This is the first of a mini-series of conversations about photographer workspaces with photographer Sarah Parent. No matter how much shooting you’re doing as a photographer, there is always some desk work that needs to be done like blog posts, phone calls, emails, editing, and in person consultations.
Photographer workspaces vary in expense, comfort, and convenience. Some photographers tackle their desk work in the following places:
- At home on the kitchen counter
- In a small corner of a guest room
- A dedicated room in their home
Others choose local coffee shops or co-working spaces which have become very popular in San Diego (and is a great upgrade to the coffee shop).
Finally, some photographers have a private or shared studio space reserved for shooting usually with a comfortable space for consultations and a spot for desk work.
Sarah has a studio space on her home property where clients get a full-service experience in a beautifully designed space and she has the convenience of no commute.
Give us an introduction. Where do you live and what do you do for work and fun? [00:03:16]
- My name is Sarah Parent.
- I live in the western part of Indiana.
- I live with my husband, my 13 years and 10-year-old kids, my puppy and a new kitty I found in a tree.
- For fun, we go on walks, go on road trips and play board games. When I am not doing photography, I spend a lot of time with my family.
Let’s talk about photographer workspaces. What is the situation of your workspace? [00:04:05]
- I started in 2002 and I meet people in my house. When I had kids, I built a backyard office. As my family grew things changed.
- I had an intuitive warning to have my studio space to meet client and is convenient and expand my business. So, I work in a space that is attached to my home but has a separate client entrance. There is a hair and makeup area for those who want to do portrait and there is a dressing room. I also have space where I edit and answer emails and do other desk work.
- The advantage of this is that you aren’t scrambling to pick up the place before your client comes. And the separate space from home saves you from children messing up your workspace.
How have you decorated your workspace? [00:07:07]
- I am able to display my work because I have enough wall space to display things.
- There is a couch and a chair for consultations with a TV on the wall for photo reveal sessions.
- Also in the entry, I’m able to display large pieces of my work.
You’ve had an evolution of your workspace over time. What was really important to you when it came to putting this particular workspace together? [00:07:47]
- It was important to me to have a space close to my home. I wanted a very short commute.
- I took time to do the design because it’s been a long-term dream.
When you have client consultations around summer time when the kids are around riding their bikes and doing the kid things, what are the rules of engagement here? What are the boundaries? [00:08:39]
- I’ve been doing photography for their whole lives so I trained them up well so that they know that if I’m meeting with a client, then they should not disturb.
- When they were little they did some disturbance but now that they are grown, they know they should be well behaved. My 13-year-old son cleans my studio for me now.
- But my puppy and kitty are pretty more difficult to handle. Some of my clients are animal lovers while some have allergies for them so I know my clients and adjust to their needs.
Among the things that you need to do as a photographer, do you find yourself moving your laptop from one space to another within your studio space to do work or do you have a steady routine where you do all your task? [00:13:42]
- I have a desktop and I stick it in one place and everything is set up the way I want. Within that space, I stay on my desk when I want to do digital office tasks. The studio space is very useful in trying out different lighting setups so that I could try out any creative idea that I have without going very far to secure a location.
When you outsource your photo editing to us to do the color corrections, what are some of the things you do instead of doing the edit yourself? [00:14:38]
- I’m able to do more photo shoots and able to spend more time with my family.
- It’s a real saver for me and my stress level is lower. I can meet more clients and do more things that I really like to do.
How would you describe the task of color correcting a wedding picture by yourself? Is it something you dread or something you know you can do? Do you find pleasure doing other things than that? [00:16:43]
- For me, I started shooting weddings when I was shooting films. I never really liked to handle the film processing. I just preferred using the negatives to create enlargements in the dark room.
- I can perform color correcting on pictures but hiring a photo editing service has helped reduce my workload.
Is there anything that you wish that you could change about your workspace? [00:18:59]
There’s not a whole lot I would want to change but I feel if I may have done my wall a little differently to change my display of things but then if I had to do it over, it probably wouldn’t change much. I just feel I need to spend some little more time rearranging things on the wall.