Today we take a peek into the studio of Sarah Parisi of Parisi Images in Wheaton, Illinois.
In what kind of space is your studio located?
How long have you been there?
What makes your studio special?
My studio is really a gallery/consultation space where I meet with prospective and current clients. The room is a four-season porch added on to a 1928 Chicago-style bungalow and, while small, allows me to provide great hospitality and a unique experience for my clients. I personally designed the entire space and it is a direct extension of my brand. One of the neatest features is a wood-burning stove in one corner. It speaks to my brand perfectly, and it was just a part of the home when I moved in!
How has it helped your business?
While I know my clients appreciate the gallery space, I think the biggest impact the space has had is in my own sense of confidence. Knowing that I have control over the entire client experience (rather than meeting at a coffee shop where so much is left up to chance) allows me to make great use of my gift of hospitality. The "WOW" factor the space has been huge, and that in itself has boost my confidence a hundred-fold!
What products do you sell the most?
I focus on selling wedding coverage to clients and price everything else a la carte. With the gallery space, I'm now able to show more sample albums, which has really helped clients see the value (and art) of a truly custom wedding album.
Do you have any tips for opening a studio?
I think the key to creating a gallery/client consult space is to focus on keeping overhead low while not sacrificing quality. I rent my home and specifically chose to rent this home because of the porch, knowing that I could convert it into a great space for clients. It was key for me that, for privacy sake, the space has a separate entrance. A separate entrance also frees me from having to have the entire house clean, as clients would not have to walk through my home to get to the gallery. For any photographer renting (or looking to buy a home), I strongly suggest looking at spaces that can accommodate both a gallery/meeting space and your living space. Opening a mini-studio like this allows you to test the waters before committing to a larger, commercial space.
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From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.