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Co-op Photo Studio
Old 06-23-2008, 05:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I may have a good deal on a strip mall space for a photo studio. Space is 1400 sq ft and like a lot of strip mall spaces - empty. Anyone have a set of plans for a studio setup? I have a couple from Amphoto books but any additional info would be appreciated. I'm also thinking of opening it up as a co-op with a few other photographers to share the cost. I know this is done in larger cities, but I don't know of one in the local area (32561). If anyone is interested, give me a shout.

Thanks in advance for any info,
Doc
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 06-23-2008, 06:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Doc,

It all comes down to how and what you want to shoot. You start with the basic dimensions of the room, not the square feet. 20x20 or 5x80 is the same square feet, but decidedly different in suitability.

Then what type of background do you want? Sets, seamless, canvas, cyc?

Then size of subject matter: H/S, F/L, groups, bikes, cars, boats, planes? Glamor, brides, children, pets, commercial?

Dressing rooms, prop and costume, lighting storage, Sales, consulting, production, bathrooms, etc.
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 06-23-2008, 10:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey Doc, have you ever seen one of the Gulf Breeze UFO's?
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 06-25-2008, 08:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Doc;
This is a great idea cos we started ours over 3 yrs ago. There are 4 of us involved in this venture. We have 2 male and 2 female in our co-op. Biggest thing is you really have to like the folks you get involved with. Everone puts stuff (eq, lights, back grounds ect...) in the space. This is a small town and rent is pretty nice our space is a little over 1200 sq feet and rent is 350.00 per month. The guys in our group pay 150.00 per month. Understand that each of us have cell phones or we use our home number to set up appiontments, even if 2 of us booked same time frame we have places out side the shop to photo at. We have a park across the street, railroad tracks, all kind of brick textures, so if one wants to start in side the other will start their session outside. I also came across a (personal friend now) place in a town next to ours that has a water garden with waterfall that we can use to shoot seniors, engagement couples,family. The biggest thing is our co-op is out to help each other, its great to know that you have some help with a wedding or event shoot. That works as long as the members in your co-op know that there is no money involved when we all work together. Exp John did a fund rasier for his church and we had 5 photo's there to help we did over 225 family session in a day and half. Church made over 4500.00 for their youth camp fund. It was good exp for those that had not done that kinda of work. There is so much you have to think about, its not just about the space and what goes into it. E-mail me at croho@yahoo.com if i can help with any questions.
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 06-28-2008, 03:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, Cliff -
Since this is a forum for sharing information, I'll reply here rather than via your e-mail - if that's OK with you. That way maybe more people will consider a co-op studio as an option. I'm surprised that it's not more common. I have a few questions you might help me with. I think that your number of members is about right - is your group closed? Do the members vote on new members? Who signed the lease and how is the payment made? What about security - do you take the more expensive equipment home? I'm going to poll some local 'togs on a couple of other sites and explore this further.

Any info will be appreciated,
Doc
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Studio One Pensacola
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 06-30-2008, 09:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok;When John and i decided to do this, We went to a local bank and est a bank account in both of our names. Since i am retired i set the place up getting the light, utilities, and rent est, its all in my name. We are open to about 6 members right now like i said we have (4), If we are looking to put a new person in we all have a meeting to meet the new photographer (He or She) with their wife or husband. Each of the members do have a key to the location and on the 1st of the month, each of us will put our check in a location i will look and deposit the money in the account, Now the Checking account with all the bills paid deposit slips and check book is left in a secure location that all have access to. Everthing has to be open and above board, Trust is a big factor in a co-op. Lets say Judi wants to see where the money has been spent she can look at the paperwork.Now take in to account that no money is spent out of account unless alll agree we need to purchase something for the co-op. Of course the only money that is taken out of the account is the monthly exp. Everone keeps the most exp stuff with them.
I owned a studio in town for over 11 yrs and a lot of the stuff i have is in the co-op. Each member will put some stuff in the space and eveone uses it. Ever one knows that they can not set up shop in the building The space is really just a space all can use. We have a sign on the front of building that says by appiontment only. We each have a sign in the window showing who is in the co-op. Each photography company John edwards photo, Cliff;s Creative Photography, Judi Reid Created in the image of photography, lol cant rem Scarlets business name. We, all run our business from home phones and cell phones. One thing that just came to mind is what if a member want to leave the co-op, Well, you can just pull your stuff out, and turn the key in, now you say what about the stuff co-op bought we will pull all the invoices on all items and in our case div by four and co-op and buy the person out that wants to leave.
We as a group started out setting the monthly money for each member at 200.00 per month, which is still a good deal for the indv wanting a studio this way co-op will grow with afew extra bucks. After several months the co-op can pay for everone's membership into the state Photo assioc(ours is GPPA), Well, monies got tight so we dropped the fee to 150.00 a month, our exp each month is about 425.00 that is all the exp our co-op has.
I am glad others have started looking at this form of business its a win-win plan for all. This just meens more money in the end, it is costing you less to do what you love.
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 07-08-2008, 12:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great Idea Mike, I did this in ATL for awhile, had monthly members and day passes available for others, it worked great, be careful w your gear though. Have an "owners closet" set up so you can lock your gear up. If you do set that up, let me know I will share the word w local photogs and on the rare times I need a formal studio space, I will rent it from you.

For me in ATL, it grew into a prop biz, (which I sold to one of my assistants) an eqiuipment rental biz (also sold to an assistant) and a production house, since visiting photgs would look to the studio to refer models, etc, so think about all that you might be able to provide and charge for, hit up your local film commission also. J
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 07-08-2008, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cliff -

Thanks for ALL the detailed info! I'm including what you provided in a prospectus for others who may be interested. Nice not to have to re-invent the wheel...

Thanks again,
Doc
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Michael Smith Photography
PO Box 573
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32562
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www.michaelsmithphotography.biz

Studio One Pensacola
103 W. Intendencia Street
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Re: Co-op Photo Studio
Old 07-08-2008, 04:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jeffery -

Wow! I've admired your work for years and didn't know you were on Glamour1! This may work out with all the empty commercial space (much of it new) up and down Hwy 98! I mean, how many nail and tanning salons can this economy support? I've looked at several places and some are perfect - the realtors just haven't offered the right rent yet. Since this is a very speculative proposal, I don't want to get tied into a long term lease going in. You are the first to show any interest - which is not a good sign. What I'm actualy looking for is studio space for me - I'm outgrowing my house and if others want to buy into it then that would be great. I'll keep you posted.

Doc
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Michael Smith Photography
PO Box 573
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Studio One Pensacola
103 W. Intendencia Street
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 712-0639
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