Photo Studio Yes or No?

In the world of global digitization, is having a photo studio still a necessity?

Let’s talk about it together.

I am writing this article at the dawn of a new year, 2022. It sounds futuristic indeed: if I look back to when I was a boy and I imagined 2022 I was thinking of flying cars, strange clothes to wear, very high environmental sustainability and spiritual evolution at its maximum level. And instead we have social networks and pandemics.

But one thing needs to be deepened: a topic of discussion more among photographers than clients, is the now anachronistic concept of having a photographic studio at all costs for the wedding photographer.

Let’s think about it.

Having a studio can be convenient to use as an “office” where you can organize appointments with customers, show photo books, perhaps act as a passive showcase (if on a very crowded street in a very populous city and, possibly, in high-rise neighborhoods), or be useful for side services to the wedding one such as couple portraits, family, children, newborn, pregnancy services and so on.

All true, but how much does it cost?

Let’s imagine it in Rome, the city where I usually work in addition to my beloved Tuscany: considering a useful space of at least seventy square meters, divided in customer reception, editing and posing room, it costs in middle-class areas, around 900 euros per month. That’s right, 900 euros a month.

Add a series of collateral costs such as water, electricity and gas utilities, furniture, alarms, air conditioning and heating systems, external sign and much more. Every month, having the only certainty of spending around 1,500 euros for a studio that is not always full of paying customers, especially in these times, is a big negative point.

They are certain outputs for at least 18,000 euros a year.

A wedding photographer is forced to charge a sum ranging from 250 to 500 euros on the final service cost in order to keep his studio open.

The couples enter the studio on average three times: the first for the quote and touch the albums, the second for signing the contract and the third to get the printed pictures and albums. And to date, as the Pandemic has accustomed us to, these are all actions that can be carried out via video call on any free video conference platform (Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype to name a few).

Web contacts (direct message on social networks, email, Whatsapp) are increasing dramatically and people’s free time is less and less.

Finally, a trend that is becoming more and more popular and that comes from overseas, is to be invited directly by couples of future spouses to their home: the couple is not forced to move from home, the photographer is not obliged to running a studio and photo albums can be shown equally, especially if you have the good taste of having one or two and it is automatically an inspection of the first location that the photographer will see: the bride’s house.

During the wedding services, then, the studio cannot remain empty and therefore must be closed to the public and the same goes for any other commissioned work on location.

So i realized that it is probably not so essential to have a studio on the street but, on the contrary, not having it at all allows greater sustainability for the photographer and an important saving (or a non-increase in prices) for the end customer.

A wedding photographer is forced to charge a sum ranging from 250 to 500 euros on the final cost of the service in order to keep his studio open.

For me, who travel constantly between Rome and Tuscany, it is no longer an indispensable investment but, on the contrary, a binding one. One of the advantages of this job, choosing the free profession, is to be able to manage time in the way that suits me best and with a studio in charge, everything loses the sense of freedom.

How am I living my profession, especially after the arrival of the Coronavirus?

Applying minimalism in every possible field: I closed and returned the keys to the office I used to meet customers in the center of Rome, above Piazza Di Spagna area, I dismantled the pose room I had in Tuscany in almost 5,000 meters warehouse and I returned to a freedom of movement that was unthinkable before. Me and my Mac, me and my Sony. I have everything, because photography that couples like so much is in my head, in my hands.

We are artisans, let’s never forget it.

Hand prints pinkish - Michele Belloni Tuscany Wedding Photographer

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