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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 24 Feb 2010 (Wednesday) 15:49
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When did you upgrade to a storefront/studio from home office/studio?

 
stlouissteel
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Feb 24, 2010 15:49 |  #1

First off, thank you for everyone who has contributed to these threads, I have learned so much in the last year about photography, the business, technical, and creative sides. Invaluable resource at this point.

I was wondering from those of you that have studios, when did you finally make the investment and what was the tipping point when you pulled the trigger?

When you did go the studio route, how big or small did you start?

Was it for financial, creative or other reasons? Also, did you buy a turn-key, find a rehab or how did your search go?

Thanks, I will hang up and listen, first time caller, long time listener...

Joe
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I have lens envy...next on the wish list lights, reflectors, 5D and 24-70...




  
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RDKirk
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Feb 25, 2010 08:19 |  #2

I started home-based, moved to a retail studio, then moved out of it when all my business became purely locational. At some point, I may buy or build a house that is designed to be a studio. More likely, I will open a small retail gallery/office.

According to very precise survey data from PPA's Studio Management Services, operating a retail/storefront studio is one of the primary ways to avoid making a profit. Even for commercial photographers, if there is any way to avoid that overhead and operate purely from occasional rentals or on-location or from your home--take it.

Studio Management Services looks closely at how overhead relates to the cost of sales for each job. They've found that a photographer who does not run a retail studio can afford to allow his per-job cost of sales to rise to as much as 35% and live comfortably, but a photographer who owns a retail studio must ruthlessly keep his cost of sales below 25% just to stay afloat. That is not easy to do--the building is a money pit unless your business is very, very busy. Generally, running a profitable retail studio goes hand-in-hand with a business large enough to support "staff." Judge it in that manner: When your business is large enough for you to need two or three permanent staff, then it's large enough for you to need space to seat them.

Statistically, the most successful portrait studios are those operated from homes designed or remodeled for studio purposes. By far, statistically the least successful of all photography businesses are wedding photographers with a retail studio.

Yet, it's also true that having a "real business location" can be extremely important to establish a new professional. One option for many (and especially for wedding photographers) is to have a small retail space just to carry out consultations, viewings, and such. That provides the "professional business look" without as much overhead.


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aepoc
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Feb 25, 2010 09:23 |  #3

RDKirk wrote in post #9679496 (external link)
One option for many (and especially for wedding photographers) is to have a small retail space just to carry out consultations, viewings, and such. That provides the "professional business look" without as much overhead.

I like this idea very much!


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stlouissteel
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Feb 25, 2010 13:12 as a reply to  @ aepoc's post |  #4

RD,
Thanks, exactly what I have been finding in my research as well.

I appreciate you sharing your experience with everyone, very insightful.

Looking forward to seeing other responses on this issue.

Joe




  
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golfecho
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Feb 25, 2010 13:57 |  #5

stlouissteel wrote in post #9675063 (external link)
Thanks, I will hang up and listen, first time caller, long time listener...

Joe

bw!


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stlouissteel
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Feb 25, 2010 15:25 |  #6

golfecho wrote in post #9681506 (external link)
bw!

Does that make me a troll?




  
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brianodom
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Aug 29, 2013 14:36 |  #7

Bump!


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sfaust
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Aug 31, 2013 16:26 |  #8

I leased my studio once I had enough contracts that required I have studio space, and the cost of renting a studio exceeded the 75% of the leasing my own space. Once that happened I moved into my own space. I eventually gave it up when most of my work shifted to location work, and I was using the studio less and less. That happened when my work started shifting away from products and people to more medical, high technology, and corporate, where we were shooting stills and marketing videos in labs, factories, and corporate locations.

Most of my work now is location based. I now rent one of several studios in the area when needed, perhaps 10-15 times a year. The overhead is lower, my rates went down, yet profits went up. All good things :)

I don't think I would ever go back to a large studio again. Perhaps a small office with a nice edit suite that also doubles as a place to meet clients. But not a full fledged studio. Its so much easier and convenient to rent what I need, when it need it, and let the clients pay for it.


Stephen
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1000WordsPhotography
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Sep 02, 2013 09:50 |  #9

I partnered up with a group for studio access personally. Six working photographers splitting the cost keeps things reasonable and prices inline. In the area I live real estate is extremely expensive and it would be hard to justify having a full time studio of my own. Plus it would rive my margins into the ground.


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Fast
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Sep 03, 2013 16:56 |  #10

IN my town there is a place you can buy into to have access for meeting clients, etc. http://www.jsonline.co​m …es-6p3bntj-135217598.html (external link)

I am sure you can find similar things and the cost is much less compared to having your own space. I have met with people in this type of space before for other types of work.


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brianodom
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Sep 03, 2013 18:51 |  #11

sfaust wrote in post #16256820 (external link)
I leased my studio once I had enough contracts that required I have studio space, and the cost of renting a studio exceeded the 75% of the leasing my own space. Once that happened I moved into my own space. I eventually gave it up when most of my work shifted to location work, and I was using the studio less and less. That happened when my work started shifting away from products and people to more medical, high technology, and corporate, where we were shooting stills and marketing videos in labs, factories, and corporate locations.

Most of my work now is location based. I now rent one of several studios in the area when needed, perhaps 10-15 times a year. The overhead is lower, my rates went down, yet profits went up. All good things :)

I don't think I would ever go back to a large studio again. Perhaps a small office with a nice edit suite that also doubles as a place to meet clients. But not a full fledged studio. Its so much easier and convenient to rent what I need, when it need it, and let the clients pay for it.

bw!


Canon EOS 5DsR - 6D - 70D|Canon 17-40L|Σ 35mm 1.4|Tammy 24-70 |Σ 70-200 2.8 and 35mm Art
YONGNUO YN 568 Speedlight X3|
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MD ­ Steelerfan
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Sep 07, 2013 19:36 |  #12

I just leased a 900 sq foot studio a month ago and will finish furnishing and moving in this week. I have been shooting all location work and renting other studios when needed for the last 5 years. To me it's grow or die. I have 3 ad agency clients and a bunch of corporate clients but when talking to my clients they have told me that the larger ad agencies will not even consider you if you are to small to have a studio even if they never come there. That's when I decided I needed to try to grow. My projects have been getting bigger and my invoices bigger. I'm pretty much maxed out without a studio and hopefully a staff soon.


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sfaust
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Sep 08, 2013 17:32 |  #13

MD Steelerfan wrote in post #16277241 (external link)
I have 3 ad agency clients and a bunch of corporate clients but when talking to my clients they have told me that the larger ad agencies will not even consider you if you are to small to have a studio even if they never come there.

In talking with my clients over the years, including the big ones, they seem indifferent to a photographers having a studio or not when hiring for non-studio shooting. That was a concern of mine when giving up my studio space, so I asked several for their input. Perhaps it was indifferent to them since when I started working with them I was already a location based photographer to begin with. Which also seems to suggest a studio isn't an issue or I never would have gotten in the door to start with. If you also look at some of the regular names in the industry, many don't have studios but are well known for what they do, and are established professionally.

I would venture a guess that when hiring studio photographers a studio may be a requirement, while hiring a location photographer is indifferent. I think the key factor is to be established professionally, and have a reputation delivering the type of work they are looking for, which will far out weight whether or not the photographer maintains a studio space.


Stephen
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When did you upgrade to a storefront/studio from home office/studio?
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