Hello! Thanks for featuring my studio space on I Heart Faces, I’m honored! Where to start….
A little history, perhaps?
I’ve been in the photography business on and off since 2000, and I started my own business in June of 2009. I told my husband that I would only be shooting outdoors and on location…but as summer turned into fall…which quickly turned into a frigid Minnesota winter, I started shooting indoors more and more often. I would kick my family out of the house, push aside my kitchen table, and set up backgrounds and props in my dining room. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked! I had great light using my kitchen sliding door! But using my living space as a studio took its toll on both my family and my floors (they got soooo scratched up!).
By late 2010, I had convinced the hubs to let me build a dedicated studio space. We live on 6 acres in the country, but are zoned for residential…therefore, the studio space had to be attached to the home. Which left us with very few options. We decided to renovate our 3 car garage into a 950 sq ft studio (and don’t worry, part of the deal was that my husband got a brand NEW garage 30 feet off the house).
Honestly, this was the best decision I’ve made for the business…if I had to go back to using my dining room, I would find another job! Since having my space, business has boomed and sales are higher. I am able to market to high school seniors now (which I felt awkward doing before, knowing they would be ‘posing next to my fridge’)!
- I purchased 90% of my props at ‘occasional sales’ and ‘second hand stores’…I live in Buffalo, MN, and they have some pretty amazing shops and antique stores out here.
- I have slowly but surely been narrowing down my ‘specialties’ and currently only photograph newborns, families+children and high school seniors. No weddings, no extended family shoots. It’s bliss.
- I hired 2 part-time employees (they each work about 6 hrs per week). One gal does some editing/packaging, and the other one does all of my ordering sessions. I love them both dearly, and will cry if they leave me! Bonus: I don’t have to sit on the computer until the wee hours of the morning trying to get everything done.
- I try to make a client’s visit to the studio an experience…and engage all the ‘senses’ (ooh, I sound so hippy-dippy right now!). Smell: a scentsy warmer so the studio smells yummy. Taste: I try to keep snacks and water bottles in the dressing room. Sound: the radio is always playing a fun mix of upbeat music. Touch: I start my sessions by giving the clients a deep-tissue massage. Clothing optional. I’m KIDDING! I didn’t know what to say for touch…I guess there are lots of comfy pieces of furniture to sit on?? Okay, I’ll stop with the ‘fun facts’.
The everything room is pictured at the top. It’s the Waiting/Ordering/Snacking/Napping Room. This Target couch gets a lot of action ;)
View of the outside entrance to the studio…the land on the side of the studio is where I do 90% of my outdoor sessions.
Prop Room. What can I say? I like my props! My dad built all the shelving, as well as my packaging desk…it’s so nice not using my kitchen table to package things up anymore…I was always getting food on those boxes!
View into the waiting room/kids play area…sometimes it’s hard to pull them away from that bucket of toys!
Shooting space. I designed one half of the room to utilize natural light, and the other side I use studio lighting. As you can see, I use a mechanical 3-roller background system. I bought it used from another photographer, and can’t find the same model…but there are similar ones out there. I love using it! I also painted one wall a ‘mustard-y’ yellow color, and use that as a background quite often. Much prettier than boring old white! Another handy ‘invention’ is that white PVC piping you see in the picture. I put a beanbag under it, and drape fabrics and blankets over it and clamp them to the sides of the pvc. It works slick! And I take it apart and store it in the corner when I’m not using it. (Find the instructions at Hello Location.)
I had to share my ‘organizer on wheels’! I constantly found myself setting my camera on the floor, and nearly stepping on it…so I knew I needed a special ‘camera shelf’. My dad is pretty handy, and he built me this rolling cart…it has edges around the top so that my lens/camera doesn’t fall off! I love that I can move it around if needed.
Product display desks…the white one I use for holding all of my popular newborn/family products, and the yellow table holds all of my senior samples.
The dressing room…sometimes when high school seniors go in there, I don’t see them again for hours…kidding :) But they do love their mirrors…oops, forgot to get a shot of the mirrors!
‘Aerial’ view of the ‘everything room’…as well as my client bathroom. Clients have to walk through my mud/laundry room to use it, but the rest of the house is closed off. I’ve trained my kids to stay away from that bathroom when I am working! We actually saved a ton of money by using the garage, since we didn’t have to build a separate bathroom…which would have meant digging another well, etc.
This is a rough layout of the studio…we changed a few things before we started building it, but I thought it might help some to see this blueprint. I did a swap with an interior designer…she helped me re-arrange my layout from a garage into a studio, and I did her family pictures!
This concludes the visual tour of my studio…Thanks for letting me show you around!
Kelly Klatt began her photography career after getting her feet wet at the world-famous Proex Portrait Academy. After years of working for other studios, she made the jump to running her own business and absolutely loves it! Her home/studio is located about 45 minutes northwest of Minneapolis, and her clients are always quick to remind her that she lives ‘in the middle of nowhere.’ You can view Kelly’s beautiful work on her website or follow her on Facebook or Pinterest.