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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 21 Feb 2011 (Monday) 18:12
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Crocodile101
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Feb 21, 2011 18:12 |  #1
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I only have a few years with a dslr camera starting with a 30d and now a 7d and other equipment. I'm getting some nice photos of some events I was hired for and thought the best way to attract more business is to open a studio in Chicagoland area at a busy street. Is there any advise from someone thats been there. Thank you for your time and response.


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jra
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Feb 21, 2011 18:55 |  #2

What is your intended market? It sounds like you may be doing event photography by your post. Do you also do studio portraits or is this just something you're considering? If you're only planning on doing event photography, you don't really need a studio. A nice tidy office space should fit the bill and give you a professional place to work from.




  
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orena
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Feb 22, 2011 07:22 |  #3

similar story here, but im in israel. if things dont work out i'll be back in chicago. we should open a business.


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TopHatMoments
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Feb 22, 2011 07:58 |  #4

Do you have enough work to support;

Rent
Insurance
Lights
Water
Advertising
---
Your bills
House payment or rent
Car payment
Car insurance
Gas
Food
---

These are just the basic, there are a whole gaggle of other expences, that find there way into the mix.
Repairs
Doctors
Family
Holidays


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Fernando
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Feb 22, 2011 10:35 |  #5

Post your business plan and as much of your financials as your comfortable with.

You do have that info right?

-F


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Crocodile101
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Feb 22, 2011 11:44 as a reply to  @ Fernando's post |  #6
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Thanks for the responses, Yes also portrait because I would like to have extra work options, especially if starting out. Though, I think most people are interested in outside or event photography these days but the storefront says come on in we can photograph your occasion,I do have some money that I could use to start up on expenses (about 10k).
I have some backdrops,2 genesis 400's,2 skyports,30d, 7d,24-70 is my only pro lens but would get a prime for the studio.
I think another photographer would be awesome for support, at times I think I should just work for someone else and learn the business better. Look at my proof website for some of my work at snap1.smugmub.com. C&C appreciated.


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ssim
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Feb 22, 2011 11:52 as a reply to  @ Fernando's post |  #7

A sign on a storefront does not guarantee you additional exposure. I think you need to answer the questions that TopHatMoments has posed to you. Presumably you are going to have to quit your day job in order to staff a store, though I do know one person that simply pays staff to be there and he has the kind of day job that he can get away at any time. It is not a scenario I would want to work with though.

Your posts sounds like a dream to me. There is little in the way of details for people to comment on. Do you have the business plan like Fernando is asking you here. Quite honestly, 10K can get consumed pretty quickly running a business and is it the kind of money that is totally expendable should this not work. Have you really sat down and worked out the expenses on this and being able to live your current lifestyle or better.


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Executive ­ Images ­ Photo
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Feb 22, 2011 12:00 |  #8

Your pictures seem alittle dull to me. They dont seem that bright and inviting. Otherwise they arent too bad. I would take a step back and ask yourself..."Do I NEED it" before you buy something. A bunch of us photographers WANT certain things but we dont buy them because we dont NEED them. Thats my .02


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Crocodile101
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Feb 22, 2011 17:26 as a reply to  @ Executive Images Photo's post |  #9
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Thank you everyone, I acctually have a credit line of 50k available so all that rent , insurance ect. does not bother me. I own my property (paid for), I am at the moment unemployed for full dedication, my wife is working so future bills are not a problem. Just found out im getting 11k in tax refunds. I put a price of 10k because thats what I'm willing to gamble on to try and make it, after that I would consider what I have going. What does your experience say, is it worth a shot.
I take all comments good or bad, thanks to all.


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jra
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Feb 22, 2011 17:44 |  #10

Crocodile101 wrote in post #11894314 (external link)
Thank you everyone, I acctually have a credit line of 50k available so all that rent , insurance ect. does not bother me. I own my property (paid for), I am at the moment unemployed for full dedication, my wife is working so future bills are not a problem. Just found out im getting 11k in tax refunds. I put a price of 10k because thats what I'm willing to gamble on to try and make it, after that I would consider what I have going. What does your experience say, is it worth a shot.
I take all comments good or bad, thanks to all.

Sure, it's worth a shot if it's something you really want to do. Just make sure you have a plan and work out the details before jumping into anything. You may be better served putting your money towards marketing and getting your business generating some cash flow before you go the studio route. You may even find that you don't need an actual studio.




  
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TooManyShots
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Feb 22, 2011 17:50 |  #11
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Crocodile101 wrote in post #11894314 (external link)
Thank you everyone, I acctually have a credit line of 50k available so all that rent , insurance ect. does not bother me. I own my property (paid for), I am at the moment unemployed for full dedication, my wife is working so future bills are not a problem. Just found out im getting 11k in tax refunds. I put a price of 10k because thats what I'm willing to gamble on to try and make it, after that I would consider what I have going. What does your experience say, is it worth a shot.
I take all comments good or bad, thanks to all.

11k tax refunds.....Just enough for that 500L markII....:) Seriously, I am speaking as a former store manager (for 5 years+)of a large retail chain corporation, your store or business won't grow just because you have a physical present. You need a brand recognition. When people think about the name of your studio, it has to associate with certain quality and services. Do you have a lot of exposures at the moment? Do people know you? Sure, you have the capitals to start up a store/business. Your capitals would dry out after paying all the overheads (utilities, insurance, retail sales and fire department licenses, rent--you say you own the property already??, interior furnishing to convert the place into a studio, and etc).

Once you have a store front, you have to open for business 7 days a week, from maybe 10 to 7. I assume you would be the primary photographer. Let me tell you something. When my former company were cutting payroll, I have to open the store by myself in the morning until like 1pm. Then, my closing shift staff would come in. Do you want to get stuck in this store for the entire day by yourself? I hope you have customers in the morning. Otherwise, it is going to be a long boring day for you. You say you want to hire someone to run the store while you are off? You are technically seeking a manager and hopefully he or she is as good as you with photography. Are you willing to allow this person, maybe someone you don't know, to run your store and handling all the transactions? What if he or she is stealing from you?

You don't need a store front to do the actual portrait photography, unless you also perform services such as printing, film development, and others. You can rent a studio for the actual shoot.


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Crocodile101
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Feb 22, 2011 18:56 |  #12
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I understand, I ran a real estate appraisers office for 10 years, trusted everyone (10 appraisers and staff) thanks for the heads up and hope you had some fun opening up the store toomanyshots, If it was making money not a problem I could work on images or always busy trying to learn the new thing. I do like the idea to build a better name before going there. I think Im going to spend some money on adds, a new lens and quantum flash and battery.


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TooManyShots
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Feb 22, 2011 19:23 |  #13
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Crocodile101 wrote in post #11894881 (external link)
I understand, I ran a real estate appraisers office for 10 years, trusted everyone (10 appraisers and staff) thanks for the heads up and hope you had some fun opening up the store toomanyshots, If it was making money not a problem I could work on images or always busy trying to learn the new thing. I do like the idea to build a better name before going there. I think Im going to spend some money on adds, a new lens and quantum flash and battery.

Oh no, I am not opening a store. 5+ years of being a retail store manager taught me something. A physical store will tide you down, period...:) I am just using my website to generate sales. Using many of the internet network systems to get my name out. At the moment, I can't do studio shoots except on locations. Could be a blessing maybe since I would have to restrict myself with the minimal gear to do the job. I am just trying to get my name out right now.


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jra
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Feb 22, 2011 19:34 |  #14

Just to add....if you do decide to open a studio, that 10K will will disappear very very quickly. You'll most likely need to sign a lease for a minimum of a year. Add in utilities plus furnishing a studio store front (signage, furniture, backgrounds, sets, props, etc...). That 10K will be gone in a blink of an eye. A studio increases your overhead very substantially. I currently have a studio and it really adds a huge amount of pressure to the equation. It takes a lot of work just to break even and even more work to start making a profit. While I do absolutely love my studio space, I'm still on the fence about whether it's a good business decision. It does give a professional appearance and generates business but it's expensive to maintain. I'm honestly not sure that it generates enough business to continue paying the big expenses. Without a studio, I would loose some business but I wouldn't have that giant gorilla to feed.




  
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Crocodile101
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Feb 22, 2011 22:41 |  #15
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Sound like not not a good idea. There are a few photography names out in Chicago that have a few places to choose from. The name does have something to do with it. Jra, I hope things turn around for you, maybe just advertising instead of paying the overhead for a place would bring a better income. lol, the name TooManyshots sounds like your tired of the business and taken too many shots. Thanks for your time and input. I was hoping to hear good things, I think that it takes a strong commitment to sales and advertising, something that a we can do without a studio at the moment.


You don't take a photograph, you make it. Ansel Adams.

  
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