Note: Last July I wrote the following post on the blog about my studio rental business. I must say that over the past six months I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of rental business that has happened. The variety of photographers who have created great images in my studio is remarkable. Thank you everyone who has become one of my “rental clients”. I look forward to continuing to grow the rental business in 2011.
With the move into my new studio a couple months back and the ramping up of my studio rental business, I’ve received more than a couple questions asking why I would want to do this. I thought I’d use a few words on the blog today to chat about my studio and how it fits into what I do.
My original 500 square foot studio evolved out of necessity. It was originally my real estate office (yeah, I might not look like it now – but I was once a Realtor). In 2007 as my stock photo sales took off it became readily apparent for my own sanity that I needed a space outside the house for my camera and lighting equipment to be set up. The obvious choice was the office. Even though the office was not the ideal floorplan for a studio, when we (Harley, Dale & myself) removed the walls it became a usable space.
Once my lighting equipment was in a dedicated space, I found that it helped my creativity immensely. Knowing that I could leave the house and be shooting in under 15 minutes led to many spontaneous (and successful) photo shoots that would not have happened if all the gear were packed away in their cases at the house. I used the old studio for 3 years and created MANY successful stock images within its four walls.
After being prompted by a call from a photographer in 2008, I also began quietly renting the space out to other photographers. I really didn’t advertise it much for rental, partially I have to admit because I felt it really didn’t live up to being a “real studio” in my mind. That being said however, I did rent it out 8-10 times a year.
Roll the clock ahead to 2010. With the drop in retail lease rates over the previous year or so and new space becoming available in my current building, I decided it was time to pull-the-trigger and build a studio specifically designed for my photography. With the help of an awesome landlord, I nearly doubled my usable space and created what I dubbed Studio 2.0. Now the funny thing is that between shooting on location and home-office Photoshop work I only use the studio at most a couple times a week. It was because of this that I decided to up the game when it came to renting out the studio.
I’ve got two main reasons for renting out the space. The first (and probably most obvious) is that it helps offset my monthly expenses. Anyone who has ever owned a business and leased space knows that the rent paid is just the beginning of what it costs each month. A few rental dollars a week is nice to have when it comes time to pay these expenses. The second reason is that since I have been blessed immensely in doing what I do for a living, I like the idea of being able to use this blessing to help other photographers – and an affordable rental studio is a sure way to do that.
With the rollout of the new RICH.LEGG.PHOTOGRAPHER website last week (richlegg.com), I now have a dedicated section for studio rental. The prices for using the space start as low as $30 for one hour (which includes use of lights) up to multi-day rates. Over the past month I have had eight different photographers either use it or reserve time (some numerous times), so it appears to be working. Going forward, the challenge for me will be to plan ahead and schedule myself in the studio during the busy rental periods.
My primary business will continue to be the creation and licensing of quality stock photos. But being in the studio rental game is a nice secondary interest. To check out more information on renting the studio click on the Studio Rental tab up top or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.