When I started my photography business, I dreamed of the day that I would be able to move my business out of my home and into a bright and shiny studio space. In my mind having a storefront was the true distinction of a “real” photographer. Oh, how silly I was!
Thank goodness, in the years that followed, I did some serious research about the business of being a photographer before I pursued a retail space for my business. I learned that there are lots (and LOTS) of incredibly successful photographers who not only operate a home-based photography business, they prefer it that way. Even more compelling, the Benchmark Surveys done by the Professional Photographers of America reveal that overall the most financially successful photography businesses in the United States are home-based!
As my knowledge of the photography industry evolved, I began to see my home-based business not as a stepping stone to something bigger and better (a retail space), but as a viable option for the long-term.
Obviously there are benefits and drawbacks to both retail studios and home-based studios. There are certainly stories of success and failure with retail spaces AND home-based businesses. However, the notion of freeing oneself from “this-is-how-I-must-run-my-business” was extremely important for my growth as a photographer. In fact, I think it’s important for anyone choosing a career in professional photography.
After all, this is YOUR business. Make decisions based on what is best for your family, your business, your finances and your mental health. That is what makes a business successful in the long-term, not whether or not you operate out of a retail space.
While I was now happy to operate a home-based photography business, I was still left with one sticking point: I wanted to offer my clients more than on-location and outdoor photography. I wanted a shooting studio. I wanted to be free of weather worries. I wanted to photograph newborns in January (in Montana) without lugging lighting equipment all over town or worrying about the lighting (or lack thereof) in clients’ homes. I wanted a place to meet brides & grooms that was more personal than Starbucks.
I didn’t want to stop offering on-location and outdoor photography. I simply wanted to expand my clients’ options and the possibilities for my business.
My solution was to create a home-based photography studio.
I started small by converting a spare bedroom into shooting space, but after three years of planning, construction, and more planning I now have an incredible custom studio space that fits my business perfectly. I’ve learned firsthand that just because you are based out of your home does NOT restrict you from running a high-end boutique studio. With my own studio space, I can make my clients feel special and pampered from start to finish, all while running my business from my home. And so can you!
But…where to start? How would it work? What might it look like?
That’s exactly what we’ll be looking at in Part 2 and Part 3 of this series. I’m going to take you through my Studio Self Inventory (a check-list of questions to ask and answer before you begin working on a studio), plus I’ll share pictures and tips from my own journey of creating of a home-based photography studio.
In the meantime, what questions do you have about creating a home-based photography studio? Or, do you already have your own space and you’ve learned some valuable tips? Please share in the comments below!
About the Author
Megan Lane owns and operates Megan Lane Photography with the help of her husband Scott and their daughter Claire (who’s four – and already her mommy’s very best assistant) in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains of Montana. With a degree in Biology she never imagined that one day she would be a small business owner, but her love of people and her *slightly* Type A personality make owning a photography business a perfect fit. She loves that her job involves lots of baby giggles, running around after mischievous toddlers, and hanging out with couples who are fabulously in love. She also loves playing grown-up girl dress up with her Sugar & Sass Photography clients (the boudoir division of her business).
When she’s not behind a camera or in front of a computer she loves reading, bargain shopping, drinking wine with girlfriends, and designing massive house projects. Connect with her on Facebook and view more of her work on her Website and Blog.