I’m a full-time, year-round people photographer. That means that even on snowy and rainy days, I still need to make pictures for clients, which means I need a studio. I’ve owned three studio locations, and I loved having them. However, the downside is that even on the days I wasn’t using the studio, I was still paying for it, and it’s not a good idea to spend money on things you’re not using.
3 Reasons to Rent
Fortunately, most towns and cities have studio space available to rent. I highly recommend rental studios. Firstly, you can quickly find out whether using a studio fits your style–it’s not for everyone, and it can be very different. Second, you can experiment with different kinds of studio lighting–and there are hundreds of options. Lastly, in a rental studio you only pay for the time you use and you’re not stuck with a mortgage or a landlord expecting to be paid each month, even when you’re not using the studio.
In fact, if you have a studio you’re not using enough, you’ll be tempted to sublet to other photographers. This includes its own set of difficulties, though, and should not be done lightly. If you think it’s tough running a photo business, you should try being a landlord to other people having a hard time running their businesses.
Another great thing about rental studios is that they are available when you travel. Last week I had work to do in Logan, UT, and I found a studio called Cache Valley Photo Connection that fit my needs. I signed up for hours online, paid with PayPal, showed up at the right time, made my pictures, cleaned up, and left. It was convenient and affordable.
A Bit of Advice
Be a good renter. Clean up after yourself, leave on time, pay your bills, and you’ll have a good reputation and you’ll find the doors open to you when you need them.
A studio is a wonderful place to work, especially when the weather outside is challenging. But don’t dive into buying a studio of your own unless you know it’s right for you and you can afford to pay for it even when you’re not using it. I highly recommend trying out rental studios in your area. Of course, studios are run by people, so you may need to try more than one to find a place you like with management and rules you can agree with. If you’re like many photographers, you’ll probably find that using a rental studio is better than signing your own lease or getting your own mortgage.