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Creating a Dedicated Shooting Space

Lesson 13 from: Building Your Family Portrait Business

Tamara Lackey

Creating a Dedicated Shooting Space

Lesson 13 from: Building Your Family Portrait Business

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

13. Creating a Dedicated Shooting Space

Next Lesson: Studio Spaces Q&A


Class Trailer

I LOVE Photography and I Want to Make Money


From Photographer to Business Owner


Building Your Business To Fit The Life You Want


Business Is Business


Creating a Simple Business Plan - What To Know And What To Skip


Branding And Identity


Significance Of Constantly Marketing


Social Media Marketing


Lesson Info

Creating a Dedicated Shooting Space

Those are the lessons I've learned, the things I would never do again and the reasons I wanna maximize every square foot. Everybody else is kinda going into this from different perspectives based on what they need. Let me start out by showing you this is the workspace for Aida Jones, she is in California and she has yeah, she's in the Bay Area but she got this space pretty recently, actually. She came to my workshop and she's like I'm just gonna do it. I'm like, great, do it! And part of the reason she really wanted to get a workspace was because she felt like it wasn't legitimate to work out of her home, to bring clients in. Whether it's true or not totally varies on the person and their market and this and that. Overall, I would say you're legitimate if you're a shooter and that's what I told her, you're a good shooter. You're more than legitimate, but she felt like that was a barrier for her to be able to comfortably sell. She felt like no matter how much she did that from her envir...

onment that she was gonna have a hard time selling but once she got herself in this environment, she could do it in a much more comfortable way, and she's done very well doing that, you know? She's at a space where she feels like it's better. So this is a really cool white box kind of space. You walk in, there's open brick. She's got a really clean, clear place to shoot. She's got good lighting, it's already set up. It's very open by intention, she wants it to be very open but it's also inviting, people wanna come in. I asked her what the challenges were. She said it's basically, it's not insulated. It can get kind of cold and kind of warm and how do you work around that? Those are things that I would strongly consider when building out a space. I would say okay, if there's gonna be a temperature fluctuation issue here, how do I build things up to make it seem warmer when you come in? And there's a lot actually I've done around things like that to optimize the negatives of our space. But that's a really cool kind of open brick space with tons of natural light which she could do a lot with. This is the office of James Pharaon, he is out of Texas and he does graphic design as well as photography graphic design. This space is about 300 square feet. It is meant for client viewings and client meetings. He does no work in this space, no shooting in here. He does a lot of shooting on location and he basically converted a side of his garage to be a dedicated space for where he could have his photographer workspace and it works for now. He talks about these chairs being a conversation point. He's like they're the ugliest chairs but everyone talks about 'em. (laughs) I like how fun that is. And he said they're also super comfortable. I needed to make sure I said that but when you walk in here, it's not a lot of space but he uses it all like the cooler right there. So he offers people a drink, he's got beer. I think he drinks the beer just when he's by himself. That's a whole different thing. He's got back-up drives. He's got 20 terabytes of drives tucked away in those draws. He's got prints, he kind of point to things and show people some prints. He's got some press releases right there. He's got a magazine article. He can close the drape based on what he needs. He's got some office supplies, camera gear, a lot of stuff in a small amount of space because he kinda optimized it for what he needs. So you might think, aw, I have no where to shoot. He took 300 square feet in his garage and has a dedicated space just to focus and meet and do a lot with and store a lot with. I think it's a really good example of taking what you hae and making something out of it. This is my friend's Jerry and Melissa Ghionis. This is their space that they built out in Melbourne. They have sense moved to Las Vegas now. They're in Las Vegas and they're getting that all up and running but they had, again, this is a smaller space. I think it was 500 square feet is what it was, but it's just appointed to the max. Every single square inch is intentionally done, so when you walk in, that's the left. When you come in on the right is moving into the space. This is the upstairs so when we went to Melbourne, we saw them and I walked through the space and I'm like what's so interesting to me about your studio and your space is it completely reflects your brand. His brand, it's got these blacks and these kind of real glamor and all that sort of emphasis. When you walk into my space, my brand is like let's have fun! Bright and shiny and I love you and my whole space shows that. It's got all those colors and tones and that whimsy to it and we're both representing our brands very well just by the physical manifestation of our space. Let's see what else? This is his production area where they build albums and do the work that we talked and invoicing and everything. And, oh, I went back too fast. And the whole thing, if you kinda look through it one by one. That's the space. It's not a lot of space but it's very well used. Okay, this is Cynthia Hammond's space. She wanted to build a space out but then thought about because she's in a condo right now and she thought how do I get the things I really need? I didn't necessarily wanna to a big box thing and build it out from scratch. Didn't necessarily wanna build something right in her home because she has home owner restrictions. So she went to a commercial space and rented an executive office. Which one wouldn't necessarily think about but she said it's one mile from my house. You walk in this way, you come through on the left. That's what you see, what the customer's would see when they walk in. You walk into the space right there on the right. She has access to their conference room for any meeting she wants. She has access to do workshops or any sort of program she wants. This is the space, again, this is an executive office. This isn't necessarily what you'd expect. You walk in and it's set up for shooting. Got a lot of natural light coming in. She's got a little meeting area. You can get ready, do hair and makeup. Bring in makeup artists. Go ahead and do wardrobe changes, sit down. Go through all the images as they're presented and work through them at all and all her signature colors are in there as well. So it's a really cool way to go off a different path I think. Which is to say let me go in, in one of your executive offices. Rent it out for my whole creative space. Feel free to ask questions as we go along. I think, personally, it's so cool to see how everybody does this differently but they're all doing it right for them. At least at this stage of their life. So this is Linda Bell. She is a photographer who when her kids left, she was there trying to figure out how she could practice her craft and how to do it exactly and they decided to make the entire downstairs of their ranch home her studio. So when they first walk In, they walk right in. And she's got a shooting area. This is actually a sunken level. You go down, you have a 23 by 14 square foot shooting space. She's got two rooms, a converted bathroom. Kinda step back a little farther and see that view. This is right when you come in, this is the show room. You can kinda see the prints that just literally working with the existing structure and showcasing the work she does. Sit down there and go through prints together and look at things, aw, some of those photos are from a workshop she did with me, that's exciting. I just saw that. And then if yoU keep turning to the left, you've got more places to sit and go through the images together on a screen like that too. So just literally took the entire half of her house and made it into a studio because she could and she's like I know a lot of people couldn't do this but for me it's been like the best of all worlds and it's made a difference for her to have that. This is Leanne Bertram, her space in Denver. She really loved the look of this exposed brick which I do too. And she chose it 'cause it's in a district in Denver. She lives in Denver and there's this district called the Santa Fe Arts area, does anybody know it? Three people nodded and then I said anybody know it and they're like no, not at all, nope. But it's a really creative community and so she chose the location based on the vibe of the community. Not necessarily 'cause of where she lived or anything like that. She loved the interior, the warm light, the exposed brick, and she set it up like this. Where it's really cool, it's stylish. She does a lot of in studio portraits with just window light but she can add window light or light if she needs to. She can do snacks and drinks and all that sort of thing and that's her space. This is the old barn on the property bought by Kerry Gavin. They bought it because she bought an old family farm and this is a detached barn that she described as completely just run down and unusable, kind of. So they had to start again from scratch like we did with our space and really work on it. It took significantly longer than she'd anticipated to turn it into what she wanted but, interestingly enough, when you look at this she said she decided a couple years ago to just go after it. To really go after it and have her own space but she didn't know how to get there and the more she started thinking about what it meant to go after her space, very, very much like I did. When I sort of just kept dreaming. I tell people all the time. Open your mind, what do you most want? Forget any barrier, any restriction. Just what would you want? Where would it be? Would it be one of these situations? Would it be something totally different? She started sketching out ideas and she ended up finding a family farm with an external space that was a lot like what she thought it would be cool to do one day. So she found this space and she had that motivation to work on it so when you come up now it looks like this. You walk in, you come into this nice, well lit meeting area and show room space. SHe's got a area for production work, coffee, tea, all that sort of thing and when you step back out and come all the way down, this is how it looks now. They renovated the whole outside and then she has all this outside area to do all her shoots. So the meetings and everything that happen up there but they can step outside to do everything they want outside. But this idea of planning out what would optimally be best for you, I think it's so impactful and it's something we skip over 'cause we have all these ideas of, mm, one day. Is anybody here currently working out of the studio of their dreams right now or a space that they really like? No? What would it be for you? Like if you had to and I encourage people at home to give it a few minutes. Like what would it be for you in terms of if you had to think about the ultimate space for you? Give, you just saw what, 10 examples? Including mine several times, sorry about that. What do you think, like what would it be? I'd love to get a couple people saying everything out the window in terms of what I don't think I can do. What would be perfect for me? I love that barn. Yeah? 'Cause I just bought five acres and I'm excited to see ... You just bought five acres? Yeah. Where? Where do you live? Up in Stanwin. It's north of Everett. Okay, thank you, I don't know what that means either but yay! Yay, but I also like the thought of the whole co-shared space where you get more bang for your buck. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so if you didn't hear me hammer down the co-share space enough, let me do that one more time. If you are somebody who is at a point in your business where you'd like to have a dedicated workspace. You want a nice place where you can hang your work, show clients what you do, have a good place to meet, even shoot in there. Again, that part's optional based on where you live weather wise probably. If that's what you want, co-sharing is a brilliant way to go. I have been doing this now since, between the two studios, I've been doing co-sharing for gosh, six years now? And I don't know why I ever spent so much money on my own before. It's just such a smarter way to go. This last space, as you saw, we could all be in there at all the same time and we just have a share calender of who uses which conference rooms and shooting spaces first. 'Cause people have said to me well what about if you wanna do a shoot and they're in there for a meeting? Like, well I don't ever spontaneously do a shoot. THey're all scheduled, you know? So you look at the schedule, when's it open, great. Let's schedule it for that time when it's mine and that's that. So the idea of a co-shared space, so you don't have to know somebody right now. You can look at a artist community or even put out a Craigslist ad or I shouldn't say that, right? I don't know, an anything ad. I said that once and someone was like, "You know people die on Craigslist?" I'm like oh my god, no, I didn't know that. THere's this whole backstory on three things that they told me, I probably have to edit that out later, sorry. But like wherever you wanna put it out. Like in terms of putting out some note and letting people know that you are actually doing this. THere's a big creative audience there of entrepreneurs who are interested in also doing that kind of thing with somebody else and it doesn't have to be photographers, again, I'm co-working with a sports magazine and a race production center. We're not have a ton in common and you don't need to. So if you're thinking, mm, I'd have to partner with a photographer or a cinematographer or a musician. It doesn't even have to be a creative individual or a creative field. I'd strongly encourage you to consider that. Alright, who else? Who else has an idea of what the perfect studio would be? Yes. Since I live in Seattle with all this diffused light. Something with large windows and those places just look so dreamy. 'Cause I live in a small apartment and I'm like. Just something with large windows. A lot of natural light. Yeah. But the ability to welcome people in like what you said. Wait, did you say it was your home? I'm sorry. No, I leave in Seattle, I don't have a studio. So even the, you showed the man's 300 square foot space. I'm like that's half of my apartment. (laughs) And so just something that has a lot of, doesn't have to be large but just a good use of natural light. So large windows would be dreamy for me. Okay so but wait, don't sit yet. Oh. 'Cause this is the part where we lose people. And I even encourage everybody at home to pay attention to this part because if they idea is like, wouldn't it be great to have that but even that's half of my apartment. I'm gonna go sit down now. Co-share, would be the answer. Yeah, what could you do from here? Because in my workshops, the amount of times I'm sitting there talking to people who say, again, the work is there, the drive is there, but these restrictions. There's all these complications with how do I meet clients? How do I show them my work? I don't wanna carry these things around anymore. Like if I'm doing in-person sales, people carry around their prints, their canvases, the actual screen, the projector, and all that sort of stuff. If that is the solution to that is having a space of your own, what now stops you? And how do we, right now, move through that? Because I find often unless someone holds your feet to the fire and gets you to kind of figure out that next step, it can hang like that forever. It's really, really, really easy to get excited about making this huge shift in your life and never make enough actual progress on it that the decision ever occurs, right? It's really easy to be almost about to do something really cool for years. I like the idea of renting out a business space and how she just rented one boardroom. That one executive space but had access to all the amenities. So she had access to a conference center, access to a meeting space. She had access to a receptionist who answered the phone for her. Based on the line that came in. She had a post code, like a professional postal code. Like all the things that usually you would have to have your own space to do, yeah, I like that very much too. Especially if they had a lot of window light and you could deeply personalize it. So when people as soon as they walk in, they see something dramatically different than every other corporate office. Yeah, so that might be something you'd wanna look into sooner than later. 'Cause a lot of those places you can do month to month as well. Especially the corporate spaces like that. Maybe CreativeLive could have a co-share. (audience laughs) Whole new business line. Who else has an idea of something they'd love but thinks that they can't do it 'cause of X? I'm gonna be annoying and say that I don't even want an office. Well then sit back down, never mind. I know right. No, I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. You don't want an office, why? Everything is so transit right now. There's nothing keeping me in Vancouver besides family, let's just say that, so. That's good, family. They're alright. (laughs) Funny thought. I want to travel and I want to take this internationally and some so pompous and some so dream-like in a moment. No, no, that's good. I know right. Dream-like is great. It's good but it's somewhat unrealistic at the same time but I'm gonna make it. Can I pause you? Yes. Did you hear what just happened? Yes. No, really, 'cause I think that's a thread that's so common, alright, I wanna do this. I know, I know, it's not realistic. Anyway, so this is what I'll do instead. Like that's where we start to go down that path, right? I'm not saying you. I'm still going to do it. Yeah, yeah, good. Not you, he's got it all figured out, but other people like us, right? We kinda, that sounds awesome, that sounds like too much. You know? And then we just kinda shrink ourselves down. It drives me crazy when I see people do that. Like there's no reason you can't have everything you want. If you can kinda just really steadily chip away at all those obstacles, that's all you have to do. Chip, chip, chip, chip, patience, patience, chip, chip, chip. Go, back to you. That's basically what I'm doing. I'm just patiently planning and thinking about where I'm going and where are my home bases in different cities and it's a possibility so why not? What kind of work are you gonna be doing? Family photography and business head shots. Okay, so you see yourself basically coming into a market doing some shoots with people then moving on to the next market and you don't necessarily need this home base because you don't want that. Co-sharing, those opportunities for a month or so for however long and moving on to the next place. Yeah, so sailing into a co-working environment. Yeah, so co-working environment is another option. We showed an executive office share. I talked about more longer term co-sharing, but then I obviously, there's so many co-working places now. Where you can just rent a desk for a day, you know? Or a week or a month or something. That's another cool way to go.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tamara Lackey Posing Book Discount
Nations Photo Lab Discount

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This course was fantastic. I learned more on what I need to improve and change in my business. I especially liked learning how she balances all the things in her life. She is a fantastic teacher who keeps you engaged throughout the course. Thank you creativelive and Tamara for producing such a great course!


I thoroughly enjoyed this class, Tamara Lackey is an amazing individual and trainer! I loved what she said about not letting ourselves be diminished by someone else's narrow view... This class touches on many business related topics, I had many "aha" moments and feel excited and committed to tackle various aspects of my business in small steps!! Thanks for sharing so much of you!!!

Dewitt Hardee

This is a great class. Tamara is such a great instructor and the subject matter is relevant and useful. Tamara is really the key, her personality seems like a ray of sunshine.

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