I’ve been needing to write a blog post about all that’s been happening but it’s SO much it’s hard to get down. I’ve also been feeling ALL THE FEELINGS about this so that’s held me back too. But today is the day my friends – kick back and catch up with what’s been happening around here!
1. We have a new studio. YAY!
I love my current studio. It’s small and cozy and has amazing natural light. It took almost no prep to get it to look like I wanted – just some white paint – so it was easy to move into. It’s been perfect. Mostly.
At first I was just thrilled to have such a cute space. Then I started to feel cramped. I have one shooting space there so to do a newborn we are constantly putting together and breaking down sets. Mini sessions make me want to scream because TOO MANY PEOPLE and families are nearly impossible to capture in there. BUT I’ve searched and searched and kept coming up with no other good options. Because what I love MOST about that space is the location. It’s 2 minutes from my house. I could walk if I wanted to. It’s in WEBSTER where our whole life is and I like that. I’m proud that Chris teaches at the high school and I run my business there. So when I had to start expanding my search area into Maplewood, the city, etc. I started really missing Webster.
Then one day Holland, my new friend I feel like I’ve known my whole life who owns The Novel Neighbor bookstore in my building, mentioned that the space below her was going to be for rent. Kim and I peeked down there one day before a session and OMG it was funny. The then business owner had put a note on her door saying she’d be back in 5 minutes but since I didn’t know her I was afraid to go in and just look at the space. SO Kim crept in there while I kept watch at the door! It was really SO funny. As Kim tiptoed inside she suddenly went “OH! WOW! OHMYGOSH THERE’S BRICK” which caused me to run in!
The new space is amazing. It’s HUGE first of all which means no more building and breaking down sets – SO NICE! Secondly it’s IN THE SAME BUILDING so YAY for awesome location! I love our landlord – he’s been super nice and supportive. I love having Holland there. Did I mention how BIG it is?
Of course with size comes rent. And OH LAWDY did the rent jump up. A thousand more dollars a month actually. The first year. Climbing a bit each year for our three year lease. YIKES. SO literally as fast as I fell in love I realized there was just NO WAY I could rent a space that cost more per month than our house. Chris said NO WAY. My mom was freaked out for me too. No one thought it was a good idea except Kim who kept giving me new ways to bring in extra income with the bigger space! Love her!
I called my friend and business manager, Tricia, and said “please let me take you out to lunch so you can tell me NOT to get this studio.” We met for lunch. I dumped all my ideas and thoughts and fears onto the table in front of her. It was one big heaping pile. And knowing how intimately she knows our finances (or NON-finances as they usually are) I just needed to hear the big N.O. from her to make it final.
Instead she said yes. YES.
She took my huge pile of dumped ideas, grabbed one and told me she thought we could make it work.
WE. WE COULD MAKE IT WORK.
So that brings me to #2.
2. Tricia started a new business called Fresh Art Studios.
Her idea is that it’s a HUGE space with 3 separate and distinct shooting areas (built by my amazing dad and Kuhn Const.!) which would be awesome for ANY photographer (that knows how to use studio lights b/c it’s a basement space with no windows) and I’m only in there a few times a month so why not rent it out the other times! It was an idea I had tossed out but she basically said that I would be AWFUL at renting out the space because I’d have to deal with contracts and all the boring crap I make her do for me anyway. I’m bad at numbers or any kind of business speak. She’s awesome at all that stuff though!
Also please consider renting our studio! And when I say OUR I mean OUR because we are SPLITTING THE RENT. Which is why I can afford to be there.
Anyone could rent this space. It’s amazing. Photographers – anyone. Even kid/family/newborn but I think it would be extra awesome for wedding photographers who don’t have a studio space to do boudoir in. I also think you could rock out a senior in there. It would work great for commercial photography too. I will be rocking out the little people of course!
But you could do yoga in there. Or have a class. A book club or a Bible study. There is so much possibility.
Which leads me to…
3. We started a monthly class called The Fresh Art Studios Speaker Series and I am SO excited about this you guys.
The idea stemmed from the fact that I can’t afford workshops. Never have and never will probably. There is only ONE person I am dying to learn from and it’s not because she’s awesome at what I like to shoot (she does weddings) but her business is run SO well. Anyway, I will probably never meet her though because if we have an extra $1500 it’s going to the house, the kids, etc. and not to a workshop.
AND I don’t think learning everything from one person is even that good of an idea. I want to sit at the feet of a lot of photographers and business owners to get ALL their opinions and ideas. I also want to spread it out a little because 2 days of intense training means i might actually retain like 25% of it maybe?
Let me say that I am NOT knocking workshops. For some people they are awesome. I just know myself and it’s not how I want to learn.
SO the Speaker Series was born.
The idea is that a panel of 3 photographers and/or business owners will talk to a group of 20 people in a Q&A style. It’s not about using your camera. It’s not about how they got that one great shot. It’s not about editing or any of that. It’s about the BUSINESS. You could be the most amazing artist but if your business isn’t running well you’re going to fail. I think the business side is where most new photographers struggle the most or even those of us that have been around a while.
People in attendance can ask any questions they want and have 3 amazing professionals give their honest opinions, ideas, thoughts, etc. And each month will be different. Here are some of the topics I hope to cover this year…
Weddings, Newborns, Seniors, Family, Boudoir and Kids – general. General meaning we will cover a wide range of questions.
More specific topics I want to cover is Portrait and Wedding PRICING. I feel like pricing is such a huge topic I want to have two whole nights dedicated to this so we can really dig into actual pricing. Panelists will be required to share ALL of their pricing.
I want to talk about social media and marketing one night. In-person sales. How to run a successful associate photographer program and studio. We will have a night dedicated to not-for-profit work (this one will be free!). A night for wedding photographers to talk about second shooters maybe? Births? The list is really endless.
And of course some BIG topics like Newborns might have a repeat night if it sells out fast. We are limiting it to 20 seats so that everyone has a chance to ask questions and talk.
OH and my mom is catering each event so YUM and of course there will be alcohol so YAY! HA!
I really think the Speaker Series is going to be amazing. We are asking the best of the best in our area to come speak and so far they’ve said yes! It’s going to be amazing. And if you came to EVERY SINGLE ONE all year long you would still be spending less than what a lot of workshops cost. Plus you’ll be making friends and getting to know other photographers in your area. I am SO excited.
I will be speaking at the Newborn night so make sure to come to that one at least! HA!
So that’s it in a very long nutshell. Life is good. Stuff is changing. Fresh Art is growing. And if can even believe it – I’ve done all of this the last month on NO SODA! HA! It’s truly a miracle.
If you aren’t ever going to hire me to take your photos and if you aren’t a pro-tog that will come to the Speaker Series and if you can’t ever just stop by to see the new space please at least pray for me… this is a HUGE step and while I’m making light of it, I’m terrified. It’s a big step financially and change is always hard. Pray that I just keep it all together or if you’re optimistic please pray that the new space is a huge success! I’m too nervous to pray that right now.
More details about the first April Speaker Series tomorrow!