Creative Shooting Spaces
So, we're super excited to move on to photographing pets next. They're gonna bring their awesome Italian Mastiff in to photograph. But before we do that, I want to talk a little bit more about in the camera room, the studio and some of the posing we do with dogs. Really quick, there's an image of our current studio. What it looks like. We've got a window light I can shut to make it dark. And then we have strobes, which I'll be shooting with today. They're not all set up the way I would have them, yet. But I shoot with one or two strobes. That is what I've done since, honestly, day one, for 20 years. I use photogenic lights. We've got some Profotos today. And Larson softboxes, which I'll bring up the contact information there in a little bit. But the one thing I wanna share with you that I'm always careful about because we happen to have this bowling alley we renovated into a studio, so it's 7,000 square feet. I absolutely am not up here saying, "Go do that." You know. It's a lot to hav...
e that overhead. And a lot of what people do, you can do on location, in clients' homes. Not that there's anything wrong with having a studio, but you can get creative and still have studio space without taking on that lease. And some of the ways that I have done that, and you can too, is relationships. I've talked about relationships with your clients, but that's also relationships with vendors. That's relationships with other businesses. So, that can mean anything you want depending on your type of photography. When I've wanted to do dog mini-sessions, that means teaming up with the little doggy hotel by our house. And we've shot mini-sessions in their location. So, they give me the location for free. They're excited. They promote it to their clients. The home store that I talked about earlier, where I'm able to photograph, use their furniture, use their couches. They also sell some of my fine artwork. And so, there's client. Definitely, like, new clients. That's how I started my business in Minnesota. I mean, I was starting fresh. I was a total newbie. I didn't have, you know, the 15 previous years of my clients, who were repeat clients. I was starting fresh. I was getting clients calling, "Hey, will you do this for $25." You know, it was like so frustrating. And so, really for the first couple years I didn't even tell people I was a photographer. Like when I was meeting new friends and things 'cause I didn't want to deal with it. It was easier to fly back to Illinois, shoot sessions for my clients who knew what I did. But the last couple years, I'm like, no, I kinda miss it. Like, I wanna shoot some more. So, I made a relationship with the store. We bought furniture from them when we moved into our house. Started talking to the owner. Super, like, excited entrepreneur himself. Like, yeah let's see what we can come up with together. I think it's getting over that fear of, like, what if someone says no. You know, people ask, "How do you get displays?" "How do you get, you know, to sell your work or to use their space?" A lot of these people, they're just entrepreneurs, too. And they're looking for ways to share the love and to work with each other. And to grow their businesses. So, just a couple weeks ago. So, here's the store that I have some artwork in and that I'm able to shoot in. I shoot four or five different sessions in there a year. Everything from little Mom and Me sessions to Pups on the Patio. He has a little outdoor patio we use. To, we just did a holiday session, which these are some of, like, behind the scenes. Literally, I show up at his place. It changes every month. So, I have no idea I'm gonna be shooting. So, the couches are rearranged. I pick a couple areas I want. I set up my studio lights. And we have a studio. I, also, can set up backdrops in there. Like, he's fine with that. So, I could shoot it as a more traditional studio, as well. And he usually sets out, like, wine and cheese and it's like a little party. Like, we did it during a "fall festival", we called it. And I was shooting all day while clients were still coming in and shopping. He had a cool wall with all these neat fabrics hanging on the wall and so I just made that one of the backdrops for the family. This one was kind of fun. This has been a few years since we did this, but a local coffee shop. I decided to do something called "mugshots". And we, literally, just had advertised that I would be hanging out there after school one day and, like, different people would come in. Some of them with their coffee mugs, or get updated Facebook shots. Like, it was just a quick, simple thing. But then, we created, and we gave them those files. I was just there a couple hours. But then we created this fun little gallery wrap that hangs in their coffee shop. So, you know, just kind of think outside the box. If you're, you know, a wedding photographer teaming up with different florists, wedding venues, people who would have the same clientele. This one, the warehouse, is back in Illinois. So, we don't currently do this, but we did this for probably 10 years. It was amazing. Literally, went to an area of town that just had a bunch of empty warehouse space. Beautiful to shoot in. But wasn't being used for anything. I approached the owner. It was like a couple hundred bucks a month. I had access to, like, four levels of a gorgeous warehouse. Gorgeous lighting. Similar to what we shot in earlier. And I left couches there, furniture there. I mean, that paid for itself, you know, a hundred times over. So, I'm able to shoot outside the warehouse, but actually had the key to go in and shoot inside the warehouse with this lighting. So, to have that location, like, pretty low-key. There was no lease sign. It was just, like, a month to month thing. Few hundred dollars. So, again, it's just that getting creative and not being afraid to ask. Oh, and then I talked a little bit about Pups on the Patio. So, that's at the same store that I have the shoot on the couches with, but they have their outdoor patio. And we, literally, like, leading into photographing, you know, dogs that we're gonna be doing right now in a little bit. That was a fun way, like, every 15, 20 minutes people showed up with their pets and we did fun sessions using their outdoor furniture Super easy. Super fun. And then, the big thing is the clients you get from that. So, yeah, they're coming in maybe for this mini-session with a dog, but then they see your work and they've worked with you. They love you. We talk about selling that experience. And like, "Aw, man, I need to come back with my kids." And so, it's not just about photographing the dogs, it's the business you can grow from that. And the relationships you make with that.