How We Built Our Studio

This month we renewed on our license for our second year in business as a studio. Today, I thought I will share with you our journey of how we started and how we found and built our  studio. 

When I look back how we came about as Enchanté Studios, the most bittersweet part was when we found and built our little white space. 

A little back story here, some three years back. January 1st 2012, I decided I would like to be a photographer. In my mind then, I would like to make a living out of taking people's photos and mind you at this point I don't know how to operate a DSLR, which lens is which, and have only shot on AUTO! (Shocking right?) And yes I want to be a photographer! Now, like any other people doing business the first time, I have NO CLUE how on earth I can make it work. But somebody needs to make the first step right? So my first move was to put up a Facebook page, (oh yeah - that little social media that makes everyone an instant business ;) letting my friends know I would like to practise shooting in manual. So I messaged friends who might be willing (to be butchered in photos) and there's the start of my over-exposed images and hauling of anything and everything I can use as props and the many nights studying the craft! 

Six month on of practice and I wasn't earning a single dirham. I did not charge for my shoots until I was confident I should. I then began registering a free zone license to operate to officially shoot for business.

Another 6 months on, I was already dreaming of having my own studios despite making little money as I was just starting. But I was determined to make it as career! I remember I set up the other bedroom in our house as my working office and I posted on Facebook how I dream to have a natural light studio in Business Bay (we live in Mirdiff and it is the closest business district I can quickly travel back and forth to work and at the same time drop and pick up my daughter from school)

Fast forward to July of 2013, (after months of hinting and begging) I got a nod from my husband  to move my license out of free zone and within Dubai and to open our very own studio. The search for the studio space begins! Obviously, my first studio hunting trip was in Business Bay. I searched high and low. I knew then that I would like a flexible space that I can decorate myself, so I skipped looking for furnished office space. After a week or two, I stumble upon the perfect place at the Lake Central Tower, two signals behind Downtown Blvd and adjacent to Burj Khalifa St. I had a little bit view of the lake and a little bit bit view of The Burj Khalifa - how nice! But most of all - it was filled with natural light! The kitchen and toilet were pre-built which meant the cost to construct the whole place will be less too. I was operating on a very limited budget but boy I was ecstatic!!! In between all the formalities, the red tapes, construction madness, site visits, inspections and approvals and what it seemed never ending fees to this and to there...we saw light after 6 months since we got our license.  I nearly lost it, haha! Phewwww! Thanks to the encouragement from families and friends!

Have a peek at where we started when we first sign up for this space! (Documented with my goody-handy iPhone.)

  July 03, 2013 -  The first visit! It was deciding between this unit and another unit at the twelfth floor which is massive, and has the best full lake view (needless to say we could not afford the other one, lol)

July 03, 2013 - The first visit! It was deciding between this unit and another unit at the twelfth floor which is massive, and has the best full lake view (needless to say we could not afford the other one, lol)

 Afternoon light inside studio, and the back of the building. 

Afternoon light inside studio, and the back of the building. 

 The natural light I fell in love with :) Dramatic light at 5pm on a July summer :)

The natural light I fell in love with :) Dramatic light at 5pm on a July summer :)

  July 8, 2013 - And t hat soft light in the morning!

July 8, 2013 - And that soft light in the morning!

 The team! Hubby and my little trooper Moi :)

The team! Hubby and my little trooper Moi :)

 Oct. 2, 2013 - The open plan layout. Ahhhh after two months we now have the approved layout from the authorities :) Whohoooo!

Oct. 2, 2013 - The open plan layout. Ahhhh after two months we now have the approved layout from the authorities :) Whohoooo!

 October 5, 2013 - The first batch of labour begins :) Electrical stuff being laid-out!

October 5, 2013 - The first batch of labour begins :) Electrical stuff being laid-out!

 Oct. 19, 2013 - Levelling of the flooring. 

Oct. 19, 2013 - Levelling of the flooring. 

 Oct. 30, 2013 - The finished base - ready for wood flooring...

Oct. 30, 2013 - The finished base - ready for wood flooring...

 Nov. 3, 2013 - First layer of painting!!! I always wanted a modern-industrial feel so we kept the walls bare! 

Nov. 3, 2013 - First layer of painting!!! I always wanted a modern-industrial feel so we kept the walls bare! 

 Second layer of painting! Three more layers and we should be done :)

Second layer of painting! Three more layers and we should be done :)

 Nov. 12, 2013 - White wood flooring laid-out!

Nov. 12, 2013 - White wood flooring laid-out!

 Final painting - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how WHITE it is!

Final painting - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how WHITE it is!

 Studio on all sides :)

Studio on all sides :)

 Nov. 27, 2013 - Ooooohhhh, the first sets of studio furnitures arrived!!! This is really happening!

Nov. 27, 2013 - Ooooohhhh, the first sets of studio furnitures arrived!!! This is really happening!

 Our first sets of West Elm furnitures :) LOVE! And my little supervisor manning the assembly!

Our first sets of West Elm furnitures :) LOVE! And my little supervisor manning the assembly!

 Dec. 06, 2013 - A trip down to Ikea and we got our white shelvings. Cream clock from Marina Homes.

Dec. 06, 2013 - A trip down to Ikea and we got our white shelvings. Cream clock from Marina Homes.

 Relaxation Corner + The make-up Station set-up.

Relaxation Corner + The make-up Station set-up.

 Dec. 07,2013 - Slowly coming together now :) Added our TV to our viewing area.

Dec. 07,2013 - Slowly coming together now :) Added our TV to our viewing area.

 Dec.11, 2013 - Added a few frames and some more accessories from Ikea.

Dec.11, 2013 - Added a few frames and some more accessories from Ikea.

 Dec. 17, 2013 - The make-up station lights first lit up :)

Dec. 17, 2013 - The make-up station lights first lit up :)

 I'll only put white in the studio if I can help it, hahahah! Stationeries from Muji

I'll only put white in the studio if I can help it, hahahah! Stationeries from Muji

 On the corner, two working stations ready!

On the corner, two working stations ready!

Exactly 2 years after that fateful decision to be a photographer, we opened our very own studio. And I could not be any happier! This is really it!

On my next blog, I will share with you a proper interior shoot of the studio and how it looks now :) I hope you enjoy our little throwback of the behind-the-scenes from when we first sign up on our space.

Until then, I leave you with this short and sweet quote:

DREAM BIG. - Anonymous


xoxo,

your portrait couturier (shyrell)