Since 2009, Kansas City-based photographer Alistair Tutton based his lucrative photography business in a dramatic and unique studio space—namely, an early 20th-century movie theatre—that he also rented out as an event location. For many years the Vox Theatre, as it was known, mostly paid for itself.
The Vox Theatre contained 6,000 square feet of creative room with 20’ ceilings to boot, and, as an erstwhile movie theatre, it allowed nearly complete control over atmospheric light.
However, those conditions could also be unfavorable: the studio didn’t have much natural light. Moreover, conflicts occasionally arose between the studio session schedules and the event location rentals.
“The big conflicts would be Friday events and having to wrap shoots on Thursdays, losing a couple of days of shooting to lack of availability.”
In 2018, Alistair devised a creative and profitable solution to solve this problem. He undertook a substantial renovation of his home to include more than 1,000 square feet of professional studio space, as well as a garage and swimming pool.
“We needed oodles of natural light — so we put in one single 6’x6’ window and two 3’x6’ windows that open adjacent to that, and one single 7’x12’ bifold door so we could get loads of natural light in there.”
Where the theatre lacked for natural light, his new studio delivered. The new studio also has a well-equipped kitchen area, which is important since one of Alistair’s specialties is food and drink.
Most pointedly, now the studio space would not need to be torn down to prepare for an event. In the images included, you’ll see the setup for a shoot for the Kansas City Steak Company with the assistance of food stylist, Trina Kahl, and prop stylist, Shelly Migliazzo.
“Because our old studio was multi-use with an event space, we’d have to pack it up at night and on weekends. Now we can experiment and leave sets in place.”
Also, he could use the garage to store all of the studio equipment that didn’t need to be climate controlled.
Initially, Allistair was nervous to have clients coming to his house instead of a separate workspace, but so far it has benefited both him and his clients.
“It’s all been a really positive experience. Once they get over that feeling they’re in your house, they realize they’re in your studio and they are right in the zone of making images. I love it because we can play around any day of the week and make new images, it’s been really good for us in testing and creating outside of scheduled work.”
Now Alistair just has to find a way to write off the pool as a business expense!
See more of Alistair Tutton at alistairtutton.com!
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