Co-op photo studio?

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MikeGates

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Has anyone ever had any experience with a co-op photo studio? A friend and I recently rented some studio space, but there is a much bigger space available. Seeing's as we're both amateurs, and brand-new to lighting and studio work, we can't really justify the cost of the bigger space on our own. So... We're considering trying to get enough local photographers together to try to share the expense...

Has anyone tried this? Any caveats or tips?

Thanks!

Mike in Alaska
 

doughowk

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We're in the discussion stage of forming a photography co-op. First step, we announced our intentions to area camera clubs members (amateur & professional); and received about 20+ responses of which over 10 attended 1st meeting. We're now at stage of determining what form of co-op to create, a for-profit association or non-profit co-op ( we may do both with the for-profit handling various business ventures). Both types need registration with the State.
Your studio co-op would probably appeal to both professional photographers who need an adjunct to their on-site work, and amateurs who are getting into portrait or figure study. There is possibly a local affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America . Since forming a co-op is a big step, you might just announce studio space/time for rent.
 
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MikeGates

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Thanks, Doug. That was the kind of feedback I was looking for.

I think what we may do for now is closer to what you suggested. We are going to move to a space that is in between what we have now and the huge space that I want, but I think we'll be in touch with the local high school & college photography instructors and students to see if anyone wants to rent space & equipment by the hour--we've pretty much come to the conclusion that you put forth that forming a co-op at this stage is a pretty big step. The big space we looked at was several hundred dollars a month, which was just too much to consider at this point, since we are both amateurs and still learning our lighting. At less than $300 a month we can get the medium-sized space and make a go of it. If we can find any other local photographers or students to use the space when we're not, and compensate us for its use, I think we'll be able to skate by without going broke.

I really appreciate your reply, and I'll check out that PPA thing you mentioned, and see if anyone is listed around here. We're in a pretty small town (about 12,000 or so population), on an island, and there are no local camera clubs that I know of (hmmm... maybe that's a clue that we should *start* one)...

Happy New Year, and talk to you again soon!

Mike in Alaska
 

Dave Parker

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We ran a not-for profit co-op studio a few years ago, it became a real headache because of the book keeping that had to be done, esentually what your doing is combining several different business, which in our state required a full time book keeper to keep track of income and expendutares, we have since converted to a studio that rents out space on a first come first served basis, this had really simplified the record keeping, we provide quite a bit of equipment as part of the rental, which the rule in place that anything that is broke or destroyed by a renter is replaced by them, when we had the co-op, we also had to maintain a insurance bond on the property and the co-op that we don't have to do any longer, we just maintain a liability policy on the property now, and the individual photographers that rent space are responsible for their own insurance, and believe me insurance is expensive and needed, one of the photographers that was part of our co-op decided he was going to take money for shooting and did not deliver the product, so they sued the co-op and not the photographer, which really turned out to be a mess.

There is alot of things to take into consideration when doing a venture of this nature, it is alway a good idea to talk to a business adviser as well as an accountant, so they can explain the tax and business implications of the various types of set ups.

If I can help further, don't hesitate to let me know, I have been there!

Dave
 
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