Is it time to open a photography studio?

Any photographer who has been in the industry for awhile knows that there comes a time where you ask yourself, “Do I need a photography studio?” There are many genres in photography where having a studio would be a good fit for their business and knowing when to take the leap is a big part of the battle.

Here are a few questions to help you understand if the time is right:

Understand your WHY. If you’re opening a studio because you think it’s going to bring in more clients, you might want to rethink your motives. Having a studio won’t automatically mean there is a line of potential clients waiting at the door. Creating a solid marketing plan for how you’re going to get people into your studio is essential. If you’ve outgrown the shared space or home studio that you’re currently using, or if you’re ramping up your in person sales so you need a space to showcase work, opening a studio might be your next big step.

Check your finances. Are you currently paying yourself a salary? Are you making a profit? How much would your current pricing or number of sessions have to increase in order to cover the costs of owning a studio? Between rent, utilities, and increased insurance, the costs of owning a studio can quickly add up. Make sure that your pricing allows you to have a healthy enough margin that studio space makes sense.

Your quality of life matters. You can photograph just about anywhere with a window or on-location to make a session work.  However, if you’re currently running all over town for sessions, having one spot to go to can make your life much easier and less chaotic. Plus if you are a newborn photographer with a lot of props, you no longer have to drag those along with you. Separating your work and home life is also a HUGE benefit to having studio space.

Don’t forget the stuff. Paint, flooring, samples, furniture… the cost of furnishing a space will add up quickly! You can decorate your studio on a budget, but make sure you do your research and set aside how much you think it will cost to furnish your space so you don’t overspend.

If you’re not quite sure you are ready to make the leap, check around your local photography community to see if there is a shared studio program or if there a couple local photographers who would like to go in on space with you. These are a great stepping stone to owning your own studio. Opening a studio is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Before you make the leap, make sure you’ve thought through the big picture.

Do you currently have a studio? Tell us more! What are your tips for opening a studio?

Molly Connor

Molly is the marketing and communications guru at Iris Works. She is also a long-time professional wedding photographer in the Indianapolis area. She is a lover of all dogs, but especially her sweet girl, Henry June, the Great Dane who frequents the Iris Works headquarters.

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