Today we're taking a peek inside the studio of Ute Muller of Fotoart Photography.
In what kind of space is your studio located, and where?
Residential, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
How long have you been there?
What makes your studio special?
I have always been a fan of shabby chic and love everything white. When we started to renovate the small and narrow basement garage in our home, I already had visions of an all-white space. The white walls and floor opens up the narrow space and make it look bright, airy and welcoming. Most of the furniture is second hand, something forgotten in our basement or a find on the side of the road. I love my huge desk which I found in an antique store. Originally it was a teacher's desk and I brightened it up with light pink paint and added pretty hardware on the drawers. My big storage space consists of old kitchen cabinets topped with a door. The shelf that sits on top was a free find on the side of the road. My table in the back of the studio is our former basement door sitting on a couple of saw horses my husband built for that purpose. Another coat of pink and white paint transformed an old garden bench into the perfect seating space for my clients. I love that there is a story behind each piece of salvaged furniture in my studio.
How has it helped your business?
My studio is mainly my office and I also use it as a meeting space for potential wedding clients. I love to hear the comments when clients enter my studio. It is so much easier to meet with clients in a space that reflects who I am and what I do. I tried to incorporate my branding colors into the decor as well by using bright green and pink as much as possible. Before I had my own studio, my computer used to be in our living room and all my albums and prints were scattered all over the house. Now everything found a home in my space and our living room doesn't look like a cluttered office anymore.
Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
As much as I would love to have a big commercial space, having a small in-house studio allows me complete flexibility when I plan my day. If you are planning to shoot in your studio, make sure that you do have enough window light or the right studio lights to make it work. One of the disadvantages in my space is that I don't have enough natural light to use it for portrait work. To make a residential studio look professional, a separate entrance is a must. If you are handy (or your husband is), make use of it because it will help you to save money during the renovation.
What products do you sell the most?
I changed my business model over the past years, and now sell mostly digital collections and albums. As most of my business is word of mouth, I also include a resized and sharpened iPad version of a session. That allows my clients to show off their portraits to friends and family and helps me to promote my business. I also sell lots of storyboards which is a collage of up to 5 images on a wooden board with beveled edges.
Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
Over the years I have purchased many of the Design Aglow products. My latest purchase was The Big Picture Studio Planner. I customized the planner to suit my needs and it has really helped me to stay organized and focus on my goals. This is the perfect product for me because I love to write lists and cross out the items as I go along. I also purchased the Luxe Portrait Studio Magazine. I used the template to design my own magazine which I published online with ISSUU. Having a template to work with is so much easier than start out on a white canvas in Photoshop.
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Perhaps your anxieties are internal? The fear of failing at that which is most dear to you? Or the terror of living with regrets that can never be remedied?