The biggest challenge regarding the move to my new studio was being able to maximise the use of such a small space. With only 5 metres x 3 metres to work with it had to serve all these uses:
- Photography Studio
- Waiting room
- Viewing room
(Pinterest links – end of page)
After lots of research into small studios and how other photographers maximised their space I was able to come up with a plan which would hopefully work for me. When I say hopefully it’s because lots of ideas can work in theory but until I was actually testing the space out with clients I wouldn’t know for sure.
My session workflow had to change:
- From using natural light/ Jinbei EF200 continuous light to a studio strobe
- No longer able to set up multiple scenes. Pre-set up each scene before the shoot so I knew where everything was going to go and then clear it all away and set up each scene individually throughout the shoot.
- One sofa, which would mean that I can only provide seating for 2 people.
- No space for siblings to play during a newborn shoot so they would have to be brought along at the end of a session by a family member if they were to have photos with the baby.
My original plan was to lift the carpet and replace with wooden flooring but unfortunately my landlord didn’t agree to that so I had to think of another option. Having carpet with a paper backdrop wasn’t going to work because they soft surface would cause the paper to crumple and tear. So I looked at these options instead:
- Laminate on top of the carpet
- A raised floor on top of the carpet with lino on top (white seamless)
- Moveable flooring mats
I chose to go with the flooring mats because the other 2 options risked damaging the carpet. It was the most expensive option unfortunately because I had to order them from America, they were the only company that had thick flooring mats that were wooden floor replicas. The also had many different styles so I bought an oak coloured one and a cream wood one so that I had options.
The next part was to work out a way to store all my props, accessories and backdrops. Luckily there is a secure roofed alleyway that leads to the studio so I was able to build shelving which can house all my large backdrops, large props and accessories in storage boxes. This left me with these to find a solution for inside the studio:
- Beanbag fabric
- Hats, headbands, outfits
- Teddies & toys
- Small blankets & accessories
- Towels & Cake Smash items
- Changing Table
- Products, Samples, Office Items
- Photography equipment
I also had to purchase new items because while I was sharing my previous studio with Kamila we split the cost of certain items so when it came to us separating we had to share out what we had co-bought.
- New posing beanbag & accessories
- Baby changing table
- Dark wood backdrop
- Business Cards
The first stage was cleaning and then painting everywhere inside and out.
The garden was a massive job that took weeks and over 20 huge landscape gardening bags worth of foliage removed. It was completely overgrown, this is the before and after view from inside the glass doors –
Outside Alleyway Storage
Thankfully I didn’t need to buy anymore shelving, I used what I had in the old studio. These racks fill up one wall in the alleyway with enough room to come through with a pram still. I also hung some of my wall art and festoon lights to lead the way to my studio door.
When it came to the storage solutions inside I really had to keep the costs down because of how much I’d spent on everything else I needed so I made as much as I could.
I cut to size a white blind that I already had, it wasn’t quite long enough for the full door but it was enough to diffuse the light.
I made shelves by reusing one of the shelves I had in the old studio, I cut this down into 3 pieces and fit them inside the long cupboard to utilise the space better to store my beanbag blankets.
Inside the cupboard door I fixed in some dowling with little crocodile clips so that I could hang all my headbands inside.
There wasn’t anywhere else that I could have concealed storage so all the outfits & hats would have to be hung in view. This meant it needed to look pretty so I bought miniature wooden hangers and hung them on expanding curtain poles.
I had some floating shelves that we used in the old studio so I wanted to re-use those. They were too big for the alcove that the outfits and hats were in so I had to cut them down which meant the hidden fittings would no longer work. I bought steel shelf brackets to hold the shelves in place instead. I also made wire rings with crocodile clips attached to them which slide over the brackets so that I could hang the delicate headbands and hats from.
I needed to utilise the shower space somehow because I had no use for the shower itself so after much searching I managed to find a shelving unit that fit perfectly. I had to build it inside the shower otherwise it wouldn’t have fit through the door so that was a bit tricky but it was worth it.
There was no space for the standing changing table that I used in my old studio so I had to buy a wall mounted one.
I managed to fit a little fridge on the worktop, all my packaging, cleaning products and office supplies in the cupboards as well as my tea and coffee etc and flower basket underneath.
This was a huge moment for me, to finally hang my own name on the door! With sharing the last studio, the studio name was Kamisuze, a combined name of Kamila & Suze. So this was a great moment to be able to hang my name on the door.
Over the past 12 weeks since opening at the beginning of March 2019 I have done 2 Kookie Magazine Covers, 1 Kookie Magazine Article, 7 newborn Shoots, 3 Cake Smashes & 2 Portrait Shoots…. and every session went really well 🙂 I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to provide the same service that I did in the old studio but apart from being a little bit trickier to plan my shoot plan there has only been positives:
- Saves time, I don’t need to set up the day before and clear everything away after each shoot.
- Saves on heating, smaller space.
- No fuel costs
- No rent
- Parking right outside for clients
- Clients always comment on how nice a village it is and often go for lunch afterwards at the pub next door (huge perk! 😀 )
So I’m really pleased and excited for the year ahead, I’m booked up for the next 3 months and I look forward to finishing University to concentrate on my business 100% and aim to fill my diary 6 months ahead.
Pinterest Images referenced: