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New Digs: a studio redesign - PPA Today

New Digs: a studio redesign


Approaching a studio redesign can be a daunting task, but for Gayletta Tompkins, it was definitely time for a change.

After 10 years in business, Galetta Tompkins, CPP of Nederland, Texas had outgrown her studio space and was in need of a redesign. With the help of fellow PPA member Jerry Bryan, M.Photo.Cr. of Carlsbad, California, she took on a complete redesign her studio. Stephanie Boozer spoke with both Jerry and Gayletta about the process and here is some of what they had to say:

A Few of Jerry Bryan's Key Points to Consider When Approaching a Remodel:

  • Determine if you can afford to purchase your own building or space. About 8 out of 10 of his clients wind up purchasing a building to capitalize on the equity potential. If you can't afford to purchase, shop around for a long-term lease that is more cost effective. Because of the economic downturn, many photographers are opting to do the best with what they have, and Bryan can help optimize home-based studios as easily as larger spaces.

  • Establish a firm budget and stick to it. "When photographers call me, I send them a care package and find out what their financial situation is, and whether they are able to even make a move. They've got to be able to qualify for relocation."

  • Pay the money for professional design services. "Many photographers have outgrown their space, but they aren't sure what steps they need to take. This is where a professional can step in and at least set the course."

  • Establish a firm start and end date. "We do turnkey operations, so there is a beginning and end to every job I work on. Photographers tend to procrastinate. If they don't have a deadline, they'll never get finished. That's where I come in to manage the project."

What Gayletta Tompkins Learned:

  • How handy are you? Tompkins' husband was able to do a lot of the demolition and some of the framing, which she estimates saved her about $50,000.

  • You know what they say about first impressions. Gayletta's Photography didn't have the elegant, professional feel that Tompkins felt really represented her work. She removed the awning, beefed up the exterior with brick, splurged on elegant entry doors, and swapped out her maquee-sign with an updated electronic sign. She also changed her logo from simply Gayletta's to Gayletta's Photographic Studio & Gallery.

  • Less is usually more. Tompkins' walls were so full of dimly-lit portraits that clients couldn't get a good idea of how a large print would look hanging in their own homes. She greatly reduced the number of hung portraits (which also highlights frame samples) and focused spot lighting on each portrait for drama.

  • A little privacy please. Tompkins' sales areas were originally separated by lattice walls that provided virtually no screening or noise reduction. These were replaced with more permanent walls for more private consultation areas and screenings.

  • Show big to sell big. Tompkins' sales associates were presenting images on 19-inch monitors. To really wow her clients, she created projection areas for a much larger viewing, generating a much higher response.

Read Stephanie's complete article online here.

Hear more about studio redesign with Gayletta on Monday, June 8 in her webinar
WOW Your Clients with a Studio Makeover.

Image ©Gayletta Tompkins (

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on June 3, 2009 4:08 PM.

Vital Signs: How to Win the Balance Act was the previous entry in this blog.

Free Webinar: Enhancing Images While Saving Time is the next entry in this blog.

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