Any photographer who has been in the industry for awhile knows that there comes a time where you ask yourself a question. Do I need a photography studio? Am I ready for one? There are many genres in photography where having a studio would be a good fit for their business and knowing when to take the leap is half the battle. How do you know it’s time?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before jumping in:
Why do you want to open a studio?
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 so you need a space to showcase work, these are just a couple good reasons to consider opening a studio.
Is it the right time financially?
Are you paying yourself a salary from your business? Are you making a good profit off 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 number of sessions.
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 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 it’s 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, check in your state to see if there is a shared studio program or if there a couple local photographers who would like to go in on a shared space. These are a great stepping stone to owning your own studio. 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 for opening a studio?