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How to rent a photography studio

If you’ve never rented a photography studio before, it can be intimidating. What all goes into it, and how do you prepare for your first studio photoshoot session?

On the flip side, once you get familiar with renting studios and spaces for your photoshoots, it opens a whole new world of creativity! A studio is a perfect space for you to design sets, experiment with new concepts, and make your clients comfortable.

In this post, we’re going to chat alllllll about what it’s like to rent a photography studio for your own photoshoots or productions, and how you can prepare!

Behind the scenes of a photoshoot. A photographer is showing the back of the camera to her client. They're at The Sunlight Space.

1. Read the studio's website

Most of the time, studios for rent will have all the information you need already listed on the website. Things like pricing, availability, amenities, and location are generally displayed on the home page or on the booking page.

Once you’ve reviewed the reservation page, if you still have questions, contact the studio owner!

2. Tour the space (virtually or in person)

Browsing the photos on the studio’s website should give you a good idea of what the space looks like. If you need an even better idea, check to see if they have a video tour somewhere on their website or social media.

Another great place to look is the studio’s Instagram account. For The Sunlight Space, I have video walkthroughs saved as story highlights.

Behind the scenes of a video production at The Sunlight Space in Los Altos, CA.

3. Budget time for setup and teardown

How long you need for setup and teardown will depend on:

  1. The size of the studio

  2. The complexity of your photoshoot or production

If you use a lot of gear or are creating an installation for your production or photoshoot, I recommend 20-30 minutes for setup and 20 minutes for teardown.

If you are just taking lifestyle photos and using only 1-2 lights, I recommend 10-15 minutes for setup and 5-10 minutes for teardown.

Now, for those of you doing something more complex like a floral backdrop, balloon installation, or more, you’ll probably need a few hours for setup. I’d recommend looking at an all-day rental so you can get the most bang for your buck, and to maximize your time spent photographing your beautiful setup!

4. Communicate with your client

The first thing you’ll want to decide with your client is, who will rent the studio?

If you want to provide a white-glove service, I recommend that the photographer rent’s the space. You can add the cost of the rental to your invoice with the client, but be sure to upcharge 3-5% for payment processing fees.

However, having you as the photographer rent the space can be logistically challenging in the event of a reschedule. If you’d like to avoid this, you can have your client reserve the space and have them forward the confirmation to you.

As a photographer myself, I have done this both ways, and I handle it on a case-by-case basis.

If you as the photographer are booking the studio, you should share any relevant information with your clients.

Things like:

Parking - Is there a meter? Street parking? Any rules? How far is parking from the studio?

Access - What floor is the studio on? Is there a door code? Is it accessible? Are there stairs or an elevator?

Amenities - Is there a bathroom? Does your client need a steamer or a clothing rack?

5. Schedule

It’s very important that your client(s) are aware of the length of your photo session, not the length of the rental time. Let’s say you have a 1-hour session beginning at 2pm. I recommend renting the studio for 1.5 hours. But, you don’t want a 1-hour session to turn into a 1.5-hour session! This is what your schedule would look like:

  • 1:45pm: Photographer arrives to set up

  • 2:00pm: Client arrives, start session

  • 3:00pm: End session

  • 3-3:15pm: Client and photographer pack up. Follow studio check-out instructions and lock up!

Wrapping it up

I hope this was helpful for you in preparing to rent a photography studio. If you have any questions about what it’s like to rent a space, feel free to leave a comment or DM me on Instagram!

how to rent a studio for your photoshoot

how to rent a space for your photography session


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