Rented a studio for a few hours on Sunday

Hey guys,

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, I apologize. Had some personal issues to tend to. But I’m back!

On Sunday, I rented a local studio space. This space was started by a friend of mine, him and two other guys. The space they have has a TON of potential, but not quite there. This post will lay out my ideas of a functional studio. These guys are always after me asking me my opinions on how it goes and what is working and should work. Being that I have experience renting and working in studios across the US, I’m honored that they ask, yet, I’m not going to give my info away for free. I’ve offered them the option to have me in as a consultant.

The booking process was pretty painless. As I said before, I know two of the owners and they’re good guys. I had to book, then confirm the space. Done. In the booking process, they tell me that they have paper backdrops for use and it’s a “25.00 per tear” fee. Meaning, if I use the paper, it’s an additional 25.00. No thanks, to me, that’s a waste, I have plenty of my own backdrops that I could use. Hire me as a consult and I’ll teach you how to preserve that paper guy.

The rental: I have a few modifiers that I like to use, so I got there a bit early to set them up since they don’t allow an extra 5-10 minute setup time for people who aren’t using their assortment of lights. They have a mix of strobes, from Norman to Photogenic to Alienbee to White Lightning. While there is nothing wrong with mixing and matching the heads, I didn’t see anything such as pocket wizards or sync cords to trigger their heads, that and nothing on the heads that identify the type of head (hot light? watt?) they have. As I get there, I’m greeted by the other owner I know, he’s a good guy. I walk into the studio and see that they have two separate paper setups. I walked in when my studio time started, which was 3pm. A walk through should be done on THEIR time, not mine. I proceed to help the owner take down the paper backdrops because these guys are new and want money to keep their studio going, so I could see them saying I used the paper. At 3:10, we were done with the paper rolling and everything was fine. The owner leaves around 3:15. Luckly for me, I told my first client to show up at 3:20.

The shoots go fine and we’re in the wrap up part of the second shoot when at 550, the owner shows up. Not sure his intent, but not exactly sure why he would show up on my time? see my client? hang out with me? I walk my client out to her car and come back inside. At that point in time, we start to give each other a hard time. Now I had my personal issue going on at home, so I was ready to get back to where I needed to be, but didn’t want to be an ass and leave the guy there. So as we’re talking, I walk through to make sure I’ve picked everything up that is mine and that everything is clean. On my way out, I grab my stuff and he says something that takes me off my guard, he says: “Everything looks good, BUT, you are over your time by 15 minutes. You paid for three hours, not three hours and fifteen minutes” I wasn’t sure if he was joking or serious, but it bothered me. So I told him “Well you’re partner and I had to clean the place up, take stuff down that shouldn’t have been there, so from quarter after to quarter after is three” He says “You paid for 3-6pm” Are you serious? You left the studio space in not ready condition and I’m supposed to use MY time making sure you did what you were supposed to?

We give each other a hard time about it, I was very tired, so I was a bit on the defensive side.

Then he proceeds to ask me again my thoughts on the studio and how I felt they were going with the direction of it. So this time I decide to give him a few of my feelings on it, since he asked and I was over tired lol. I tell him that the way his space was setup, I wouldn’t feel too comfortable bringing in a client and wanting them to pay 2500.00 for photos. He gets physically angry and says “How big was your old space?” I said “600 square feet combined” he says “You mean to tell me that you don’t think someone would spend 2500.00 HERE, but they would over THERE?” That kinda pissed me off! So I had to break it down to him: “It’s all about apperances guy, you have ALL your props right to the left taking up VALUABLE shooting space. You have about 20 softboxes thrown all on the floor at the back of the studio. You have props running along side both walls. Very little space to shoot in. Just because your space is big, doesn’t make it better” What I wanted to tell him was “My old studio, yes, was 600sq feet, but it had a sitting area, a 32inch hdtv, direct tv. Pleasant colors, comfortable and cozy sitting area and my camera room was NICE. It had my modifiers on the wall and was presentable.” But I didn’t.

My post is to everyone, photographers, studio owners: Just because you have space, doesn’t make it better or worse than some other place. These guys have 1500sq ft and because they do, they think it’s better than my old space. You can have all the room in the world, but if you don’t make it appropriate for your clients, you have big space that’s good to shoot in, but offer very little with regards to professional presentation.

My space will be vacated and available to me soooon! PLEASE HURRY lol.

Happy holidays!


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