Small Photography Studio Tour | Details, Design, Prop Organization | St. Louis & Washington, MO Newborn Photographer

March 23, 2017

Not many people know much about my photography studio, so I thought I would share a tour of the space, since we just painted and did some spring cleaning!  

Photo Studio Location

The studio is tucked away in the lower level of a historic building, in Downtown Washington, MO. It sits across the street from the Missouri River, and is a perfect spot for outdoor picture locations, too!  The stone walls inside are neutral and work as a perfect backdrop!

How It All Happened

When I first thought about a studio space, I never could have imagined it would be here.  This space was formerly a chocolate shop, and though it was small, the thought of paying rent scared me to death.  My husband, Joe, called about the space, set up an appointment for us to look at it, and encouraged me to move forward with this goal of mine.  Our wedding was only a couple of months later, so we were super busy at the time.  Joe kept telling me that the location was perfect and if I didn’t do this now, I may have a hard time finding anything similar.

When I moved into the space, it was 2013, I was teaching high school part time, and knew that opening an actual studio space would mean much more time.  It was through the guidance of another teacher I worked with at Borgia High School, Kathy Hertlein, who told me that she saw my passion for photography and that I would never grow the business unless I cut back at school. Her kind words and soft voice still replay in my mind and I can never thank her enough! I didn’t feel courageous at this point, but she made me feel like I could do anything.

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We have a TV for our viewing pleasure mostly, but for clients to watch while we focus on newborn posing.  If clients have a toddler or other children at a newborn session, it’s nice to turn on Netflix for some entertainment!  (We prefer watching old episodes of Friends because we think their humor makes us better photographers!  Kind of.)  In the TV cabinet, we keep snacks, water, and protein bars (for new moms) while they’re at the studio!  We want clients to feel comfortable and be able to relax.

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My desk, below, is never this clean, I promise! I always have two computers going at the studio – my Macbook Pro laptop, I use to edit images, and my iMac to answer emails and create client accounts.  I have been an avid Mac-user before it became so trendy!  I love how fast and reliable my computers are.  It makes me more productive and efficient. We use the small cubbies (purchased at Marshall’s) below for storing memory cards, twine and rubber bands for photo sets.  The obnoxious cord running up the steps, behind my desk, is a must because the electric is at the top of the stairs!  It’s an old building, so some things have to stay where they are!  Desk is from Ikea.  The bench in front of the desk is from Target.  I also have a home office that I recently redecorated.  That’s where I do most of my editing.  You can see that here!

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We just painted the wood ledge white to help reflect some natural light and clean up the space.  Soft, neutral colors are always in style!  The cushion on the ledge is from Pottery Barn, and the pillows are from Very Jane.  This area is good for families of 6 or less.  We also use a chaise for other poses, which gives the space a different look.

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We try to keep newborn hats out, as well as blankets, so they’re easy to reach when we have a newborn session.  This is also nice for parents to look at when they come in.  We have lots of headbands, hats, buckets, bowls, baskets, rompers, wraps and candy for bribery!  

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We keep backdrops in two locations for pattern organization.  Inside of the blue dresser, we store all of our diaper covers, small blankets and other newborn accessories.  The dresser is from a local antique store.  Most backdrops are from Lemondrop Backdrops and I have been very happy with them.  (I just ordered from Intuition Backdrops for the first time, for a little more variety, so I will blog about that soon!)  

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Since space is limited, we use the back room, pictured below, for prop/decor storage….and to keep children wondering what’s back there!  That’s our most-asked question by children 10 and under :).  


The not-so-glamorous-area…the bathroom has no natural light in there, so the strong bulbs in there made for some bright images below.  In the bathroom, we keep plenty of bath towels, baby wash, soap (for cake smash aftermath) and touch-up supplies, like hairspray (my favorite) and bobbi pins, for clients to use. I plan to redecorate this space soon.  I love decorating bathrooms with cute, bathtub pictures – I did this with my son’s pictures at home, too!  The ornate wall frames are from Nations Photo Lab.  My husband had the hand towels embroidered for me and the ladder-shelf is from Gordmans.


And, last but not least, a before and after of the wood ledge!  Hooray for landlords who say yes to my crazy ideas!


I hope you enjoyed the photo studio tour!  I remember looking at Pinterest before I ever had a studio, inspired by so many other photography studios.  I hope this inspired you as well. Maintaining a studio space, along with the ins and outs of a photography business is a lot of work, but so rewarding at the same time!  Thanks for checking it out!

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