When I decided to switch from Fitness Photography to Boudoir I also decided to take a leap and open my own photography studio. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to shoot at some really fantastic gyms and locations but for boudoir I wanted my own space. A space that was inviting, that I could create as my own and a space that was private so that my clients would get comfortable knowing that we were the only ones in the studio during their shoot.
I thought about looking in Boston but then quickly nixed the idea. I worked in Boston for 20 years and I was ready for a new view. Since I live on the North Shore I decided that is where I’d start my search. I knew I wanted to be somewhere that had a strong community and lots of local businesses. I love working alongside other small businesses. I wanted to walk out of my studio door and grab a coffee at a local coffee shop, or a snack at a local bakery. I wanted small bookstores and funky boutiques! I wanted character. Where else on the North Shore would all this be other than Salem?! (Beverly was a close second though!)
I combed Craigslist and real estate websites until my eyes crossed. Finally, I contact Kate at J Barrett & Co. about helping me find my perfect location. And did she ever!
This is what I told her was on my studio wish list: location in Salem near the center of town, high ceilings, open space, at least 500 sqft, some windows. The first location she took me to was great and the building hosted a good handful of small businesses. The space was fantastic although the windows were small. It did have ceilings big enough for my lights and a neat brick wall that would def be used in shoots but it was a bit out of the way from the center of town. So we put it on the list and went to check out a few more spots.
201 Washington Street was next on our list. I have walked by this building numerous times so I knew exactly which one it was. It’s a neat old building right in town. The studio was on the 2nd floor – which was another plus (I’m always thinking about client privacy!). The building manager opened the door and this is what we saw:
I knew right away it was perfect. Sure, it was divided into three spaces and had the dingiest carpet but I knew it had good bones. “Can the walls come down?” I asked the Manger. “What about the carpet? What’s underneath?” Turned out that yes, the walls could come down and yes, we can rip out the carpet to expose the original hardwood floors. With Kate the super-awesome-realtor to help walk me through the lease negotiations I ended up with a wide-open, freshly panted studio with the original hardwood floors.
Here are some photos of the before and after:
Now that I had found my perfect studio + location it was time to make the place my own! I had big ideas and needed to enlist my partner in crime (and life), my husband, Joe! Together (mostly him) we put together the most amazing studio…refinished Victorian furniture, an 8 foot rolling wall, covers for the baseboard heating, and so much more. You can read all the next step, customizing the studio, right here.
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