A Photographer’s Guide to Coworking
Photography and Coworking; and unsuspected synergy
If you’re a freelance photographer, you know that you only get one chance to make a first impression on prospective clients. In a field where much of what you do feels like wizardry until you show the final product, clients are likely to judge your skill by more superficial measures—things like the studio you’re using, or how much equipment you have lying around.
Unfortunately, your average client won’t know a $500 DSLR from a $1500 one, and if you’re meeting on Skype with the kids running around in the background, you might as well throw any airs of professionalism out the window.
There’s nothing wrong with running a low-budget operation out of your own home, but some clients want a bit more formality. If they’re trusting you with their wedding photos, they’ll rest easy if they feel as if you’re a professional.
The easiest way to convince clients that you’re as good as your website makes you look is to meet in a studio. In their eyes, it doesn’t matter if you own the place; what matters is that you’re working out of a professional-looking office, and that you know how to use the equipment around you. That alone puts you in a tier above the average hobbyist photographer.
But who would rent a studio just to use it as a meeting space? That’s where coworking spaces come in. As coworking grows nationally, there are more and more spaces that are designed especially for creatives and freelancers. It wouldn’t be a stretch to find one that offers a photography studio, or at least that houses fellow freelance photographers. Meeting in a workspace with other photographers lends some legitimacy to your business.
You might be wondering what you should do with your newfound coworking space when you’re not using it for meetings. It’s true that this could be a problem; coworking isn’t necessary for everyone, and it would be inefficient to rent an office solely for meeting with clients.
But a good portion of your work still involves sitting at the computer, whether you’re editing photos or fishing for prospective clients. If you’re going to be working at a desk anyway, it can be refreshing to get out of the house and work near other professionals, especially if they’re in your field. Just because you spend a few days shooting doesn’t mean that you can’t be present for the majority of your lease.
While it’s true that leasing a coworking space might not work for every photographer, if you’re serious about the business, there’s a good chance that it’ll work for you. Leaving the home office is a breath of fresh air, and the image you’ll give off when you meet clients in person will pay dividends in referrals down the road.