready at a moments notice. A place for props, backgrounds, dressing room(s), and more, not in a camera bag in a closet.
There are many days in the month where there is nothing being photographed in our studio, which is located in a funky ol’ downtown district of Muskogee, Oklahoma. However, we have a great presence and are located near a lot of thriving businesses of all kinds, within just a few blocks. We try to attend as many civic and social events that we can in the community. It helps us to be recognized as “the pros” of the photo world here. There were almost 100 photographers who were recently mentioned in a local FB group when asked for recommendations for a photographer. However, none of them can be found through a website or storefront. In fact, there are only two studios in this town of 37,000 who have a storefront studio. We are the ones recognized in the community and if not for the studio location, this couldn’t have happened.
THE SALES/CONSULTING ROOM
I have heard a few horror stories of difficult sales with clients with photographers working out of their homes. From children coming in and out to dogs barking, to having to keep the house clean, the smell of dinner on the stove, and more. There are many reasons why today’s photographers might want to work out of their homes. But there are a lot of reasons not to do this. Our dedicated sales room is equipped with ALL of the samples we need to show a client, large screen digital monitor to show them images for making their selection, as well as the quiet, uninterrupted time during which they can focus on the opportunity to purchase pictures and not wrestle with their kids. It is also where consulting is done with potential clients.
It might seem like I am trying to talk people into getting into a studio space and justify it with all of the above reasons. In many ways, I guess I am. I’m convinced that having this space will result in more clients, better clients, and a more professional welcoming when you venture out into your local business community. Product pricing can be structured in terms of accommodating the increased overhead as a true and legal expense. If you cannot find the right space for the right price, consider sharing a space with another photographer. Not sharing business. Each should have their own business name and their own clientele. But the sharing of expense is popular and being done in cities all over the U.S.