One of the main considerations when hiring a photo studio is budget verses the clients brief and their expectations. As a photographer, it is important that you know what you are hiring is suitable for the job otherwise things can go badly wrong and cost you the client or your profit margin. Once you commence with the shoot, things need to flow smoothly and according to the time restraints of the booking. You will need to set up, direct and control the shoot from start to finish, taking the clients brief and required tastes into consideration.

Step1: Getting Organized

Have a clear check list of what you need to bring along to the shoot. Cables, batteries, lights etc.… and make sure your camera gear is charged and ready, with a fresh and formatted card able to store your images safely. Once you have done your research regarding the studio of choice, this will automatically become mere formality. Not having the correct plugs, as an example, is a small thing that can end your shoot before it even starts, so be thorough.

Step 2: The Studio

When quoting for the photoshoot, make sure you ask your client for a detailed shot list as well as a mood or story board as to the nature and requirements of the shoot as this will assist in determining which studio to book the will meet their brief. Consider the studio size for range and composition, as well as the lighting, natural of flash that will provide the result you are aiming for. Lighting is a little trickier if you are used to shooting with natural light, so make sure you are confident as to the way the lights operate as well as able to set up accordingly to meet the mood, look and feel. You cannot edit the mood, look or feel in post, so do your homework upfront.

Many studios offer lights and backdrops, enquire if this is included in the rental, or if you need to make allowances for additional rental of such gear. Besides the lighting, ask what diffusers and soft boxes accompany the lights as well as reflectors that you might require. Backgrounds might also be required for your shoot, so make sure you have the rolls of paper or fabric, as well as the stands to compliment the shoot.

If shooting fashion or people, a changing room with a makeup room is necessary for makeup and wardrobe. A decent size dress rail is necessary to hang clothing once the items are unpacked or steamed for the photo shoot. Enquire about the bathroom to ensure it is clean and hygienic, as many public studios fail to mention that these are common areas to the entire building or floor which is generally regarded as unacceptable.

Finally, free and fast WIFI, as well as a loading bay and a kitchen area is important for both security and convenience for your large shoots, where the client, or a large team is going to be present for the duration of the photo shoot.

Step 3: Be early to Set Up

To avoid pressure, make sure you are at the studio before the client arrives. It is important to have the opportunity to unpack and familiarize yourself with the space. Set up and test the lighting and get the space ready before hand and according to the brief, whether product or other. Again, make sure that cables and batteries are charged and plugged in and everything is ready to go. Set up your computer and make sure the connection is ready for tether. You are then good to go.

Step 4: The Client comes first

Make sure that the client knows where the studio is located and where to park or unload. From the time the client arrives, they need to feel comfortable and confident with the overall photo shoot. With all in place, you are now ready to delegate and start. Make sure they are well seated and spaced out accordingly for safety and security and the bathroom is clean. Likewise, the same with the kitchen area, as clients will require a suitable space for refreshments during this time. Coffee and tea is good to have onhand, otherwise make sure you can direct them to a close by coffee shop.

I trust this short breakdown is helpful to all those photographers, as well as those clients that require studio space for their photoshoots.