Our featured photography studio this month is the beautiful space that is owned by Rialee Photography located in Fargo, North Dakota. We love her modern style and hope that you are inspired by her space as well. We are pretty sure you will be drooling over the light!
Hello and thank you for inviting me to be a part of your studio tour. I am happy to tell you a little bit about myself and my studio space!
I started my photography business, Rialee Photography in 2007 and worked out of my house for one year. This was great during the warmer months, but living in Minnesota, there were only about 4 out of the 12 months that we could count on for decent weather. Which meant I was forced to move my sessions into my living room. My own children were in school all day, but I was doing daycare for two other children at that time (I had quit doing child care full-time in my home the year before to pursue my photography business.) So I would schedule my sessions for naptime at my house, which meant me frantically trying to clean up lunch, lay the babes down for a nap, rip everything out of my living room, and welcome the clients looking all refreshed and relaxed. Then as soon as the session was over I would rush to put everything back together before the kids woke up and my own kids walked in the door from school. I’m exhausted just remembering it. I actually can’t believe I lasted a whole year like that.
I knew I needed a space that was away from home when I found myself constantly glued to my computer and missing out on family time. I have a difficult time relaxing and hanging out when there is work to be done, and there was ALWAYS editing to be done. So I would edit late into the night, on weekends, whenever I could get a free minute. I needed to be able to leave work at “work” and enjoy being at home with my family again.
I have to admit that this space was the one and only I looked at or even considered; as soon as I saw it I just knew it had to be mine. It was in a historic downtown building that had recently been renovated and with concrete floors and walls and AH-MAH-ZING windows and light, it was like a blank canvas. I quickly convinced my husband that this was going to happen and went to work at securing a business loan. My landlords paid for the entire fit-up, which was like being a kid in a candy store for me. I got to design the entire place from scratch, from deciding where to put walls to how I wanted the shelving arranged in the workroom. Signing that five-year lease was one of the scariest moments of my life, but I as I approach my five-year anniversary this summer and I can now confidently say that it was the best decision I could have ever made for my business.
Welcome to the Rialee Photography studio!
The style of my studio could be described as modern with touches of industrial. I’ve worked very hard to create a brand as well as a space that is cohesive with my style of photography. I really love the exposed duct work, and concrete pillars mixed with the clean lines of the modern white pieces. Most of the furniture items I purchased at IKEA, and I am always on the look out at flea markets and antique shops for unique re-purposed items to add to the space.
Clients enter the building on the mail level and use an elevator or stair case to come up to the second floor where our studio is located. They arrive into our waiting area, where the kids have a chance to play and relax, and I chat with the parents about ideas for the session. I want the space to feel welcoming and relaxing, yet fun for both the children and their parents. A cute little story about that… there was a family walking down the hall on their way in for a photo session with me. Their four-year-old daughter looked looked through the glass doors into our studio and said, “Mommy, when we are done with our pictures can we go in that store to play?” Imagine her delight when her mommy opened the door and told her that this WAS where they were getting pictures taken!
After trying to do everything on my own for the first couple of months at the studio I quickly realized that a nervous breakdown was imminent unless hired some extra help. This is Michelle, my office manager hard at work. She handles all of my email and phone correspondence, scheduling, order placing and packaging, invoicing, bookkeeping, studio cleaning, errand running, … you know, everything! Two years ago, I started an associate photographer division of my business called Tiny Sprout, so she handles all of those tasks for them as well! I couldn’t live without her. Seriously.
The hallway heading back to the shooting area serves as a little gallery of my work. Again, a modern looking space with the green sofa adding a touch of vintage.
The shooting area is at the back of the studio and has both east and north exposure. It is difficult to shoot in there earlier in the morning when the sun is burning through but by about 11AM, the lighting is even and perfect.
The prop closet… something I added to the design at the last minute and I can’t even imagine if I didn’t have a space for all my junk! It easily could have been twice this size. I definitely need to have a prop de-stash sale very soon!
Between the shooting area and my office is the workroom/kitchen. This is where we store all of our marketing and packaging materials, orders coming in, and orders ready to go out. Oh, and our lunch too.
The last thing on the tour is my office. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I come into work that THIS is the space in which I get to work every day.
Ok, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my studio tour. Thanks for letting me share my space with you!
Do you have a beautiful photography space? Contact us for details on how your space can be featured on I Heart Faces!
Ria Czichotzki owns Rialee Photography, located in Fargo, North Dakota specializing in modern photography of babies, children and families. You can view her beautiful work at her website or on Facebook.