Have you always dreamed of owning your own photography studio?
Holding the key to a brick and mortar store that reflects your style and skills to your clients and potential clients as soon as they walk in the door? If you have, you’re not alone. Any photographer who has been in the industry for some time knows that there comes a time when you ask yourself the question.
Do I need a photography studio? More importantly, am I ready to open a photography studio? And while opening a photography studio may not be the right choice for every photographer—consider someone who deals exclusively in wedding or outdoor sunset sessions—there are many genres in photography where having a studio would be a good fit for their business. First, you must assess if a photography studio is right for you and the type of work you do most frequently. If you’re a photographer who specializes in portraits, the choice to open a photography studio may be right for you. After you’ve determined that this is the route you want to take, it’s time to determine if now is the right time for you to open a photography studio.
Read on to learn how you can determine if now is the time to open a photography studio.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before jumping in:
- Why do you want to open a photography studio? We get it—the idea of opening a photography studio can be incredibly attractive. But before you go all in, make sure that you are signing up for a studio for the right reasons. If you’re opening a studio because you think it’s going to bring in more clients, you might want to rethink your motives. Having a studio isn’t going to automatically bring in those clients, and creating a solid marketing plan for how you’re going to get those people into your studio is essential. If you’ve outgrown a shared space or home studio you’re currently using, or you’re ramping up your in-person sales and need a space to showcase work, these are just a couple of good reasons to consider opening a studio.
- Is it the right time financially to open a photography studio? Are you paying yourself a salary from your business? Are you making a good profit from products in your sales? How much would your current pricing or number of sessions have to increase in order to cover the costs of owning a studio? Between rent, utilities, and increased insurance, owning a studio can quickly add up. Make sure that your pricing allows you to have good margins while still paying for the studio. If you need to increase your sessions, it might be time to come up with a strong marketing plan to bump up your session numbers.
- Will it make your life better? You can photograph just about anywhere with a window or on location to make a session work. However, if you’re currently running all over town for sessions, having one spot to go to can make your life much easier and less chaotic. Plus, if you are a newborn photographer with a lot of props, you’ll no longer have to drag those along with you. Separating your work and home life is also a HUGE benefit to having studio space. But owning a studio comes with its own stresses. Anything from getting broken into to having pipes freeze or burst… life happens and you need to be prepared for what might get thrown at you.
- Do you have savings and a budget set aside for furnishing your space? Paint, flooring, samples, furniture… the cost of furnishing a space adds up quickly! You can decorate your studio on a budget, but make sure you do your research and set aside how much you think it will cost to furnish your space so you don’t overspend.
If you’re not quite sure you are ready to make the leap to open a photography studio, check to see if there is a shared studio program in your state or if there are a couple of local photographers who would like to go in on a shared space.
These two options are great stepping stones to owning your own studio and can also mitigate both cost and risk.
Opening a studio is exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Before you make the leap, make sure you’re considering all of your steps wisely.
What are your tips or things to consider if you are ready to open a photography studio?