Is the traditional photography studio dead?? Yes and no. And let me tell you why. . .
I have an actual physical studio space. This is pretty rare these days for photographers. “Back in the day” when I was a kid (in the 1970s and 80s), most people went to a photography studio for professional portraits. Maintaining a studio space with lighting, backdrops, and props was (and still is) pretty costly, so only people trying to earn their living solely from photography did portraits and had studios back then. Now, with the affordable price point of a decent digital SLR camera and the capabilities of computer editing software, a lot of photographers who would have been hobbyists “back in the day”, are now charging for their work and taking portraits using existing light outdoors. The consumer thinks this is fantastic because they can get updated images of themselves and their families at a lower price point since the hobby photographer has less overhead than the pro. The experience feels more relaxed to many, expecially those with children. No need for them to be quiet and still (which is not really in a child’s nature anyway), so they can run FREE!! As a result, studio portraits aren’t as common. Even the established, “big name” chain studios from my childhood are closing their doors.
There’s nothing wrong with the new way of doing things, nothing at all. I love a good outdoor shoot! People may think I’m crazy for having opened a true brick and mortar photography studio in this day and time, but I did it anyway. The creative possibilities of doing studio work were just too fabulous to pass up. I’ve been in my current space a little over two years and it’s a little slice of heaven for me. It’s a place where I can be my true self, explore my creativity, and push myself as an artist. Yes, I can play with studio lighting, and that’s a good fit for some clients. I can also do softer images using natural light in my studio as well and we can play inside no matter the season or weather, which is a real plus. No rescheduling sessions due to rain or snow or heat or cold. Plus, boudoir sessions are MUCH easier in a studio than outdoors or in a hotel room. Although, I will do boudoir on location as well because that can be a great artistic choice.
I think for my clients, though, my studio is simply a place where “magic” happens. Portrait photography “magic” is that point of connection between photographer and subject where both parties are open and vulnerable. Beautiful portraits and artistic images are made in this magical space of connectedness and trust. Now, I can take that magic out into the world during location photo shoots no problem, but my studio is my wellspring. I always need to come back to it. I need it for myself creatively as much as for any business purpose. I walk in every day and take a deep breath and SMILE all the way down to my soul!
As luck would have it, about the time I thought I was outgrowing my special place, I have been given the opportunity to expand! This is both exhilarating and terrifying. The terrifying: Now I have another project on my plate at a very busy time in my business. I have additional overhead. I have more area to clean, furnish, and maintain. The exhilarating: I also have the chance to make this already magical place EVEN MORE AMAZING for my clients. More magic???? YES, PLEASE!! So, sticking with my 2017 promise to myself to let go of perfectionism and get stuff done, I’m taking this leap and getting this new space ready as quickly as I can. The overall awesomeness can be tweaked more later on. I’ll keep you all updated on the progress on the blog and social media. When it’s all done we’re gonna have a party!!!! Woohoo!!
So, no, the photography studio experience is not dead. It is very much alive. It’s undergone a significant transformation since the groovy “double exposure” days of the 70s and 80s and it’s ready to rock your world! I’d be thrilled to share my modern portraiture experience with you whenever you’re ready.
P.S. I went with the less than perfect cell phone shot of my studio because of that whole “2017 is the year of letting go of perfectionism and get stuff done” thing. I’ll snap a new one with “the good camera” one day, soon. Promise!! It will be even more glorious and wonderful after this studio expansion and makeover is complete 🙂
Our Thoughts on 2017: Do It Now (or the dinosaur might get you)
When your “I really need to do this” list gets so big that you can’t ignore it anymore, it can be like a big, scary dinosaur chasing after you! (Although this one looks pretty tame, you get the point.) Our mottos for 2017: “Do It Now.” and “Done Is Better Than Perfect.”
Most people don’t realize this, but the photography business is maybe only 10% photography! The other 90% is the “business” part: accounting, marketing, administration, as well as social media postings, keeping an updated website, and BLOGGING. The way I have avoided blogging, you would think it was either illegal or fattening. . . . Ha! I have loved to write ever since I was 7 or 8 and got my first diary, one that locked with a tiny key. So, writing didn’t scare me. Why was I putting it off??
My new website was also a project that got stuck for months while I tried to make it perfect. It’s not perfect, but it’s DONE and it’s good enough for today. Tomorrow I will make it better. JUST DO IT and GOOD ENOUGH are going to replace “it’s not perfect yet” in my mind in 2017. It’s much cooler to have an imperfect, but slightly more updated website than one that doesn’t reflect the current state of my business at all.
So back to the dinosaur story . . . My daughter and I procrastinated on this senior photo shoot so long, that we almost missed the chance to include this image in her yearbook on her senior page. Thank goodness we still got it done. This was her dream photo shoot . . . Jurassic Park with dinosaurs. I made it happen. Barely. I had to push her to set a date and I had to push myself to get it done. It wasn’t perfect or how we had exactly envisioned it, but we did it anyway and it was pretty darn cool. Much cooler than if we had let time slip by and done nothing. And thank goodness I could get my favorite graphic artist to turn our image into art quickly! (So grateful for the mad skills of The Retouch Diva!) There’s never a perfect time for anything if you really think about it. There’s only now.
Any other perfectionistic procrastinators out there who can relate? I think the biggest procrastinators are the men and women who won’t exist in photos because they want to lose weight or workout first. They have a million photos of their kids, pets, and spouses, but very few of themselves. I’m guilty of this as much as anyone. I promise you, your loved ones want to see you exist now and forever in images. Not photographed since high school or your wedding? That needs to change! And for goodness sake, PRINT OUT THOSE PHOTOS! Remember floppy discs? Our CDs and flash drives will be obsolete at some point. Prints last for decades or more. Do it now!! I can’t wait to see what my daughter’s kids and grandkids have to say about her Jurassic Park photo shoot one day!!!
Are you procrastinating on updating your own portraits on the wall or putting off trying a beauty or boudoir session because you have a million excuses why you think you don’t deserve one or think you don’t look good enough right now? Or maybe procrastinating on something else that means a lot to you like eating better, exercising more, taking time to smell the roses, spending more time with your family, learning something new, checking items off your “bucket list” . . . . Don’t put it off. Not doing what you really want to do or need to do just clogs up your mind with junk that just bogs you down in “lack of action land” even more. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Don’t wait for the planets and stars to align. Don’t wait for the anxiety to subside. Take that leap of faith off the cliff and you’ll grow wings. Hmmmm . . . maybe that should be the title of this blog instead??? “Take the Leap”? “Grow Some Wings”? Never mind. This is good enough 🙂 Hitting the “Publish” button before it’s too late!!!