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Inside Real Studios: Urban Willow Photography

Today we're taking a peek inside the studio of Lori Vieth of Urban Willow Photography:

Where, and in what kind of space is your studio located?
Bloomington, IL, Commercial

Square footage
1000

How long have you been there?
3 months

What makes your studio special?
I had a very clear vision in my head of what I wanted my studio to look like. I wanted it to represent my branding. I adore the exposed brick in my space and the fact that it is downtown. It has four 8 ft windows which lets the light pour in. I was very meticulous while shopping for everything that went in this space. I wanted to create a space that was Urban Glam...I think I did just that. The seniors and their families LOVE the space. They always say they could live there. I love that they feel like that are coming to a friend's home. They have dessert and drinks and just plunk into the soft leather couch to watch their slideshow and enjoy their time there.

How has it helped your business?
I don't want to discourage photographers that don't have a separate space and I can honestly say I was running a just as successful business out of my home. I was just ready to have a place that was my own. I have 3 sons and to be able to decorate a space that truly reflected my personality was very appealing!! I love the urban vibe with lots of little feminine touches. For me, I think it gives a level of professionalism at this point in my business. I've been shooting for almost 5 years and just felt like the timing was right. I like that it matches who I am as a person!

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
DREAM IT! WORK FOR IT! DO IT! I truly believe if you have a solid business plan and charge what you are worth you can open a studio someday. Don't fall into the trap of thinking "I could never do that". If you plan and set goals and how to achieve those goals you CAN do it! I looked for over a year for space and this was perfect from the very moment I stepped into it! I knew right then, because I had a vision of what I wanted, that this space would be mine. Start by making a "vision board" either literally or on Pinterest. I had tons of ideas over the past couple of years and it was fun to see how many of those ended up in my studio.

What products do you sell the most?
Image blocks and image boxes from WHCC are my best sellers.

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.

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Day In the Life: Katie Lamb

We are excited to continue an ongoing series of Day in the Life Features from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will take you through an average day of some of the top photographers in the industry.

Today we are pleased to feature Katie Lamb. Enjoy ~

My daily routine will be changing quite drastically in a few months as we are expecting twins come January; however, for now, I have a very consistent routine during the week in order to remain efficient in how I spend my time so that I can keep a healthy work-life balance.

I wake up at 6:15am every morning without an alarm clock. I couldn’t sleep in even if I wanted to, so I make sure to get to bed early every night. The first thing I do when I get up is make our bed as I always feel like I am more productive and overall more at peace with a clean home. (Clearly my dog shares my love for a made-bed!)

I also make sure to always change out of my PJs. (Okay, okay, so typically I’m just changing into sweatpants and a t-shirt, but something about “getting ready” each morning makes me feel less like a bum!) I then take time to prepare breakfast and sit down at the table to eat before heading into my office for the day.

My favorite part of my work day is always the morning - before the hecticness of my day starts, before I’m drowning in editing, and before I get lost in a cycle of never-ending emails. I take that time to mentally prepare for my day, going over my to-do list and tasks for the next 8 hours and planning out my priority items. That time in my office is always quiet - it helps get me in the right state of mind to start my day fresh and creative instead of hectic and rushed where my creativity is nowhere to be found.

Another part of my morning is co-worker time. As all photographers know, we struggle with social interaction on a daily basis, especially if this is our full-time job, and we don’t get out of the office much except to shoot. This is when my best photographer friend (Kat Theis of Mustard Seed Photography and fellow co-owner of the Develop Retreat) comes in. We always take 15-20 minutes to talk about our week, the struggles we are having, the funny things that have happened to us throughout the week, etc. We use this time to encourage and build one another up, bounce projects off each other and help one another through tough tasks - such as the images we’ve been editing for the last hour that we just can’t seem to get the color right on, or the email we’ve been holding off on replying to so we could get some advice from a friend.

I try to get the majority of my editing done in the first part of my day while my eyes are still fresh and haven’t become tired from staring at a giant white screen all day. This gives me the best color turn out on my images and also allows me to take a break in between quality-checking my work later in the day. After editing for an hour or two, I take time to sort through my inbox and tackle the monster known as email. As I am sure all photographers can relate to, this can be an all-consuming task, so I make it a rule to only check my inbox twice a day and dedicate 45 minute to an hour to reply to whatever emails I can.

 

My husband works for the Kansas City Chiefs; however, we live in Dallas. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to live by our family, since we have two little ones on the way. But this also means that, during football season and draft season, we don’t see much of each other since he’s working in another state. Sometime between noon and 1:00pm, I make sure to take an actual lunch break - meaning that I step away from my office and set aside 30-45 minutes to enjoy my meal and some rest over Facetime with my husband.

Tuesday afternoons are reserved for packaging and shipping. With everything from albums, flash-drives, client orders, to prints and more. I have set aside a designated area in my office just for packaging so that everything is in one area and easy to access to make this process more efficient and keep it organized.

With so much of my life being focused on work, it’s important for my creativity to set aside time for personal projects that help keep me both inspired and connected in my private life. At this moment, all of those projects seem to revolved around decorating our nursery. :) As artists, the happier we are away from the camera the more inspired we will be when we are behind it.

A few hours before any photo session, I take time to charge batteries, clear my cards, and ensure I have everything together. I do live in Texas - so having my boots packed and ready to go is just important as having my camera.

When I come home from a shoot, I always upload my cards and backup my images. Then it is time to turn off work completely and focus on a little down time. Another way I stay inspired (both personally and in work), is by browsing through a few of my favorite magazines and enjoying a nice cup of tea before I head off to bed.

Thanks, Katie!

~ Stay tuned for more Q&A posts from our wonderful contributing photographers.

Are you a contributor (or interested in becoming one) and would love a feature? Contact us here!

 

Katie Lamb is a photographer based out of Houston, Texas. She has been in business since 2008 when she graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Fine Art Photography. Katie originally pursued photography in order to document international missions and the orphan crisis around the world, and this still remains her greatest passion. As for her portrait business, she specializes in seniors, families, and has a separate brand for beauty & boudoir. Over the past seven years, she has fallen in love with the business aspect of what photographers do and has since co-created the Develop Retreat - a workshop focused on the business side of the craft.

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Inside Real Studios: Marta Schmidt Fotografia

Today we're peeking inside the studio of Marta Schmidt (of Marta Schmidt Fotografia):

Where, and in what kind of space, is your studio located?
Las Rozas, Madrid, Spain, Residential

Square footage
440

How long have you been there?
2 years

What makes your studio special?
The fact that it has so much light and it feels so open the moment you go inside. It doesn't even have a ceiling; it goes up to the second floor that I use as my living room.

How has it helped your business?
Clients say that the space really shows who I am and it makes them feel as if they know me already. They also say that my photography style and the decor really match. I love the space because there is usually room for the whole family, and they feel comfortable enough to leave things around and the kids that are waiting can play in another area.

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
Study the light. It really makes a difference and how you use that light will define your style. Try to have furniture that helps you keep things organized and makes it easy to put everything back into it's place quickly after use, but display some of the nice things you use in your photos (hats, blankets, props).

What products do you sell the most?
Portraits on wood and framed image collections.

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.

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Inside Real Studios: Enchanté Studios

Today we're peeking inside the studio of Shyrell Tamayo (Enchanté Studios):

Where, and in what kind of space is your studio located?
Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Commercial

Square footage
825

How long have you been there?
We opened our studio in January of 2014 exactly two years after I decided I would like to be a photographer.

What makes your studio special?
Unlike many studios in Dubai, ours is a natural light studio space and is marketed as a boutique studio. We focused with women's portraits so our space has a very feminine touch to it. We wanted our clients to feel at home and so even though it is situated in a commercial space it looks very much like a home. Unlike other commercial studios, we are are not placed on ground with foot traffic and can invite walk-in clients. We are 6 floors up and clients only really come to us by appointment. But I think what makes our studio special is pampering clients; it's in our code of business. We like to pamper from the first consult all the way to the final product viewing and delivery. We make sure we have our personal touches to everything we do.

How has it helped your business?
Having a studio has definitely set us apart from other photographers by showing that we mean business and clients know that when they approach us. Since having the studio, it has limited the number of people approaching us on little-to-no budget simply because clients know we have business expenses.

Having the studio has also definitely helped me deliver consistency in our images, which helped our studio to have identifiable signature style on our images. Being in Dubai also means shooting outside during the summer can prove very difficult. So I am relieved that I won't have to put my clients under the 45C (113F) degree heat for sessions.

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
Finances:
Start with the basics. As much as we wanted to start with a fully furnished amazing studio, there are better things you can put your money into, especially if you have limited budget. We started adding more furnishings and accessories as we took on more clients. The best things to spend money on in the studio are samples of product you would like to sell to your clients. Clients will buy what they see.

Interior aesthetic:
Have a clear idea of how you'd like your studio to look. It can be very tempting to buy cute little things or furnishings when you buy them individually, but sometimes they may not look great together. Having a cohesive look can make it a more appealing space to work in.

Be physically, emotionally and mentally prepared for it. Having a studio is a great achievement when you are a photographer but it can also be very challenging. This is a very big part of your investment so you will have to work hard to be able to keep it. There will be very many late working nights no matter how you try and organized the day. You will now have accounting, PR and marketing, maintenance, licensing works, maybe even staff management added on top of your shooting and editing.

When I opened the studio, I set my mind on not seeing the returns in the first two years and I am still at that stage. The third year coming is our make or break year (which so far is going in our favour). I do look forward to making it in this business!

What products do you sell the most?
We have included photo albums in almost all of our packages, so it's something that definitely sells most. However going forward our aim is to be able to place wall art in our clients homes.

Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
When I first launched my first website I used Design Aglow's web templates. I also bought forms, contracts and album templates to help me streamline my workflow in the studio. After failing to find high quality albums locally, I have decide it's time to have our albums done elsewhere and I'm very happy to look at what Design Aglow can offer. My recent purchases are building my samples for client albums and the Album Sales Kit Bundle. I am very excited to receive my first album sample!

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.

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Inside Real Studios: Mellow Yellow Photography

Today we're peeking inside the studio of Melodie Schultz (Mellow Yellow Photography):

Where, and in what kind of space is your studio located?

Residential; Bentonville, AR

Square footage
187

How long have you been there?
The space is newly remodeled as of April 1st

What makes your studio special?
It just feels like home. It doesn't scream SELL SELL SELL, it screams get cozy and lets have some fun while you're here! It truly feels like you've stepped into my website. The pops of color all fit, and everything is very clean and crisp. It's so Mellow Yellow.

How has it helped your business?
It JUST got finished over a week ago, but I know this space is going to help showcase my best work, and personality. Not only is it going to be a fabulous space to meet clients and hold ordering sessions, but it is such a calm, relaxing space to work. I have already got more work done in a day than I normally do in a week ;) I just want to be in here.

Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
Patience and a clear direction. When I first decided to do this, I wanted to dive in head first! I'm sometimes known as "Gung ho Mel" because when I decide to do something, I MUST do it now! This was a huge test for me, but I knew I wanted to do it right, and take my time. It took about three months from start to finish to do everything, and it was 100% worth it. I also drew a layout of how and where I wanted everything from the very beginning. Some things got rearranged, but for the most part, I stayed true to my plan.

What products do you sell the most?
My most sought after products are albums and wood prints. I recently introduced view masters into my top Senior collections, and the girls are going ga-ga over them!

Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
I absolutely love Design Aglow everything. Right now I am using the frames, and always have used the templates. So clean, and clear. Obviously something I love. I am dying to try out the albums. Oh, how I swoon over those almost daily, and just today I did some pricing/budgeting for the packaging. With this new space, I want EVERYTHING to tie in and I think the packaging will help polish up my brand a lot.

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.

LEAVE A COMMENT

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