Posts Tagged ‘studio

26
Nov
12

A Busy Time of Year in the Studio

Given that the lead time for portraits to arrive is around 4 weeks, November is always going to be a busy time of year. Add to that, the fact that a lot of portrait experience vouchers sold in stores expire in December, a larger number of family bookings can be expected around now.
My diary for 2012 has been fully booked for a couple of weeks, and I am now taking bookings for January and February. On the other hand, there are still a number of cancellations due to sickness, especially for the sessions for babies.
This last weekend was a particularly good one in the studio. I set a target for sales during each weekend, based on my business plan, and I had achieved that target after my first three appointments on Saturday. After that it started to go a bit pear shaped: my next appointment had cancelled because the baby was sick and the one after that decided not to turn up.
On to Sunday, and I had four sessions booked. The first one made a £10 deposit on a £50 order, the second one wanted to go away and think about the order, the 3rd cancelled, and the fourth was late, but, I was glad to keep the studio open for them as they placed an order of over a thousand pounds! This just goes to show that people do have money to spend, and that I can take sale able photos.
So all in all a mixed bag, but good overall results, and time to celebrate with some Prosecco!

06
Oct
12

Why i am so happy to work in my studio

The studio has been open three weeks, and its absolutely brilliant.  It is a joy to come to work here, and I wish I had found this place months ago.

Before, when travelling to peoples homes, not only did I have to carry all my equipment and samples, but the amount of uncertainty I faced was amazing:- would there be a place to park my car (hopefully, without being clamped or getting a ticket), how much space would there be (from a purpose built studio in one house, to four people living in a single bedroom with no room to swing a cat), where would I put my light, how would I show them the images (nice modern TV I could plug my laptop into, or would I need my projector).  Now I have a place with easy parking, three rooms to work in: a reception to get to know my clients and to find out what styles of photographs they want, a studio to actually take the photos, and a viewing room to show them the pictures afterwards.

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And of course because I am operating in my studio the lights are already set up, and I just need to make minor adjustments during the session.

On the negative side, my overheads are higher, but that should be equalled out with higher average orders.  Also I have to clean up after my customers.  Anyone who has had a baby will know how messy they can be! It also astounds me how many mums don’t think twice about wheeling their wet, muddy pushchairs onto the carpet.

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One of the nicest things for me is that if I have a cancellation, then I can get on with something else like accounts or photo editing or even updating this blog; whereas, when I was on the road, a cancellation invariably meant dead time.  Having said that I am finding the studio has a slightly higher no show rate than home visits.

Another great thing is being able to take family portraits, something that was quite hard to do in people’s homes.  Now I have the space to do this, and also it makes available to me certain national marketing campaigns, that weren’t available to me without a studio.

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Now, I am starting to market the wedding side of my business, and if I get 5 or 6 weddings next year that will be fine, because realistically there is more profits in family photos than there is in weddings.

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14
Sep
12

My studio opens it’s doors tomorrow

Well, it has taken 4 1/2 months; but, finally, tomorrow morning I will welcome my first customers to my new studio. I think it was back in January, that I first wanted to stop doing home visits, and to be based in one location.  On the one hand, I will have a lot less parking tickets, fuel bills for my car, i will have access to family shoots and other national marketing campaigns; on the other, my customers will be harder to come by, as one of the advantages of home visits is the ease for the Mum, having the photographer come to her home, and its a lot less stressful for the baby.

So then I started searching – although there is a lot of empty space around, empty good quality space is harder to find, especially at the right price.  Rents in this area range from £12 to £40 per square foot.  Anyway I was lucky enough to find a place where the rent was almost reasonable, do-able certainly.  Of course the place needed to be redecorated, re-carpeted – then I needed to buy display images, furniture, etc.  Having put together a plan, i decided that I would have my first sessions in the middle of September, and hopefully earn enough in sales to meet the first 3 months rent by the next quarter day.  The decorators were great and were finished in 6 days, then came the carpet layers – not bad, and I have managed to get them to give out some vouchers for studio sessions.  Then Lance came in  and sanded and sealed the floor in the studio, itself.  British Telecom came and installed a phone line and broadband, i will give them 2 stars, the phone line still isn’t brilliant, but workable.  The Flash Centre in London were brilliant supplying the lights and modifiers, direct from the factory for some items, which were out of stock.  The UK distributor of Fatboy beanbags redeemed themselves, and I got what I wanted in the end.  Loxley’s also redeemed themselves after an expensive SNAFU, their customer service department has promised to put things right. SignsExpress who fabricated and fitted the signage have been really accommodating – the manager turning out to do fitting when there van was broken into and tools stolen outside their depot. The staff at Barrett and Coe head office have been fantastic:- Dominic, has been efficient and effective, Caroline has pulled out all the stops to get things in the right place at the right time, and finally, Elaine’s advice and counsel has been thought provoking and so useful.  There’s still a few last things to sort out, but I feel ready to go tomorrow.

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01
Apr
12

Another record month!

Well March was, again, my best month yet – record number of sales, record sales volume and my largest order yet.  To make it even better, I only got one parking ticket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With regards to hunting for a studio, I have decided to re-work my budgets, and am now looking for a property in the range of £10,000 per year.  Still tough to find somewhere of a decent size that ticks all the right boxes, but it does give me more options.  I looked at a likely property recently, that used to be a solicitor’s office.  The landlord is returning it to a bare shell condition, so I have made an offer.  The space is just over 600 square feet, and on the ground floor with street access.  It is among a small group of shops in an affluent suburb, not far from Kew Gardens.  The landlord is away on holiday at the moment, but I hope to hear if my offer has been accepted in the next week or so.

01
Feb
11

Spencer

Spencer - my first sitter

So, I had just finished setting up my impromptu studio in the car park, when I spotted Spencer heading back from buying his Sunday newspaper.  I tried out my sales talk on him, and lead him to the chair where I wanted him to sit.  I think he was slightly bemused by the whole experience; but, well done Spencer, you were my first sitter!