Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Professional Rental Studios
From the economic advantages to the benefits of good on-site support, DPP recently spoke with a number of veteran studios to get the inside take on renting the right studio space
Delzell jokes that still-life photographers are often the most demanding. With all the items and props they have to carry with them, they're the ones with the biggest bag of tricks. He says those are the photographers who tend to really need access to the little things. Whether it's a piece of bendable wire that can hold up a subject or a small wedge, they want to walk into a space and know that it's owned and run by a photographer who understands the demands of the photo world.
RIGHT: West Loop Studio, Chicago
“And the demands are quite high,” adds Delzell. “You don't get to say, ‘Oh, well, we'll finish it up tomorrow.' You have to be able to come in, complete your job and do it professionally right from the start. Having the studio staged properly, having equipment to rent if needed, is essential. We've worked with everyone from Annie Leibovitz to Richard Avedon and Bruce Weber, so we've had a lot of experience and learned over time how to support people.”
From basic daylight studios with no production support to facilities with all the amenities, equipment and on-site assistance you could need, studio spaces run the gamut. If you don't have the benefit of direct experience with particular studios, ask for referrals, do some reconnaissance. Find out what studios have to offer in all the major markets and cities, so when opportunity comes calling, you'll know exactly which studio is right for the job, the client and the budget.
LEFT: Studio 27 in Miami offers two studios in several configurations, with Studio A having one of Miami's largest four-way cycloramas designed for cars, sets, group shots and fashion.
Getting The Right Assistant
Roberts agrees that service is important, even down to lining up the right assistant. Let's say a photographer flies into town for a fashion shoot, but bringing his or her usual assistant to Los Angeles would have been too costly. Roberts will gauge the photographer's personality and needs for the shoot, then recommend an assistant from his list of personally selected freelancers, making sure the assistant's personality, experience and goals are a good match. He wouldn't put an assistant who wants to be a still-life photographer with a demanding, high-energy fashion photographer.
To Roberts, it's details like this that make a huge difference, because having every one on the same page not only helps the photographer have a successful shoot, but the assistant is learning what he or she needs for achieving his or her own goals as a photographer.
“An assistant and a photographer are very much a team,” explains Roberts. “You have to be able to play well together. Some photographers need an assistant with a little bit thicker skin who isn't going to take being barked at personally. You need both the personalities and sensibilities to match up. As long as an assistant is continually learning, they will stay continually interested and be a great benefit to that photographer.”
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