I don’t know if you know this but up until 2018, I had a “day job.” I was building my photography business, and working a marketing day job.
I loved it. And it was a lot.
Even though I was a side hustler, I joined a photography studio downtown with a handful of other photographers. I still remember when my boss found out that I had a studio space, and he was confused. At the time, I didn’t have any intention of leaving my job (and it would be years before I would!), but there were a ton of reasons why having a space was still a huge advantage.
I’ve been aware of how many photographers there are in Sioux Falls from the very beginning when I moved to town from a small town in Iowa. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot! And from the perspective of a potential client, we can start to look the same. As photographers, we notice things like editing style and posing techniques, but often clients don’t see those things.
What clients do notice, however, are things to do with experience. If you can offer a great experience, clients talk. Being able to offer a studio space as an option to meet clients for a consult or shoot a session made me stand out from all the other photographers in town.
We don’t know a ton about what makes your website rank well on Google, but we do know that Verified business locations are “more likely to show in local search results across Google products, like Maps and Search.” (source) I never felt great about putting my home address as my business address for everyone to find, but when I joined a studio space I happily used that address instead. My website has great SEO, and while there are a lot of factors at work, I think this definitely helped.
Photography equipment can pile up really quickly, especially if you’re still deciding what area you want to niche to and are photographing a little bit of everything. Having a studio space gave me a safe place to keep a lot of my equipment so it wasn’t taking up space at my home.
There are a lot of amazing things about having a business, but it can also be a little tricky to separate it from your personal life. Having a studio gave me a clear separation of work and home. It also made it easier to avoid meeting clients in my home, which I preferred at the time. I knew that the studio would be clean and beautiful whenever I went to use it, as opposed to my house where I’d need to do a mad dash to clean up.
South Dakota winters are…long. Having a studio is a backup plan that I would argue is necessary for most photographers in the midwest! I knew that if I didn’t have a warm place to shoot photos during the long winters, I’d be missing out on a lot of money. Having a studio allowed me to create more income consistency during months that would typically be slow.