I know it seems to be a dream for a photographer to have a beautiful studio-I think many think it's a status of success. If you have a studio, you are a professional. You think you will be treated with more respect. You just FEEL more respected.
Well, I'm here to tell you that you DON'T have to have a studio to feel important or get respect. Sure, it can be exciting, but after all the excitement of renting (or buying) a studio wears off, you may regret it. I did.
I ran a studio out of my home for three years and did very nicely. The only thing was, I didn't feel like a real photographer. I felt I needed a real studio to be taken seriously. It didn't help that I drooled over all the online photos of beautiful studios these other more successful photographers had. I say more successful because they had to be to have a studio outside of their home.
After awhile, finding a space became all I thought about. I searched the classifieds. I drove around the business side of town. I made it my mission to find a space to rent. One day, while walking through a business area, I saw a For Rent sign outside a small place. We called and the rent was a bit more then I wanted, but lower then most rental spaces. I decided that I wanted it.
After painting and decorating, I was open for business. I was so excited! I had a grand opening and it was fun-for awhile.
Then, reality set in. I learned these 5 reasons why I shouldn't have jumped into renting a studio:
1. Renting (or buying) a space cut drastically into my profits-There's rental insurance, electric (I had to pay the bulk of the whole place, even though the people downstairs used most of the electricity), business taxes if buying space, and the biggest-the rent! I never realized how much I extra shoots and weddings I had to do to make up for that.
2. Time lost commuting- The drive back and forth to the studio to just meet 10 mins with a client was cutting into my production time. It also adds gas expense.
3. Less money for advertising-I found I had to cut out some advertising to pay rent. Advertising plays a big part in any business and can't be eliminated.
4. Lugging cameras and computers back and forth-I still did editing at home and didn't feel comfortable leaving my expensive equipment at the studio, so I was always lugging stuff back and forth.
5. Biggest reason why I'm not renewing my lease-I don't use it enough! I thought that if I had a studio outside of my home, I would have more indoor business. I was wrong. I still took most of my photos outdoors, at locations, or did weddings. I was paying for a space that I didn't use!
I'm going back to using my home, but we decided that we could still improve by using what I would have used for rent to remodel the house to something we could enjoy and look nice for clients at same time.
It was an expense lesson for me to learn, but I guess I got it out of my system. I'm not knocking those have successful studios-I still think that it would be awesome to have their studio. I just know it's not the right choice for me and I'd rather have more money in my pocket. I also wanted to assure everyone out there that are dreaming of owning a studio to the point of being depressed over it-don't be! It's okay to run a studio out of your home and you should enjoy having less headaches that running one outside of your home might bring. You are just as important as that photographer that has his studio downtown and don't let anyone tell you any different!
I'll leave you with these photos of an awesome home studio ran by a husband and wife photographer team. You could take that money you'd be saving to make your home look like this too!
Monica and Jake's in home studio:
Read an interview about them here too!