New Matty Studio Is Almost Here

New Matty Studio Is Almost Here


For years I had a small, humble 12 x 25 foot studio. It was large enough to get most photo jobs done, but it wasn’t exactly “fun” working in minimal space.

It was a situation where shoots took longer than they should have because you had to play tetris with all of the gear between shooting setups. It was something that got old very fast, not only being frustrating for me, but wanting to offer my great clients a better place for me to produce work for them. This studio space wouldn’t have lasted half as long as it did if it wasn’t for all the on-location work which accounted for 3 out of every 4 shoots I performed. I would arrive to the studio to setup, perform the shoot, and get out. It wasn’t a place conducive to relaxation nor a place that inspired you to stick around and play with photo concepts. My creativity felt just as boxed-in as my commercial photo shoots taking place inside it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good space while it lasted, something that would suit a casual shooter or those taking simple headshots, but I wanted something more. The direction of my business was pointing me down a larger path and in-order to stay ahead of the game I needed to invest into a space that would not only meet but exceed the expectations of┬ámy current and future commercial clients.

As the business grew so did the clients, as well as their photographic requirements. Relationships and projects progressed from hourly or daily engagements to months or years and involving teams of people. It was time, I knew it, and all of my momentum would have been killed if I refused to jump headfirst into a new space. So, 8 months ago I set out find a new studio space. One that had ample shooting space where I could have as many as half a dozen complete shooting arrangements setup at one time. It also would be a welcoming space for consults, entertaining, relaxation, meetings, etc. I wanted people to walk in and not want to leave, and I wanted it to be a place that I didn’t want to leave either, a place which would inspire me to continue to stoke the creative coals when I walked through the doors every day.

The frustrasting thing about photo studios is that they have some pretty inflexible requirements, especially with ceiling height. You can’t take just any ordinary office space and declare it a photo studio, your location options become significantly slimmer right out of the gate. I would find a great location with nice tall ceilings, but the floor layouts didn’t make sense, or the floor layouts were awesome but only had an 8-foot ceiling. As luck would have it, I did locate an amazing space downtown Tacoma. One of the oldest buildings in Tacoma, the location of the original Tacoma News Tribune printing press. My space is the actual room where the giant printing press machines sat. It’s a giant open room with 17-foot tall ceilings and tons of character (everything old does, right?). The only downside is that it hadn’t gotten a facelift in some time, and would require a few months of remodel. That… I was ok with. It took all but the first glance and I knew this was it. I asked for the dotted line, this was going to be my space, I made sure of it.

Studio in early remodel phase.

You would think that finding the perfect space, a space that answered the call for all of your functional and aesthetic requirements would be the tough part, right? Nope. I would say that is the lucky part. The tough part is everything else that accompanies a fixer-upper and expanding the business to handle the new photographic horizons. From client relationship databases, furniture, TV’s for presentations, lighting, paint, signage… the list goes on. And I’d say that goes with just about any business, however, I wanted every inch of this studio to have multiple functionality. The designated photo shooting areas can also be used for presentations and meetings, while the office areas would be able to accommodate photo sessions as well. Everything in the joint would be able to bend and flow to that particular day’s agenda. A lot of time, money, and anxiety transpire in dizzying fashion.

Front of the studio in early remodel phase.

Furniture shoppin’ and discussing layout options.

Luckily, we are in the home stretch of the journey. Construction is nearly done and painting is taking place this and next week. As you can see in the photos, space isn’t going to be an issue, with wide open runs of 60 feet in some areas, over 2,500 sq. ft in total. Complete with an open loft office and spiral staircase, it’s going to be a joy to work out of. In a couple weeks Matty Photography is going to have a new base of operations.

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