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Nikky LaWell opened her home to host her workshop “Refining and Operating a Home Studio” on Sunday, May 22, 2022. She shared how she communicates with her clients before they come to her personal home for their photography session. Good communication sets expectations, avoids confusion and adds to the experience. Maintaining good records and staying organized keeps the business running smoothly. Posting mantras and reminders to quickly refer to while answering phone calls is a great daily visual. A workspace with a purpose helps keep the work flow running and avoids distractions, and a design board keeps the creativity flowing.
(L-R) Megan Murray, Douglas Burns, Aric Hoek and workshop host Nikky LaWell discussing how to manage using your home as your studio space while keeping your business professional.
Nikky shares how she has a variety of backdrops hanging around the room on rails to make every spot usable while still displaying her artwork for clients to see in the oneroom studio. Walls painted different colors within the room helps with glare and provides additional backdrop options. A variety of seating is available for consultations with potential clients and also serves as props to help with larger family photo sessions. She has created a family portrait that included twenty-two members in this room, demonstrating that being creative with posing and lens choices allows flexibility and opens many possibilities. Her favorite lens is the 24-70mm, although she also really enjoys photographing at 105mm.
Nikky shares how she has several backdrops installed around her studio room to maximize every wall. She states that everything in her studio space must have a stated purpose.
As a mother of a college student, her home studio adapts to her family needs. The bed in the middle of her studio is a temporary addition for this summer while her daughter visits to spend time together during the summer. This does not close down her home studio, it opens other possibilities such as outside photo sessions or taking the studio to corporate locations to accommodate clients who prefer to have photos on location.
Having the bed on wheels allows mobility and greater possibilities for different types of clientele (i.e. boudoir or lifestyle). Light stands can be used as a clothes rod and a modifier helps give some privacy while keeping photo equipment out and easily accessible.The dresser holds albums to share with clients at a moment’s notice. Stacked stools in the corner create an interesting table that holds a bouquet of flowers all within reach. Nikky shared how different poses on the front porch using different angles creates different backdrops and textures for a variety of looks that clients can choose from. Using the outdoors for certain looks provides variety in her portraits offering natural light which contrasts her studio portraits. She invites clients to feel comfortable in her home by giving them a small tour upon their arrival showing them where they can help themselves to beverages and snacks as well as the bathroom.
Nikky shares how she keeps her business going with a home studio even when her daughter returns home from college for the summer (hence the bed in the picture :) .
In addition to showing us nooks and crannies throughout her home to help her keep her home photography business organized and flowing, Nikky surprised attendees at the end with a packet of information that included highly recommended books to further your business, many phone scripts, important questions every photographer should have an answer for “at the ready,” mantras, examples of how to create our own posing binder, as well as suggesting we keep a binder with business proposals for a quick reference. Attendees shared networking ideas with each other throughout the afternoon. The workshop was a conducive environment for sharing and growing your personal business while building friendships.
Review and photos by Cari McFarlane