Since all the broncolor equipment arrived in July last year, it has really been a life/career changing period. One thing it has forced me to do is totally re-assess my career and how I can capitalise on the new resources provided by broncolor to project my career forwards. Of course the first thing that comes to mind is all the different ways that I could possibly use the equipment for my own photography shoots but I found myself stuck in the mud in certain respects as I had all of this fantastic brand new equipment, but I was not able to use it unless I was renting out a studio or shooting on location and that usually is funded by clients hiring for projects.
I realized I had to get a studio, a proper space which I could have unlimited and free access to, I could use the broncolor lighting to its full potential and work over extended periods. Starting the studio has taken around 3 months from conception to the opening and needless to say I learnt a lot from the experience and in this post I hope to share as much of the new knowledge I have gained, with you.
The process began with forming a business plan, one thing I wanted to avoid is the story I’ve heard so many times of photographers who start their own studio because things are going well and within a year have to close down and are left with crippling debt, particularly in London where rent can be outrageously high, a few slow months relying on only your personal clients to fill the studio could spell disaster. You will have great times with lots of work, but I can guarantee you, you will also have bad times, where you will need to be strong and have good support around you.
In order to reduce the risk of failure I planned to open the studio as a brand new private limited company called Putney Studio, the business primarily operating through instant online bookings act as the main method of income to sustain the studio. I believe to survive as a photographer it's important to diversify, obviously those fat pay checks from dream projects are the goal, but in order to be successful and withstand the test of time, you need to form multiple forms of income through your photography and knowledge, you will also want to think about diversifying your revenue streams for example image licensing, teaching or renting out your equipment when your not using it.
By far the longest process of the whole experience was searching for the correct property to lease, which took roughly 2 months. I managed to bag myself a great loft space in Putney, central London to begin planning my new studio, and once all the paper work was done, things began to move very quickly. A few days after the space was officially mine, the studio build began, we had to turn what was a dreary office into an inspiring space to produce photos. We worked tirelessly over a month, and by we, I mean my trusty builder Jerome worked tirelessly over a month to do all the interior fitting, painting and construction of the whitewall.
Once completed I used the Siros 800 L to light the space for the interior photography shots. By bouncing it off various walls and ceilings I was able to produce an even light with barely any shadow, and by shooting on tripod and moving the light all around the studio I was able to create a series of images that I could composite together to create a seamlessly clean shots of the studios interior with little to no shadows. I used the Siros for all of the photography that I had to do for the studio website. Since using it for this project I have absolutely fallen in love with it and it is now my favourite light to work with. The ease with which you can move it around and set it up made me totally forget all my OCD cabling and meant I could just roll around the light on a dolly stand and get all the images I needed very quickly with no need to running cables through the shot or wasting time about how to hide them or photoshop after. On top of the practicality that has been designed into the system, it still does what broncolor lights are born to do, produce immaculate light.