I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to scale and want to stand out online as local industry leaders.

I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.

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5 Dream Bay Area Photo Studio Rental Spaces for Creative Headshots

March 8, 2020

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Last updated: July 2021

If you meander over to this Instagram post, I talk a lot about why I almost always recommend renting a studio space for your headshots. In a nutshell, the benefits are:

  1. Consistent lighting at any time of day. This is especially important in winter when we have limited daylight available. When shooting indoors, I have a setup that ensures your images are consistently light and bright, even at night!
  2. More privacy. You won’t need to worry about working around other people in public.
  3. Stay out of super cold or hot weather. We don’t need you sweating off your makeup or shivering in shots!
  4. No weather rescheduling. Is it raining? Is it super dark and gloomy outside? These are things we DON’T have to worry about if you book a studio. Schedule your hair and makeup appointments without worrying about rescheduling because of weather.

If I can’t convince you to shoot indoors, then maybe these studio spaces can! Without further ado, here are 5 of my favorite spaces to rent in the Bay Area.

5 Favorite Bay Area Photo Studio Rental Spaces

Studio rental space in the San Francisco Bay Area with a kitchen corner and bright big windows

1. The Sunlight Space – Los Altos, CA

The Sunlight Space is operated by yours truly! When I originally wrote this blog post, I was brand new to the Bay Area. Now that I’ve been here for a few years, I realized that I needed a space of my own for my brand photography clients. I’m so excited to offer it for rental to all Bay Area creatives!

Soon to be decorated with midcentury modern furniture, The Sunlight Space is designed to be modular, so that you can design the space you need for your clients. Head over to the website for booking info and more!

Pro tip: If you book a Brand Experience Photoshoot with me, the studio rental is INCLUDED in your session fee. Yay, savings!

5 women sitting on a couch with plants on both sides. Two women in the middle are holding a sign that says "#BossLady studio shoot."

2. Creative Space Studios – Dublin, CA

This space is the perfect blank canvas for East Bay photography sessions. White walls, concrete floors, and backdrops out the wazoo. You can utilize what they have available in the studio, or you could build your own set.

It has simple yet stylish props – chairs, plants, stools, and more. There’s even a rotating backdrop that gets painted once a month! You can stay up to date on what color it is on their Instagram.

It’s great for classroom style events and meetups. I hosted a Spring #BossLady Studio Shoot in 2019, and it was the perfect venue!

Pro tip: If you shoot here often, they offer a monthly membership! You get access to the space and events at a discounted rate.

A woman leaning against a kitchen island pulling her hair behind her ear.

3. Mission Loft – San Francisco, CA

I’m sure you’ve seen this space all over Instagram. Mission Loft is one of my absolute favorite places to shoot. I’ve been to both Unit I and Unit III, and they each offer something different. Both offer spaces that make it easy for you to get light and airy photos without any extra effort. Every corner of both of these spaces is totally thought out and designed. The decor is beautiful, and both are perfect for when you need in-home sets like kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Do note – only Unit I has bedrooms!

You can see some of my shoots here to get a better idea of what it looks like.

Pro tip: Sometimes Michael, the owner, is around to let you in. He’s awesome, and he also has a sweet dog named Enzo!

Unit I

Misson Loft San Francisco Meetup
Jessica Silva – The Label

a woman is sitting on a yoga mat while she's holding the soles of her feet together

4. Sawmill Studio

This studio with exposed brick is made of rustic dreams. Also, plants! It has rustic charm and unique decor that would enhance anyone’s photoshoot. It’s a pretty large space and would be great for large scale productions as well as smaller shoots because you’d be able to get a huge variety of looks.

5. Little Sunday Studio – San Jose, CA

This space is perfect for product and lifestyle photography – they have tons of unique props and trinkets. Also, can we talk about that exposed brick! It’s also owned by photographers Elle and Arabela of Weekend Creative, so you know they’re taking excellent care of the space. I’m so grateful that they’ve opened up their cute lil studio to the South Bay community!

The location is in San Jose, and they have designated parking spots. This would also be a great place to host small workshops!

Pro tip: If you aren’t already following them on Instagram, why not? They’re extremely talented photographers and are always sharing tips and tricks related to business and photography.

Resources

If you want to look around for more studio options, definitely check out Peerspace and Home Studio List. Airbnb is an option too, but keep in mind that the host may have different rates for photoshoots. 

Considerations

I’ll leave you with a few things to consider when booking a studio space.

  1. Minimum booking time. How long is your shoot scheduled for? Does this include setup and teardown? 
  2. Parking. Is it metered or timed? How many spaces are available? Will you need to walk?
  3. Available props and supplies. Does the studio have backdrops, lights, reflectors, props, etc? What does the studio have, and what would you need to supply?
  4. And finally…Does it have a bathroom? Seriously, don’t forget to check – especially for longer shoots!

I hope this post leaves you with a starting point to begin looking for your next studio rental space. Have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments below! 👇

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I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to scale and want to stand out online as local industry leaders.

I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.

tell me more...

crowd faves

on the blog

Color Psychology for Photoshoots

5 Dream Bay Area Studio Rentals for Your Next Shoot

5 Tips for Optimizing Images on Your Website

How to Plan Outfits for Your Brand Photoshoot

goodies you'll love

Access My Free Resource Library

Branded Stock Photography at the EK Stock Shop

Free Preset for
Lightroom Mobile

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