1. Get a location. The place you choose should be wide, spacious, and comfortable. A lot of equipment will have to be set up here, and you need room for: backdrops, equipment storage, and even people! An indoor place is more suitable than an outdoor one, but if you're planning on taking more outdoor shots, then that's a fine place to set it. However, this may interrupt the process (you'll have all sorts of bothers such as nosy neighbors, etc.). Nothing in the room should be too eye-popping, or that will take away from pictures you take. Bare walls work the best. Comfy, cream colored carpeting make a nice atmosphere. Remember: this place is where you'll be taking photos of people. Use your location to welcome your customers, and let them know that they haven't made a mistake by coming.
2. Get a waiting room (optional). If you're going for a professional approach, you may want to establish a waiting room, where customers can lounge and relax before coming in for their photographs. This room doesn't have to be as spacious as your "photo room". But it must be fairly big. Set up chairs and/or a few couches, so that your customers can have a seat and look around. This room should be colorful, warm and welcoming. Hang some of your past photography work on the walls, for customers to observe and compare. You can also provide magazines for their entertainment. Create a nice atmosphere by exploring wall and carpeting choices. Make your customers feel like guests...you may even want to provide snacks.
3. Get workers and establish the schedule. You can advertise in help wanted sections of your newspaper, to get workers for your photo studio. Specify the experience and style of the people you are looking for, and if possible, set up interviews with the possible choices. Unless you plan on establishing an entire photo studo by yourself, you'll need responsible, dedicated people to assist you. You'll need somewhere between 2-8 people to successfully get your photo studio running. After you have finished this process, and have a good team, you can start making the schedule. When will your photo studio open and close each day? Who will work each day, and for how long? Discuss this with your current workers. As the boss, it is your job to make sure everyone has their hours done, and that they have agreed to come to the studio at the designated times. Now that your schedule is done, you have the basic platform of a photo studio: a place, and a time frame.
4. Get seamless paper backdrops. A good photo studio has a wide selection of backdrops, or backgrounds, for photos. Customers will expect quality designs, landscapes, and solid colors, to compliment their photos. Backdrops should not be sloppy or unprofessional. Have a few backdrops to choose from (solid white, solid black, and maybe a few scenery ones). They should be large enough to take up the whole frame. Use gels on the background lighting to adjust the appearance (a solid white background can appear red with the help of gels).
5. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you want them to look great!Have makeup and accessories on hand. Customers want to look their best in the photographs- after all, they're paying good money for it. Show that you respect this, by supplying makeup for their use. Hire a make-up artist to apply the makeup for them. Provide a medium sized mirror, that can assist them in putting the makeup on. Also, consider providing accessories for the photos such as: hats, jewlery, purses, etc. This can help make the photograph more fun looking, and stylish. Your customers will be pleased with your immense assistance, and strive for their picture to turn out great!
6. Decide on prices. Prices are an important factor to consider when creating a photo studio. A cost that is too high, will show that you are greedy, and will have you losing customers very quickly. However, a cost that is too low, will make your profits skimpy. Look at the prices of your area. Charge a sitting fee (they usually range from $75 to $300) and also charge for prints. Factor in the wages of your employees, the cost of studio equipment, and your experience.
7. Post the price list so that customers can see it.
8. Name the studio. Every photography studio needs a name to attract customers. The name you give can excel or fail such a business. Discuss the name choice with your fellow colleages and think about your cooperation. What are the strong points? How can you express this in a few words? Give everyone a chance to share their opinions on the matter, before writing each one down. Then file a vote between everyone. However, if you feel that the winning name will not sell your portraits, then bring it up withing the discussion. As the boss, you should be able to voice your opinion on the matter and try to come up with a compromised solution.
9. Advertise the studio. Now that you've established a location, workers, props, and even a cool name, it's time to begin advertising your photography studio. Before beginning the actual advertisement, make a list of all the studio's strong points. Why would a customer want to come to your photography studio? What does it have to offer that the other guys don't? Create a colorful, eye-popping advertisement that lists these strong points. Give contact information (such as the phone number you can contact, to schedule an appointment or get more information). Also, include the address of your location.
10. Run the business. As you get more customers, run your business accordingly. Have fun!