Exchange Studios is a photography studio based in the Exchange District of downtown Winnipeg. The studio is meant to be an affordable space for photographers to create and shoot.
Owner and local photographer Kevin Lawrence created Exchange Studios out of necessity. By creating a space that other photographers could rent out, he was able to afford to have his own studio outside of his home – while still supporting amateur-to-professional artists and photographers by offering a very low rate of $25-50 per hour.
“I had decided to open to other photographers right from the beginning,” said Lawrence.
“I want a space for artists who are beginning to have a place they can be creative in.”
Included with the rent, the studio has a variety of resources available upon request. This includes backdrops, lighting, and furniture that is already in the studio with little to no renting cost.
Beginning any hobby or profession has its ups and downs, but Exchange Studios makes the experience quite easy and inexpensive for anyone that wants to try it out or pursue a career in photography.
In addition to the cheap rental rates, Exchange Studios offers a discount to students with proof of enrolment.
“I am not out to make a living off the rental of my space. I do not advertise,” said Lawrence.
“All my business is word-of-mouth and repeat business, so I feel I am doing something right. People thank me that my prices are below the big studios in the city, and I have always maintained it’s about creative exchange, not a way to bleed my fellow artists.”
The studio does not only benefit beginners and one-time studio users, but also regular customers that are unable to rent their own studio space.
“They speak to me about how nervous they are about sourcing enough business to afford a place on their own. So in that vein, I think there is a role in the community,” Lawrence explained.
Exchange Studios is designed to be a versatile space that can cater to the needs of many types of photoshoots.
“There is a very broad range of photography in the studio. I personally shoot creative and fashion photography, but I know that family photos, newborns, maternity, and boudoir are the most common uses when rented,” Lawrence told the Manitoban.
“They love that I am willing to open up the space so that they have a place to go when the weather is awful, or for that newborn shoot.”
Among the many shoots at the Exchange Studio, one in particular stood out for Lawrence.
“I think the most memorable shoot in the space was last year – it was a collaboration of a few local artists,” said Lawrence.
“One was a local body painter by the name of Kim Brennan, another was an amazing hair stylist by the name of Amber Hobbs, and me shooting. The concept was to paint the model like the Joker from the Batman comics, though we gender-bent the character using a female model. To me, that coming together of creative minds is the most memorable. It speaks to how great the artistic community is in the city.”
For more information, visit www.exchangestudios.ca