downsizing Daylight Photo: the new photo studio layout

It’s been awhile in the making but we’re getting there. The production work is caught up (pretty much), the boxes are packed and heaps and heaps of items are getting downsized. Daylight Photo is getting ready for our next incarnation, instituting changes we’ve long thought about. Monday and Tuesday we’re moving the boxes and the following week we’ll be up and running at the new address.

It’s a dramatically different photo studio layout and design, going from a 4,000 square foot facility down to 1,000 square feet. We won’t have all of the same capabilities and the location won’t be as convenient for a few of our customers. Yet it’s something I‘ve been looking forward to for some time. There are a number of reasons for the move and, along with photos posted here, I’ll recap why it‘s simply time for a change.

A little background:

Our new studio is in a building called Essex Studios, a massive former textile factory. It’s also the place we started Daylight Photo some six or so years ago. The reason we called ourselves Daylight Photo is because of the massive windows we had there. Essex Studios is filled with art studios and is “Artsy with a capitol A”. Five times a year there are two-day art walks that draw a large local crowd. It also houses the American Sign Museum.

After Daylight Photo was a year old we had an opportunity to move from Essex to Blue Ash, our current studio, the one you’ve seen in the prophotolife videos. A friend in Blue Ash needed someone to share his studio and I had actually shared that space before, so it was like “coming home” in a way. While it lacked the character and vibe of Essex it was in a great location for industrial work. It also increased our capability for producing larger catalog and room set jobs, something we were interested in pursuing.

Now, five years later, we’re downsizing and going back to where we started out, back to Essex. The reasons?

1. The industry has changed. Building large room sets seems to be becoming a thing of the past and much of our work is done on location now. We just don’t fill all of that space the way we used to and computers are replacing set builders and prop masters.

2. The commute will be much friendlier. A one way trip to the studio will be cut from 24 miles down to 9 miles for me, a welcome change. No more 50 mile roundtrips every time I forget something on a weekend!

3. Our overhead will be cut quite a bit. I have to be honest, we had a really good deal on our big, 4,000 square foot space. But this downsize will cut the lease, utility and travel expenses by more than half. That’s money we’d rather put in our pocket.

4. I missed windows…daylight!

5. The location is closer to downtown and we’ll be surrounded by creative people every day.

It’s easy to see there will be a considerable savings in time and money as a result of the move. But what are the potential downsides? Well, we may lose a client or two because of the smaller studio or because of location. Is that a problem? We don’t consider it to be.

The biggest advantage of the time and space savings, though, will be freedom. Just because you have a large studio and sometimes do large jobs doesn’t mean they are necessarily fun and highly profitable. I think that’s a common misconception. Sometimes the headaches grow beyond the budget and, at the end of the day, it can seem like a beast that needs feeding. And it just seems like this is the right time to reconnect with our roots, the reasons we got involved with photography, and to lessen the business pressures.

Now we’ll be leaner, more agile and closer to the Cincinnati creative community. With less overhead we want to shift more of our energy to producing our own projects (both photo and video), rather than doing just client work. Hopefully now there will be time to grow prophotolife in some of the ways I‘d like to, also.

And, most of all, getting rid of some of the excess should help us to simplify and spend less time on the business of photography and more time on the fun and creativity that is photography. That should pay off in dividends that can’t be measured by time or money!