05 Feb Studio Share: Stephanie Neal
After a great discussion at the NAPCP Retreat in Whistler, we asked Stephanie Neal to send us some pictures of her fantastic studio in Park City, Utah. We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at her day to day work life!
NAPCP: We would love to know a little bit more about you (where you are from, how long you have been in the business, your family, hobbies) …
SN: I grew up in Great Falls, Virginia, and started taking portraits of my friends when I was fourteen. I went to college in Los Angeles and got my BFA in Photography from CalArts. My husband worked in the music industry, so I actually started my career photographing bands at concerts and doing album artwork. After many ski trips to Park City, Utah, we gradually fell in love with the area and decided to relocate. We had our two boys at the same time all of our friends were having children, so it was a natural progression to start documenting all of the pregnancies, babies, and families. I took things very slowly at first, working part time while my boys were little. I went full time and opened my studio in 2008. When not working, I’m usually hanging out with my kids, hiking, traveling, reading, playing chess, or drinking dirty martinis with my friends (not necessarily in that order).
NAPCP: Tell us how you took the plunge into having your own studio space.
SN: I made do with working on location and occasionally using my garage for sessions, but inevitably our cats would start snuggling up to my subjects or my kids could be heard screaming in the background. It quickly became apparent that I needed to create some distance between home and work! I had my eye on the space I’m in now for a couple of years, and when it became available I jumped on it. It’s in a historic group of buildings that make up a real life western town! It needed a little TLC, but it has pretty much everything I was looking for – nice available light, great location, affordable rent, and tons of character. A few years later the art gallery next door closed, and I turned that building into my office for pre-session consultations and ordering appointments.
NAPCP: What is the BEST part about having your own space?
SN: It’s really nice to have a beautiful place to go, and be creative and inspired, with all of my props and equipment organized and ready to use. And having an office to display all of my products and do in-person sales has helped my business grow exponentially. It also helps separate me from all of the other photographers in my area.
NAPCP: If you could give some business advice to someone looking into finding their own work space, what would it be?
SN: Wait until you’re somewhat established, and don’t break the bank! I think finding small, affordable space, with a lot of character, is a much smarter move than a big fancy studio that’s going to keep you up at night worrying about the bills.
See Stephanie’s work via her website, blog, or Facebook page!