New Studio in Milton Keynes - Opinions Welcome

New Studio in Milton Keynes - Opinions Welcome

23 posts
17 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
So many moons ago I used to run my own studio based in my 4 bedroom townhouse... I am contiplating doing it again, this time from a luxury 2 bedroom apartment. So a real lifestyle studio... would offer 2 bedrooms to shoot from, a bathroom, a shower room, a living room and a kitchen...

I guess my question is... is there much demand for such a studio ? We're based in Milton Keynes, which as every one knows is the centre of the universe... easy access on the mainline train, or the M1...

Opinions welcome, especially those telling me what you guys (the photographers) and you girls (the models) would like in a studio...
Posted 17 Aug 2015
beaverray
Photographer
beaverray
I for one would certainly be interested as those shooting areas fit well with the type of shoots I often need to do plus MK is well placed as you say.

Posted 17 Aug 2015
marlhamphoto
Photographer
marlhamphoto
Sounds like a mate's flat with sea view I occasionally use in Folkestone. The trouble with it is you can only do so many shoots there before everything starts to look and feel repetitive. Hire rates would be key too - there's some very nice penthouse photoshoot locations available which work out around £25 an hour so that might restrict what you can charge significantly.

Posted 17 Aug 2015
Spike
Photographer
Spike
Some appartment locations do work well, though one photgrapher associate who tried a similar venture got closed down by the freeholder of the appartment block since he was in breach of several clauses in the lease.

As a side note Purestorm only allow the advertising of studios run from legitimate commercial premises, so the OP would have to find alterntive sites to advertise it.

Posted 18 Aug 2015
If it is a flat then I presume it will be leasehold so you will need to check the lease agreement, particularly if it is a common entrance. I know if I was living in a flat complex I would be less than amused about having strangers turning up all times of the day. I'm pretty sure they will not assume them to be photographers and models. To answer your question though I doubt it. We are hardly inundated with enquirers and I have A dedicated fully equipped studio that is probably bigger than your flat. True I don't really push it that much for hire but I can't see hiring someones flat would be good for more than one or two shoots for most photographers. Trust you are not painting the wall magnolia this time
Posted 18 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
beaverray

I for one would certainly be interested as those shooting areas fit well with the type of shoots I often need to do plus MK is well placed as you say.


OK Mate I will be sure to keep you informed... I have spoke with Admin on here about having a separate profile for the studio as well to promote it... so if it does all go ahead will be on here to view as well


Posted 19 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
marlhamphoto

Sounds like a mate's flat with sea view I occasionally use in Folkestone. The trouble with it is you can only do so many shoots there before everything starts to look and feel repetitive. Hire rates would be key too - there's some very nice penthouse photoshoot locations available which work out around £25 an hour so that might restrict what you can charge significantly.


I agree the location is limited to a degree, and will need a element of creativity to expand options... however I would say no more so than most studios... I stopped using Studios about 6 years ago, when I was continuelly disapointed at the scene options and space available... most studios use in my opinion clever photography to make their studios look bigger... but alas this is rarely the case, and most have very dated decour as well...

I would be very interested to see these "penthouse" options at £25 a hour... as I am always looking for locations myself, but usually find these types of places very expensive... especially thoughs in London, but they hey every thing is extra expensive in London

We would work on pricing and make it as competative as possible, but whilst also realising it does need to be profitable...


Posted 19 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
Spike

Some appartment locations do work well, though one photgrapher associate who tried a similar venture got closed down by the freeholder of the appartment block since he was in breach of several clauses in the lease. As a side note Purestorm only allow the advertising of studios run from legitimate commercial premises, so the OP would have to find alterntive sites to advertise it.


We intend to be totally transparent with the company we chose, we already have ongoing working relationships with two of the companies in MK who know what we use the apartments for Best to be up front and honest, so you don't end up getting kicked out...

And I find your comment about PureStorm only allowing stuff run from a commercial property a little weird... I did speak to PureStorm admin about my idea, and they didn't seem to have any issues with it :/ To me as long as you are running an accredited company, and we are a limited company... I don't see any issues where we set our business up... :/


Posted 19 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
immortaleye

If it is a flat then I presume it will be leasehold so you will need to check the lease agreement, particularly if it is a common entrance. I know if I was living in a flat complex I would be less than amused about having strangers turning up all times of the day. I'm pretty sure they will not assume them to be photographers and models. To answer your question though I doubt it. We are hardly inundated with enquirers and I have A dedicated fully equipped studio that is probably bigger than your flat. True I don't really push it that much for hire but I can't see hiring someones flat would be good for more than one or two shoots for most photographers. Trust you are not painting the wall magnolia this time


As I mentioned in a previous post above, the companys we already work with are fully aware of what we do... if it was a new company we chose they would likewise be made fully aware of what we do... It is my intention for the first 6 months to rent a property, then I will re evaluate the business, and if things are going well look to buy a property.

The situation with managed apartments in Milton Keynes is they really are not populated by individuals, they are mostly used by business types who travel in and out and use Milton Keynes, so it's not familys that may be dismayed by scantily clad girls running around.

Also to clarify, I am not familiar with your studio but I am sure it is kick ass... however I do feel that Milton Keynes really is a great location, as I have stated on the main railway line, 35 mins direct from London (Euston) just over a hour from Birmingham and Manchester... We're J14 on the M1, so ideally placed. The apartment would be a luxury apartment with a real fresh modern lifestyle look, offering itself to a wide and varied range of shoots... We have full Elinchrome Studio lighting, and Arri Junior lighting specifically for video... so as far as a fully equiped studio goes, we tick the relevent box's... I know there of course will be bigger places with more, for example I am friends with Chris from Unique Capture in Milton Keynes, but for the style of shoots I do, and a lot of people on here... studios like that don't really work.

We will have Canon Eos Camera's available for people who want to hire a camera, and also a Sony Z5E HD Video camera available too... We have an extensive wardrobe that the models will be able to use if needed. We will have a high speed (Infinity) internet connection, and a PC computer with full Adobe Suite available for people to use.

With two bathrooms (one being en suite to the master bedroom) and a fully functional kitchen to offer refreshments throughout the day... I think we have a pretty good location... to use a car anology, it's great having a Astin Martin, but some times a guy in a Insignia is the better driver... we have a very clear idea on what we want to do, and what we can offer... I have done this for 14 years, and I know the stuff I look for in a location... and alas to say I have rarely found it in a studio...


Posted 19 Aug 2015
Bob
Photographer
Bob
TheStudioMK

As I mentioned in a previous post above, the companys we already work with are fully aware of what we do...

Steve, I suspect your biggest problem, as you are not a homeworker but a business with visiting trade, won't be with your clients but with any covenants on the building and with the local council, who will quite likely pounce on you for avoiding business rates and breaking building use licensing regulations if you openly advertise what you're up to.

As for your location in MK, it is probably no better or worse than that of the many 'adult industy' performers, not to mention a few madams and pimps, who advertise  homes as being studios on those portfolio and networking sites which allow that sort of thing so I suspect there might not be as much trade out there as you think.

Bob
Posted 19 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
Bob

Steve, I suspect your biggest problem, as you are not a homeworker but a business with visiting trade, won't be with your clients but with any covenants on the building and with the local council, who will quite likely pounce on you for avoiding business rates and breaking building use licensing regulations if you openly advertise what you're up to.

As for your location in MK, it is probably no better or worse than that of the many 'adult industy' performers, not to mention a few madams and pimps, who advertise  homes as being studios on those portfolio and networking sites which allow that sort of thing so I suspect there might not be as much trade out there as you think.

Bob


Well Bob your making an assumption that I have some intention of avoiding business rates, not sure where you get that idea from... as I said we are a limited company and will be looking for every thing to definitely be done above board...

Really not sure how "madams" and "pimps" impact on the potential for a photographic studio either... unless your telling me madams and pimps rent their places out for photo shoots :/

I guess only time will tell, well that's if we do decide to move forward with it of course...


Posted 19 Aug 2015
Bob
Photographer
Bob
TheStudioMK

Well Bob your making an assumption that I have some intention of avoiding business rates, not sure where you get that idea from... as I said we are a limited company and will be looking for every thing to definitely be done above board...

Not making any assumptions Steve. Just pointing out that a domestic apartment, unless possibly a flat conversion above a shop, is highly unlikely to be eligible for business use rates. I know from past problems that this can be quite a serious issue, and with some councils even running a business upstairs from a shop can require change of use planning permission. Have you discussed it with your local authority?
TheStudioMK

Really not sure how "madams" and "pimps" impact on the potential for a photographic studio either... unless your telling me madams and pimps rent their places out for photo shoots :/

That is precisely what I am trying to say. There are people doing just that, including some who organise the occasional 'vanilla' GWC shoot or tuition session as a cover for what is actually going on in the bedrooms. I know of several decent photo studios, and more than a few good studio owners, that have gone out of business over the last few years because they have been undercut by these home studios which operate under the radar so don't have the same overheads.

Bob
Posted 19 Aug 2015
Edited by Bob 19 Aug 2015
Spike
Photographer
Spike
TheStudioMK


And I find your comment about PureStorm only allowing stuff run from a commercial property a little weird... I did speak to PureStorm admin about my idea, and they didn't seem to have any issues with it :/ To me as long as you are running an accredited company, and we are a limited company... I don't see any issues where we set our business up... :/

 I think it was Blingshot in N. London who had their account closed - maybe they were operating under the radar & not paying business rates - the detail of PS's policy are   in the link below - I'm not going crazy

LINK (corrected)
Posted 20 Aug 2015
Edited by Jacqui 20 Aug 2015
TheStudioMK
Photographer
TheStudioMK
Spike

 I think it was Blingshot in N. London who had their account closed - maybe they were operating under the radar & not paying business rates - the detail of PS's policy are   in the link below - I'm not going crazy

LINK



Yes I've read that and I don't see that we would be in breach of that... we are a company, that will be leasing a property from another company... the property is an apartment, not a warehouse space, we will be a registered company and will pay business rates on it... I don't get how you see this as some sort of cheat ? :/

I will however make some enquiries with local council as I don't want to set something up that a few weeks/months later runs into issues...

Posted 20 Aug 2015
Edited by Jacqui 20 Aug 2015
grisey
Photographer
grisey
For a 2 bedroom apartment i wouldn't bother steve, how many different sets can you do ?

2 x bedrooms
1 Living room Sofa
1 Kitchen
1 Shower
Hall Way

Its not going to generate alot of repeat business, you'll get guys once maybe twice and thats it.

I would look at a warehouse location or a bigger house so you can change the sets easy and build better sets every few months. Business rate's on a commerical property at the moment can be Zero as there is just loads of them sitting doing nothing or there is a 50% reduction.


Being listed here, won't make a difference as other sites have alot more traffic then purestorm now, so thats something i wouldn't worry about greatly.

Changing bedcovers, isn't changing a shoot set, Iain T does sets amazing and works very hard at them one of the few people to master this skill.


Just wanted to add *

The location is perfect, i just don't think a 2 bedroom flat is




Posted 20 Aug 2015
Edited by grisey 20 Aug 2015
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