Come on in, my doors are open!
Every time I dreamt of having my own studio I would always envision it being at home within a space ample enough to house everything I needed such as backdrops, lights, a couch for clients and of course a desk to work from. I've always imagined home studios to be a space where you'd openly invite clients, which sounds invasive because you are inviting them into your life not just your home where you live. But I really think home studios offer something more than the usual studio space. Home studios are different to studios on the high street not only because they are less commercial but because they have a sense of home purely based on where they are situated and although you are inviting your client to your personal space it offers your client an experience of familiarity, security and a relaxed atmosphere. Your client feels this the moment they step through the door and naturally makes them feel at ease. A relaxed client is the best scenario, your studio isn't the place for stress and anxiety! No one wants to produce tense and uncomfortable shots.
I feel so lucky to have my studio 20ft from my front door. It seems apparent now that committing to a home that needed lots of love and care was the best decision. It's because of this I now have a space I can call my own, I call it my Studio. Although it's not physically in my house it still feels like my home but in a more professional sense. As well as having amenities for my clients such as a bathroom and of course a hot drinks machine! I wanted to make a space that was comfy for my clients to come and relax in. So we created a comfy area that my clients could make themselves at home. Obviously, not every studio has the space for this little luxury but luckily we were able to offer it and make it happen. Many clients who bring their babies and children simply chill out on the couch, enjoy a beverage and maybe a cheeky biscuit or two! They hand me their babies and they get some time to kick back.
The main area of my studio is built up with essential equipment such as backdrops, lights, props, a fan (wind machine), heaters, a huge bean bag (most certainly the biggest I've ever seen), a shelving unit full of blankets and other fluffy things for the babies. Props are a huge deal when it comes to Newborns and Baby Photography - previously mentioned in "Picture this.… My first blog". Some parents like props such as baskets and buckets. Some prefer the simplistic approach in which case the blankets are perfect. I have all sorts of colours and textures, enough for every taste. The huge bean bag is ultra safe and is loved by Newborns and Babies because it's so comfy for them.
It also retains heat well so is to keep the babies happy and settled. The bean bag is also fabulous for children because it's really fun, children love to lay on it and be silly, which in turn makes for great fun smiley images! I also have an ever growing collection of smaller props such as flowers, headbands, hats, socks, material wraps, and even a tutu for fun creative times.
Before I know it the shoot is over and now it's time to start editing the images. Every shoot has its own unique editing time and keeping in contact with the client at this time is important. I feel it's key to give my clients updates with regards to my progress. Once all the editing is complete, I invite my clients back to the studio to view their imagery. At this stage, I like to think of my clients as returning friends which make the occasions even more joyful. I absolutely love showing my clients their images, nothing makes me happier than to see their reactions, nothing beats the look of pure love for their children, it's just a great all round experience. This is why you will always see a box of tissues at my studio, just in case one gets emotional!!
Viewing images at my studio is a relaxed affair and more of a social gathering. We often enjoy a cup of Tea or Coffee while looking through the images. I encourage clients to pick out their favourites and we pop them into a "favourites" file to review at the end when we discuss sizes and different products. I have a wide selection of products available to suit every type of home from traditional frames to contemporary frames, to luxurious canvas pieces. It helps that I have quite a large selection available to view at the studio so every client can see them in the flesh rather than on a screen or in the catalogue.
Once the final decisions have been made I place the order with my award winning printers, Loxley Colour. They are absolutely brilliant and the best for printing and handling images. I wouldn't trust anyone else to handle my imagery. I then wait for the order to be delivered. This usually takes up to two weeks and can heavily depend on the time of year and the size of the order. Christmas is especially busy but still a good turn around. Then that exciting day approaches when everything arrivals and clients return to pick up their order. It often gets emotional again when they see their finished pieces and this warms my heart, perfect feedback for a job well done!