So you’re planning to open your own portrait photography business in your home. Now you’re wondering whether you need a home studio or not. Having a studio in my opinion is a plus, but you can still run a successful home business without one. Let’s look at a few reasons to have or not to have a home studio.
Before we deep dive into having a home studio or not, you need to decide what will be your primary niche. This one factor alone may eliminate the need for a home studio. If your niche is weddings, sports, or events there’s no need for a studio, and from a business standpoint, it’s not justifiable. Sure you will need some equipment such as portable flash units and light modifiers, but you will not need a physical studio space.
Secondly, do you have the space in your home for a studio? Sure you can set up a studio in a small room, but at what expense to your family’s life? How will it affect other members of your family and what will you have to sacrifice to do so? Moreover, a small space will limit what you actually can do.
Are you renting or leasing an apartment or home? Having an in-home studio may be breaking your lease contract and may lead to legal action against you. Not to mention that having much traffic coming to your home may upset your neighbors. To have a successful home studio you need complete harmony with your clients, family, neighbors, and the property owner.
Now let’s look at why you may want or need a home studio. Certain niches can benefit from or actually require a studio. Portraits, senior portraits, and fashion oftentimes are done in the studio and on location. Having a home studio opens up more options for your business. If you’re doing any type of commercial work having a studio is a must. Commercial photography is very demanding and you need to have the absolute control that only a studio can provide. These are all reasons you will want or need a home-based studio.
It’s time to think about the space needed and the location in your home. Ideally, you’ll want a dedicated room to set up your studio and store your equipment. Sure, you can have a makeshift studio in the living room or other room, but you have the hassle of constantly setting up and tearing down the studio. It’s also very inconvenient and a nuisance to the rest of the family. An extra bedroom, garage, or basement are all good places to set up a home studio.
Something that’s often overlooked when using your home as a studio or even a business is having a client viewing area. Having a nice viewing area where you can project large images to the client is a game-changer. When you combine this with good salesmanship your sales can go up hundreds of dollars. I’ll do a post dedicated to these areas in the future.
If you are running a studio from home, it can be disruptive to the rest of the family. You find that one client may be coming to your home on three or more occasions. This is something that many new home studio businesses often don’t think about. Your client may come for a no-obligation meet & greet or pre-session planning. Then return for the studio session, again to view the images and sales presentation, and yet again to pick up their products. All this needs to be set up on an appointment-only basis or clients will be coming at any time and disrupting your family activities.
Having a studio in your home isn’t necessary for running your business. Many photographers run a successful business without one. Many niches do not require a studio so you may want to start in one of those areas. However, having a studio can open up avenues that can attract clients that would not be possible otherwise. Just food for thought as you plan out your business.