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I am looking to open a photo studio this year and I am looking for a little help / pointers from other studio owners. I know you need things like location, photo equipment, lots of money, water, heating and insurance. but most of all a vision for doing this.
What else would I be missing ...
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A Good accountant.
Stuarts small but very important point is bang on......
To elaborate on that, " Market Research " Is there a market in your chosen location, A market big enough to provide you with a sustainable income, Big enough to earn the profit required to cover the cost of setting up and future overheads.....? ? ?
Until you can say " Yes " to all the above, Your unlikely to attract any business help ( Banks etc ) .
So is there a demand in the locations you have in mind, A demand that predictable enough to make it worth while......???
Its not like opening a grocery store, People need to eat, So a grocers will always be in demand, But having your picture taken is not a pre-requisite to life.......
I would have thought it wouldn't be very profitable anymore, now that location studio photography is so easy. Unless you are offering something unique, a special style, with particular lighting.
However, what there might be is a window to start up some sort of co-operative with other photographers - a studio share.?
Somebody mentioned that I can be an honest man, and thats why people dont like me, so I'll live up to my reputation...
I personaly see nothing on your galleries here or on your website that would make me offer you a commission to shoot my family pics. Thats what makes the difference between success and failure - the abilty to deliver and to generate a buzz about your services in your community. That buzz gets you business!
I'd suggest you try and educate yourself more and shoot LOTS more pics to get your standard up first.
Andy's comments above seemed pretty brutal, so I had a look at your website.
Tip - get rid of all the photographs on it and replace them with images that showcase your talent. The current crop include nothing that a members of a family could not produce with a compact camera. In particular avoid any image with a distracting background.
People will only pay for studio photography if you are able to produce images of a standard FAR higher than they could produce themselves.
I must admit, I've also been looking at premises purely so I can have all my lights and backdrops permanently set up - I currently visit clients in their homes and it's a proper nosebleed getting everything set up, un-collapsing softboxes, shifting furniture around etc.
There are a few places offering easy in / easy out terms - £35 per week all in with full facilities (toilets, running water, electricity etc), so if it doesn't work out, I'll only be out of pocket by a few months' rent.
It would also be used as a meeting space for wedding clients and a viewing space for portrait customers, so not just a studio - it would have to wash its face!
I reckon there is still a market for studio work (perhaps not high street stuff) but I wouldn't be keen to spend a lot kitting the place out if I didn't already have 90% of the kit / fixtures and fittings.
And finally (sorry), +1 on Andy's comments - you're going to need a top-notch portfolio to draw customers in.
£35 per week ain't bad! But you're up north
Aye - cheap as chips really. It has been problematic finding a rented space which allows dogs too (the Hairy Dog Photography side of the business is proving popular!).
As it stands right now - I have never used a studio in my life at this point - I know my photos need work and such - I am working on that one - little bit here and there ...
What I was trying to do was build a location for me and other photographers to rent out time lots - but it is looking like I will be putting this request on hold for a little while and re-visit it sometime down the road when I have more photos that show what I can do and go from there.
Thanks for all your input on this ... I needed a wakeup call so to speak.
A very refreshingly honest reply to some tough criticism - congratulations on the effort so far and keep up the hard work. Let nobody tell you this is easy!...
Good luck on the journey.
...and take a look at this thread.
I have now had my own studio in NW England for a year now so maybe I can offer you some pointers.
I was lucky in that my career change was forced - I ws made reduntant from the construction industry and was able to convert my hobby into a business. Crucially I was able to get grants for the capital expenditure, a rent-free studion and office (for the first year) and unlimited business advice and counselling.
I think you are going to have to budget about £40,000 for capiatl equipment such as cameras, computers, backgrounds, lighting, etc and don't forget ordinary things like office furniture. Then allow about £20,000 in the first year for marketing etc. If you work on a margin of 20% then, to cover costs, you possibly need a turnover of about £150,000 to cover costs and provide a net income of £20,000.
Where I have been really lucky is that, in addition to grants for the capital investment, I have had amazing advice and assistance with the market research and sales and marketing. Those are areas I knew very little abount before I started.
I see you are in canada so multiply all those figures by x2 to get CDN$$.
Looking at some of the above posts I took a peek at your website and i have to agree there is a lot of work to be done there. Most of your images look like family snapshots rather than professional quality photograpgs, so work hard on that aspect before investing your dollars in a studio. As someone else said, no-one will ever pay a professional for photographs that they could take themselves.
But if you do succeed, you will never look back. My standard of living may be only a fraction of what it used to be but my quality of life is much better.
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