View Full Version : Please Critique this idea.
18th of November 2004 (Thu), 13:57
As I have mentioned elsewhere in this forum, I am 50 and looking for something that can take me into my Olden years. I have loved photography all my life having started taking pictures in the early 70's. I have been told that I am a talented artist and painter... but personally the only place I have ever felt any "talent" was behind the lens... and you know what they say, We often fool only ourselves.
What I would like to do is get a studio opened up and use that as my working career till whenever I decide I can or must quit working. However, cash is VERY tight right now as it is with many people my age. I am looking for a home with space enough that I can operate, at least to begin, a studio from.
One thing I have considered is offering a Home Portrait service. The premise would be going to people's home and setting up a small portable lighting system and doing their portraits in the more familiar and secure setting of their own home. How much more convenient could that be for a family with small children.
Now, what I would like from you guys is to pick this idea apart and tell me where it could go wrong. I find that planning for the good stuff is easy.... it's planning for the bad that is harder so help me find the folly in my idea please.
Also, any good advise about starting a studio would be greatly appreciated.
18th of November 2004 (Thu), 16:13
A home portrait service could possibly work, but there are many things to consider. Most portrait shooters prefer to work in their studio, because they have a bazillion lights and gadgets there specifically for portraits. Backgrounds, for example. Main lights plus three or four side lights and hair lights. Posing stools and risers. It goes on and on.
It would be possible to haul all that stuff with you when you to to some client's home, but you better get some strong assistants.
I've hauled backgrounds and lights to a location, and I found it too difficult to create studio conditions there. For example, the room wasn't dark enough.
19th of November 2004 (Fri), 07:35
Skinner, Bloo Dog is dead right. One of my good friends is a in home photographer. He also owns his own studio. Many of his customers are thrilled to have him come to their home or other location, and are willing to pay extra for it. However he was well established in his studio before he was able to build his in home business. After many years providing this service, it still only represents a portion of his work. Building a customer base will be your greatest challenge. You might consider starting part time. You might also want to consider working in conjunction with an existing studio on a referral basis.
19th of November 2004 (Fri), 09:29
Fantastic feedback guys. Thank you both so much. This is something that I have tossed about in my mind for some time and am just starting to pursue.
There are a TON of directions I have through of and this one seems to give me the best chance to get started slow and part time and hopefully build a customer base to the point that I can open a studio.
I have been involved in marketing the new Epson Stylus Pro 4000 Professional Ink Jet Printer. The thing will do professional quality work with archival ratings of up to 200 years! I had thought of getting one and doing my own printing to avoid the labs.... but this is a back burner proposition at this time. First thing is getting lighting and backdrop equipment to take on locations.
I have always known that the marketing part would be the tough part. I am going to start by offering to do some shots for friends and provide them with prints at cost. Then when the shoot is over I will get them to critique the entire process so I can improve the whole experience. That's the key, making the experience something that is enjoyable for the customer and their family... and as in-obtrusive as possible. I am thinking that minimal equipment will be the key!
Thanks so much for your comments. You've given me LOTS to think about!
20th of November 2004 (Sat), 18:31
Precisey why I have avoided doing any wedding work. Too risky! Like you say, Sc*ew up and you have ruined a girl's one moment! That's too much pressure for me! :)
21st of November 2004 (Sun), 06:49
Hi Skinner, I am also 50 and started with basically the same idea as yours 6 mos ago. One advantage I have had is that I live in a very rural area where the market is not over saturated at all. I have also worked 29 yrs. for our local city with the last 16 as Park and Recreation directer so being well known and dealing with the public is not a problem. I have installed a small studio in my home and have done some work out of there but in a small town it is tough competing with the local Super Wal Mart[they own our town] which has a full time studio. Therefore I jumped in head first into doing weddings. I have done five so far with several more booked next spring. Totally agree that doing weddings are not for everyone but I take every possible safe guard from shooting with two cameras, one on tripod and the other around my neck, taking numerous shots with both so if there is an equipment failure on one all is not lost. I also take a laptop and backup my shots as time allows. Although I have thought about it I have not advertised taking the portable studio[which is what I have] into peoples homes although I think there is potential in your idea. I do have some Christmas parties booked that I will take lighting and backdrops to the job. Advertising is still a struggle I am fighting and have decided to pretty much leave it up to word of mouth. There are a few charity events I am doing that gets the buisness a ton of great advertising, official photographer for our local Relay for Life events and will be doing video of our Christmas Parade next week which I will edit to DVD and sell with proceeds going to parade committee. Sorry about my rambling but a few of the things I am doing in my struggle to get established. Good luck.
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