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How to set up your own photo studio

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<>EQUIPMENT. Buying mid-priced equipment is more practical than getting cheap ones in the long run, Guerrero says.

Ong likewise advises against buying everything right away. “Start small. Just buy the basic equipment, it can do a lot already,” he says.

STAFF. A photo studio doesn’t need a lot of employees. You can have one person taking care of bookings and payments, and a studio assistant who handles and takes care of studio property like equipment and add-ons. For full-service studios, graphic artists could be of great help in postproduction.

RENTAL OR SERVICE RATES. Your price points, for studio rental or packaged services, vary according to target clientele and the quality of services. For example, you must be able to provide first-class services to high-end customers in exchange for hefty fees.

CONTRACT. This document must state in full detail the privileges and responsibilities of those renting your photo studio. “Accidents happen, so it’s the person using the space that’s responsible for the equipment. We are protected by the contract,” says Guerrero.

Aside from liabilities, a good part of the contract must also explain the concept of kill fees, demanded from clients who cancel reservations at the last minute. Pioneer Studios learned it the hard way: Guerrero estimates that in one year alone, the company lost roughly P1 million due to cancellations. You may ask a minimum of 50-percent reservation fee from clients to serve as security bond in case of no-shows.


CHECKLIST OF BASIC EQUIPMENT

-Two to three flash sets with triggers

-Light stands for each flash

-Standard and/or advanced reflectors

-Sturdy tripod

-Flash modifiers (reflective umbrellas, softboxes, snoots, barn doors, beauty dish, honeycomb grids, and gels)

-Backdrops



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