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inside real studios: michelle arnold portraits

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Today we take a peek inside the studio of Michelle Arnold Photography:

In what kind of space is your studio located?
Commercial

Square footage
250

How long have you been there?
Since February 2014

What makes your studio special?
My studio is in a historic building downtown which just creates a different feel than a brand new building. I love the mix of the old and new. I love the creaky stairs my clients walk up and then they turn the corner into my beautiful, welcoming studio.

How has it helped your business?
Having a studio space is an extension of yourself; an extension of your brand. I loved creating a space my clients would enjoy being photographed in. And the extra special seating area for reviewing their proofs has such an elegant feel, yet quite comfortable. It’s a happy, inviting space that I love to be in (and so do my clients).

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
To have a studio doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on rent. Keep hunting! You can look around in your area for spaces that you could adjust to work for you. While my new studio space isn’t large, it was the next logical step in my business. I’d love to have a huge loft type space for a studio, but that’s not practical for me at this point in my business. One day! Having any type of physical presence in your town makes a big difference and adds to your credibility as a professional.

What products do you sell the most?
Clients love my new light boxes for their images. It’s such an interesting and sophisticated way to turn their portraits into something really unique.

Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
I love using the Modern Minimalistâ„¢ templates from Design Aglow for my Client Welcome Packet. It’s an easy way to make an impact.

Do you have a great space you would like to share with our community? We would love to hear from you and possibly peek into your world. Simply visit this link and we will guide you through the quick submission process.

CATEGORIES: Inside Real Studios

inside real studios: kelli dease photography

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Today we take a peek inside the studio of Kelli Dease Photography:

In what kind of space is your studio located?
Commercial

Square footage
1200

How long have you been there?
2 years

What makes your studio special?
My studio is located inside a renovated factory building in historic downtown Collinsville in Connecticut. The landmark building once housed an ax factory, but has since been converted into small offices and artists studios. Many of the original features of the building, including the freight elevator that carries clients up to my studio, are still in use, making for an eclectic and unique space!

How has it helped your business?
Your studio should reflect your brand. My space is modern yet classic, with a soft, feminine feel. It is also very quiet and private, which is essential when working with newborns.

What products do you sell the most?
Digital files, prints, albums, canvases, storyboards and image boxes.

Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
I use Finishing Touch Borders in all of my albums and am about to launch a new line of birth announcements, but haven’t decided which template set I’d like to use yet!

Do you have a great space you would like to share with our community? We would love to hear from you and possibly peek into your world. Simply visit this link and we will guide you through the quick submission process.

CATEGORIES: Inside Real Studios

inside real studios: isabel march photography

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Today we are visiting the studio of Isabel March Photography:

In what kind of space is your studio located?
Commercial

Square footage
2800

How long have you been there?
6 months

What makes your studio special?
My studio is an extension of me. Everyone that walks in can see personal items of my life (I collect gum ball machines and vintage cameras), my family pictures as well as fun pictures of clients that define my brand. Even though it’s a large space, I’ve created areas within the studio that create a sense of home, are comfortable and inviting. Visiting the studio is much like visiting my home. There is also clear distinction between the production room, the shooting area and the client meeting area.

How has it helped your business?
Having a studio space was instrumental for my business in that it created a sense of professionalism that running a business out of my home lacked. I can honestly say that bookings doubled once I moved into a studio space. The studio space has also given me the ability to host workshops – which is something I incorporated into my initial business plan. I’m a firm believer in giving back and educating photographers so that no one has to reinvent the wheel. It has also given me the ability to expand my portrait work.

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
When you’re considering a studio space, make sure that you have approximately one year’s rent readily available as security in your bank account. There’s nothing worse that moving into a space and then realizing that you cannot afford it. Consider if you really need a studio. Don’t jump into the decision to rent a studio just because another photographer has one. Consider the nature of your photography, what you plan on using the space for, your budget, and the pros/cons of having a studio.

Consider space. The first studio that I rented out was great for meeting couples but not spacious enough for hosting workshops and/or shooting. I fell in love with the space but quickly realized that it was too small for what I wanted to do.

Consider the location. Do you want more of a store front where you get foot traffic or are you okay with having your space on the second floor of a building? Also, consider the neighborhood. You could have the cutest studio but if it’s in a run down neighborhood, you may find that clients are hesitant to visit.

Make sure that the electrical is up to date!

Make sure that you have a lot of storage space – or the ability to create a storage space. You’ll need it in order to house all of your equipment and props without having your space seem cluttered.

Have the space represent you and your brand. Personalize it…but also, make it functional.

What products do you sell the most?
As a wedding and portrait photographer, I primarily sell albums and enlargements. The items are showcased all over the studio.

Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
I have used Design Aglow templates to create client proof boxes. Clients love seeing how they can display their pictures within their home.

Do you have a great space you would like to share with our community? We would love to hear from you and possibly peek into your world. Simply visit this link and we will guide you through the quick submission process.

CATEGORIES: Inside Real Studios

inside real studios: bell portraits

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Today we take a peek into the studio of Erin Bell of Bell Portraits in Westport, CT.

In what kind of space is your studio located?
Commercial

Square footage
1020

How long have you been there?
2 months- previously located in smaller space on the other side of the building for 3 years

What makes your studio special?
Oh gosh- everything- but it’s my baby so perhaps I’m a bit biased. For one, our studio is on the main road in Westport, which is a sophisticated, beachy, and artsy town 50 miles from Manhattan. It really is such an ideal town to reach my clientele. What’s even more special is even though the studio is on a main, high traffic road where our sign and big color window displays can be viewed- it is located inside a historic mill with all original floorboards and a gorgeous little pond behind the building. Sitting on my desk- I can see a little waterfall, swans, egrets, and even the occasional father and son out fishing. It’s really such a tranquil place to work. I truly feel like I hit the location jackpot with the best of both worlds.

How has it helped your business?
My goal with the studio was to make it so beautiful that it encouraged clients from years past to return to me, my regular group of loyal clientele happy that they are part of the journey of a thriving studio, and new clients feel really secure that they picked a photographer who understands design, aesthetics, and details. I based the design of the studio off of my clients’ homes and everything that I think represents the town of Westport. I love seeing Moms’ expressions when they first come into the studio. My goal was to design it to appeal to a Mom’s style- and yet still have that slight touch of playfulness that makes the statement ‘we truly are the baby experts in the area’. All of my clients seem so content when they walk into the studio and I think it really helps them know that they chose the right studio to document their family’s life. They see how much I invest back into my business and clients- and feel comfortable therefore investing in me.

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
Build decorating into your budget. So often I see people with gorgeous spaces- but they don’t leave enough budget left for decorating. Put some money aside to really make it beautiful and scour the internet’s many interior design blogs to figure out what is in style. Since photography is all about having an ‘eye’, clients love a photographer on top of modern styles. Also- get every last dime’s worth out of that rent you’re paying and mention your studio as much as possible. In today’s congested photography world- a studio really sets you apart. I never just say, “I’m a photographer.” I always say, “I’m a photographer- my studio is located in Westport next to Shake Shack and across from Panera Bread in the Old Sasco Mill- do you know the area?” I believe that by letting clients and acquaintances know you have a studio you’re saying, “I’m thriving, I’m making real money, and I’m here for the long haul”.

What products do you sell the most?
I decided a long time ago that I wanted to focus on three products- our digital files with a keepsake box, our wall art that due to it’s unique look is recognizable from home to home, and our album that we truly customize for each client. All of our clients end up purchasing one of our 8 collections that combine these three products in various quantities. Our most common sale is the collection that includes the digital files with keepsake box, a 20×24 framed piece of wall art, and our album.

Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
About 4 years ago I bought Design Aglow’s product guide. Although I completely customized the whole thing to really fit our studio and include information about our sessions in addition to our products – having a base model to start with was really helpful. We have three versions of this guide- one for our signature sessions, one for our mini sessions, and one for our newborn sessions. Each book is an 8.5×11 full color 24 page book printed with CopyCraft (who DA also referred). Mailing this to each client upon booking not only gives them a bit of ‘wow’ factor about our studio- but ensures the ordering session will go smoothly since I’ve prepared them well.

Do you have a great space you would like to share with our community? We would love to hear from you and possibly peek into your world. Simply visit this link and we will guide you through the quick submission process.

CATEGORIES: Inside Real Studios, Inspiration

inside real studios: michael kormos photography

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Today we take a peek into the studio of Michael and Sophie Kormos of Michael Kormos Photography in New York City, NY.

In what kind of space is your studio located?
Commercial

Square footage
400

How long have you been there?
2 years

What makes your studio special?
We love that clients feel right at home when they walk in the door. The natural light is incredible with two walls of large windows, and the bright glow makes the studio feel bright and cheery. The small and cozy space is perfect for capturing intimate maternity and newborn portraits. Our decor is in line with our styling recommendations of getting creative with different textures, and accessorizing with pops of color. We keep the decor minimalist, so the attention is drawn to the colorful wall art, keepsake albums, and slideshow of portfolio images.

How has it helped your business?
It’s been wonderful to separate our business from our personal lives. As a husband-and-wife team, we found it difficult to shut off from work when our studio was in our home. Not to mention, as our children grew older and more active, they desperately needed a play area rather than a room filled with light stands and backdrops. Having a studio also allows us to have a dedicated space to display samples of our products, which has been very helpful for clients. Also, there’s an epic view from the baby’s changing table.

What products do you sell the most?
Keepsake albums and canvas wraps are some of our clients’ favorite products. Most of our clients come back several times each year, so they appreciate Michael’s hands-on approach to designing custom artwork for their homes.

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
Everything always takes longer than you’d expect, and finding a studio space is no exception. It took us almost a year of searching and many headaches before we found the perfect space. Finding the one that’s perfect for your budget, location, ceiling height, natural light, and personal preferences means that you’ll really have to commit yourself to the process. Beware that commercial leases are quite complex, so it’s best to hire a real estate attorney to review the document for any terms that may not be in your best interest. With a minimum of three years for most commercial spaces, it’s not a commitment to take lightly. On the bright side, we’ve had a wonderful experience with our space, and we actually just renewed our lease yesterday!

Do you have a great space you would like to share with our community? We would love to hear from you and possibly peek into your world. Simply visit this link and we will guide you through the quick submission process.

CATEGORIES: Inside Real Studios

featured contributor: meg borders photography

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Today we are chatting with the lovely Meg Borders!

Website: megborders.com

Specialty & Location: My specialty is Senior and Teen portraits. Located in Eastern Washington.

DA: Tell us a little about yourself:
MB: As a mother of three daughters, I am passionate about the self esteem of young women; my work is aimed at revealing natural beauty and refocusing how girls view themselves. Having mentored teens for over eight years, the senior genre of photography immediately grabbed my attention.

DA: What has been your most memorable image and why?
MB: My favorite image is always changing, but my current favorite is the one below. It embodies beauty, light, and a dream-like sense. I tend to view the world through dreamy sun infused lenses and I like my work to reflect that.

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DA: If you could tell photographers that are just starting out one thing you wish you had known before starting a business, what would it be and why?
MB: I wish I would have spent more time honing in on my photographic and business skills before launching. I, like so many other photographers, jumped the gun and opened up for business too prematurely. I paid for it by having to scrap my entire first business (name, logo, images, everything) and start all over a year later when I was more experienced in what I was doing.

DA: Where do you find inspiration?
MB: When I am looking for inspiration I often look internally. I envision things, mostly while driving in the car (my only time to think straight as a mother of two little ones). I find a way to capture them in real life whether it be a scene, a pose, or a lighting scenario. I like to have a final image in my head before I even start a shoot.

DA: How do you enjoy your images (what physical products do you make for your own home)?
MB: My home is littered with photographs of my children and family. I have canvases and framed prints all over my home. A stair-case collage, an over the mantle grouping, a hallway canvas display, and groupings of eclectic frames on shelves leaning against the wall. People might think it’s a little overkill, but we are the ones in our home 99% of the time, and my entire family just loves being surrounded by images that show our connection and love for each other.

DA: What are you most grateful for?
MB: Where to start? I feel like I am living a dream. An incredible and supportive husband, three gorgeous healthy daughters, a career I love, and a ton of support from family and friends all around me. I thank God each and every day for His incredible and rich blessings in my life.

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CATEGORIES: Inside Real Studios
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