Taking quality photographs typically requires a studio, where the photographer can control all aspects of the setting, particularly the lighting. Buying or building a good photography studio is prohibitively expensive. A more cost-effective route is to lease a studio from a studio hire. For someone who has never done this before, this can seem like a complicated task. A quick search through the phone book will probably turn up an abundance of studio hires in your area, each offering a number of packages and rate structures to fit different needs. Taking it step by step, however, can make it quite simple.
The first step toward renting a studio hire is to determine exactly what your needs are. How much space do you need? If you are doing close-up portraits, a small studio may suffice. If you are, for instance, shooting a model with furniture as props, you will probably need a larger one. Some studio hires may even offer studios already decorated to look like apartments or other settings that may eliminate the need for you to lease or bring your own props. What equipment will you bring, and what equipment, if any, will you need to lease? If you lease the equipment with the studio as part of a package, it might save you a considerable sum of money over leasing the equipment from a separate provider, and since a car may not be large enough to transport equipment like large lights and tripods, it could spare you the cost of leasing a van to transport the equipment.
The next step is to find studio hires in your area and see which ones suit your needs. At this point you have to determine which services and equipment you can lease from the studio hire and which will have to be supplied from other sources. The Internet is your best resource for locating studio hires in your area and learning what they can offer. If the photo shoot must be done on a specific date or time, call and find out which studios have what you need, when you need it, and for the length of time you need it.
The third step is settling on the rates. While most studio hires have a published fee schedule, if you are leasing the studio for a long time or are paying them for multiple services, you can frequently negotiate a discount. If you are a professional photographer or are a member of a local photography club, your colleagues can probably give you advice on what deals the local studio hires are willing to make.
Finally, you have to settle the payment terms. Many studio hires will require a deposit to reserve a studio for a specific date and time, with the balance to be paid on the day you use the studio. Deposits may also be required for any equipment you lease or services you use. And last but not least, always check the fine print in the lease agreement for hidden fees!