Today we’re taking a peek inside the beautiful studio of Rya Duncklee of ryaphotos.
In what kind of space is your studio located, and where? Residential, in Jacksonville, Florida
How long have you been there?
What makes your studio special?
I just love all of the natural light that floods into the space, especially in the early morning hours. I'm an avid adventure traveler and waterbug so I love that I was able to incorporate my favorite serene color palette throughout the space. I'm located in Florida and water is such a big part of my life here that I wanted the space to reflect that. The framed photo that leads your eye into the office was a gift from my husband of one of my favorite images from a trip we took to Hawaii (which actually inspired me to pursue my passion for photography full time). I love that this space houses this image to remind me of how far I've come and why I'm doing what I do. I'm especially proud of my creations of the two organizational spaces within the office. Organization is key in a small space. The back wall houses all of my industry magazines in one nice neat place along the top shelf while the other shelves hold meaningful little treasures that I've collected along the way, including a copy of one of my favorite books. The containers along the bottom shelf house most of my packaging and client wrapping materials so that I can get a client order ready to go in no time. On the opposite wall, the other organization/wrapping station proudly displays my mounted NAPCP award-winning image. I like to keep this in site so that I can easily glance at it when I'm feeling the need for some motivation. The opposite wall also houses the rest of my client packaging, including gift boxes and ribbons and stickers. I created a dry erase board to streamline my workflow and placed it prominently above the wrapping station for easy access, adding a frame to it to tie it into the rest of the room. I used another frame in that area to create a homemade cork board that I use to keep track of the season's promotions that I run as well as an easy-to-find place for my color wheel. I like to keep my desk clutter free so I don't keep much on that, just a journal for creating. On my computer desktop, I have a template that I use to house all of my folders and current items I'm working on and I also built a favorite quote into the template so that I could start each day with a little inspiration and motivation.
How has it helped your business?
I'm primarily an on-location photographer who travels regularly and sometimes even internationally for my client sessions and I do in-person ordering sessions at client homes so my studio is mainly my office. My goal in creating this space was to make it more of a workspace than a place where I would take clients. I wanted to make the space my personal sanctuary where I could slip off to when I'm feeling inspired and in the mood to create as well as have a place that I could hunker down and work for a few hours or a few days when things get crazy busy. It is so much easier to create and work in a space that reflects who I am and what I do. It's helped me streamline my workflow, inspire creativity, and drastically reduce the time spent sifting through folders, wrapping client orders, editing, etc. It helps me to get it done and get back to my family and my life. My main goal for this space was to create a retreat that would inspire my art and it does just that by giving me a clutter-free workspace (and mind!).
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 gives me total freedom and flexibility when I plan out my calendar. The type of photography that I do requires me to be on the go all the time so this setup works perfectly for me at this point in my career. If you are planning to shoot in a studio, make sure you have enough natural light and keep the old adage in mind that less is more. You don't need a ton of space, if you streamline and keep things minimal it all works.
What products do you sell the most?
I recently changed my business to a more boutique studio, so now I sell mostly digital collections, canvas wall displays, framed prints, and the occasional heirloom album. I try to build my business organically through word of mouth so I also include a web version of my client galleries so that clients can show off their ryaphotos to their friends and family, helping me even further promote my business.
Do you use Design Aglow products in your studio? If so, which product(s), and how have they helped your sales?
For the past couple of years I have purchased many of the Design Aglow products. I can't say enough about how they have helped me streamline my workflow and get back to what really matters. I'm particularly in love with the Modern Minimalist product line, the Design Aglow Paper Shop, and my latest purchase (which I haven't yet had the chance to customize to suit my needs) The Big Picture Studio Planner. For my workspace, I specifically used various components of the Design Aglow Studio Workflow Assistant, including the computer desktop organizer image and the 24x30 studio whiteboard template. I even incorporated a quote that was recently in the Design Aglow Location Field Guide into the desktop organizer image.
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I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.
Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What was your road like to becoming a photographer?
Hello! I am a portrait photographer based south of Boston, MA. My passion is capturing mothers and their growing families. Maternity and newborn portraits are the foundation of my business, and I also capture baby milestones, children, and families. Fun fact: I returned the diamond earrings my husband bought me for our first Christmas as a married couple to buy a digital camera.