Save Money – Make Money

My proposal for this year consisted of 3 main objectives:

  • Enter competitions to raise my status
  • Learn how to market and sell to my ideal client
  • Earn more money – Fine tune my business to save money & increase my prices

In this Blog I will be looking at how I can fine tune my business to save time & money.

Current Studio Expenses:

OUTGOINGS p/month p/year
Studio Rent & Bills £300.00 £3,600.00
Fuel £80.00 £960.00
Parking £24.00 £288.00
£404.00 £4,848.00

I also have many other expenses in regards to the business but these will continue wherever I am based. The ones above are what I am looking at removing.

At home we have a separate annex which I am going to convert into a studio  – Which will save me nearly £5000 a year!

I have spoke to our home landlord and they are happy to write us up a contract which will take us to May 2020 and then the idea is that we will be buying our own home and I will be converting a garage or building a studio in the grounds.

Annex –

The main room is 10ft Wide x 14ft long and then there is a toilet/shower as well. It benefits from a high ceiling, it’s not a huge space but I only want to focus on babies which I don’t need lots of space for and Weddings which I don’t really need any space except to have a meeting.

I will be looking into space saving & dual purpose ideas.

https://savageuniversal.com/blog/how-to-optimize-your-small-studio-space/

http://www.jennifermcneilphotography.com/session-planning/photo-studio/

This photographers studio will probably be the strongest influence in the set up of mine because the dimensions are very close to mine:

https://aniaphoto.co.uk/2018/07/08/portsmouth-newborn-photographer-home-studio-my-cozy-space-for-youngest-clients/

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TIMESCALE – Leaving current studio 28th February – New studio needs to be ready by mid March because I have Newborns booked in.

To Do List (FEBRUARY):

  • Replace Carpet with wood flooring (permission needed from landlord)
  • Clean & paint everywhere inside
  • Buy a Pantograph rail system for my lights so they can be off the floor and pushed up when not needed
  • Buy a backdrop system, rails, shelving, storage
  • Fold down changing tray
  • Buy 2 chairs and a table or have the little sofa I own re-upholstered.
  • Buy Kettle, mugs etc
  • Have a sign made for outside
  • New samples – Wall art / albums
  • New Business Cards & Flyers
  • Update website & google details
  • Order backdrops & smaller beanbag
  • Bring heavy duty racks from old studio to use in the alleyway to store my large props
  • Work out what Kamila & I will do with our shared props
  • Move all my studio equipment & props to here
  • Speak to Bowen Son & Watson to let them know I’m leaving end of Feb
  • Make an appointment with Lloyds to take myself off the joint account with Kamila

Outside the Annex:

To Do List Outside (FEBRUARY):

  • Sand & paint doors & fascias
  • Clear gutters & clean windows
  • Clear the alleyway entrance, power-wash walls & floor
  • Garden – Cut back all the overgrown bushes and trees outside the glass doors to allow more light in

 

BUDGET

I have a budget of £2000 to get everything done

The aim is to save money in the long run but I will still have to spend some to get everything right. All of the manual labour like sanding, cleaning, painting, gardening etc I plan to do myself to save money.

Main costs –

Pantograph ceiling systems are around £500 & then there is the wood flooring, I’m not sure how much that will be until I get some quotes.

 

PLANS (To Scale)

new studio plan 3

3D VIEW

new studio plan 2new studio plan 1

TIME SAVING BENEFITS WORKING FROM HOME:

  • During the winter I had to drive to the studio at 6am to put all the heaters on; there is no heating so we have to use plug in heaters, then come home to take my kids to school then go back to the studio. We had timers on some of the heaters but they didn’t work on all of them so I had to manually do it. It is a 40 minute round trip (16-22miles depending on route) to get to the studio so for each shoot I was driving for 80 minutes (32-44miles). BASED ON 2 NEWBORN SHOOTS P/W I WILL SAVE 160 minutes of driving.
  • I was spending 1-1.5 hours setting up for each shoot plus 1 hour to put everything away. Sharing the studio with Kamila meant that we each had to clear the studio after each of our shoots. BASED ON 2 NEWBORN SHOOTS P/W I WILL SAVE 4 HOURS SETTING UP AND CLEARING AWAY
  • Every time I received an enquiry before I could offer any dates to clients I would have to check with Kamila what was free and then contact the client with the available dates and then let Kamila know which one they confirm. And Kamila had to do the same with her enquiries. Lots of clients want weekend slots and when there is on average only 8 a month it only left us with 4 days each. BASED ON CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN US TO ARRANGE BOOKINGS I WILL SAVE AROUND 0.5 HOURS P/W

 

OTHER BENEFITS

  • There has been a few incidents recently where Kamila’s clients have been recommending her when someone posts on social media for a Newborn Photographer, and one actually posted online that my business no longer existed and that it was only Kamila at our studio. Awkward situation, it was rectified fairly quickly thanks to a friend of mine seeing the post made about me and set her straight. When we set the studio up together Kamila had no intention of doing Newborns, she didn’t enjoy doing them and thats what I was specialising in so there was no problem with us sharing. But because Kamila does maternity photos she has been doing some newborns and at half the price of what I charge. Which was going to start looking confusing to clients that they can go to her and have their shoot in the same studio with the same props as me but at half the price! And Kamila is a brilliant photographer, so why wouldn’t they pick her and save money.. I would! MOVING TO MY OWN STUDIO WILL SAVE ANY CONFUSING & AWKWARD SITUATIONS 
  • Client Parking – No parking outside, the nearest was the multi-storey across the road which is not good for a new mum with a pram. The lift is regularly out of order, there’s been lots of problems with drug addicts in the stairwells and there’s only one pay-station on the ground floor so if you park on the other levels you have to walk all the way down to get a ticket then go back to your car to put it on then back down to leave. The next nearest is Island Green Car Park and that’s a good distance for a mum to walk, especially if she’s had a c-section. CLIENTS WILL BE ABLE TO PARK RIGHT OUTSIDE MY HOUSE
  • Stairs – Clients had to climb a flight of stairs and wither carry their pram up or leave it at the bottom and carry the baby up. CLIENTS WILL BE ABLE TO BRING THE BABY STRAIGHT THROUGH TO MY STUDIO WITHOUT THE NEED OF A PRAM OR STAIRS
  • The location of the studio was great in the fact that it was in the centre of Wrexham but it was quite embarrassing to hear the foul language that people use in that area, Parents swearing at their kids, drunks arguing outside my door, drug addicts loitering around & general arguments between people. The old single pane sash windows in the studio didn’t mute any of it and I was constantly apologising to clients for what they could hear. Also the noise pollution from the traffic, sirens, road works, football fans all contributed to a noise level not ideal for newborn sessions. I WILL BE BRINGING CLIENTS TO A QUIET & DESIRABLE AREA 
  • My client demographic will shift so I will be able to increase my prices in relation to photographers in my area. INCREASE MY PRICES
  • There is lots of photography business’ in Wrexham, photographers that are setting up studios in the town centre so the competition in that area is rising. I WILL HAVE THE ONLY STUDIO IN OVERTON

 

NEGATIVES OF A HOME STUDIO

  • It might appear that I have taken a step backwards?? Moving away from a central location.
  • Until I start working in it I won’t know how i’m going to cope with a smaller studio
  • …..struggling to think of any negatives atm, will have to come back to that one!