Today we’d like to introduce you to Lee Cherry.
Lee, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
About 3 1/2 years ago I was perusing through craigslist looking for locations and I saw an ad. “Photo Studio for Lease”. I recognized the place. It used to be the children’s gymnastics studio I took my son to for a little while. Even when I was there with him, I remember thinking how this space would make a great studio. Near my house, natural light, good vibe, etc. It just so happened that the real estate agent who placed the ad used to be a photographer and saw it as a studio herself. Otherwise, I may never have come across it. The time was right. The stars aligned. I had a lot of help from friends and business peers pulling it together and in September 2013, we officially opened our doors. Like any business, it has its challenges, but I love this space. It has a heart and soul. People do great work and throw really fun events here.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Owning a studio definitely, has its challenges. It’s not as simple as opening the doors and “poof!”… Profit! I have to give this space undivided attention on a daily basis for it to do well. It took me about a year to realize this. If I’m away on a job, then no one was “guarding the fort” and the studio business would suffer. Customer service is also hugely important and luckily I now have amazing freelance studio managers and assistants I hire when I’m on location for one of my own jobs. The neighborhood I’m in has really blossomed in the past 3 years. I got in just in time but needless to say, my expenses have gone up so I have to work twice as hard to clear the same money as before, which is fine. It gives me focus and keeps me on my toes!
Please tell us about Cherry Soda Studios.
At Cherry Soda Studios, we specialize in renting the space for photo shoots, video production, and events. I personally am photographer and director and built a space I would personally like to use. We have a 2 wall cyclorama on one side for the clean shots and an eclectic warehouse/loft style vibe on the other side so you can achieve a lot of different looks in one space. I pride myself in being extremely supportive of other photographers, filmmakers, and creatives in general. I operate on the golden rule. I treat my clients how I’d want to be treated. I don’t nickel and dime charges after the fact. If you see our rack, steamer, ladder, cool red couch, hanging lamps, c-stands or v-flats? Go for it. Use them. Just put them back how you found them. We do have great gear affiliates and can offer in-house equipment rentals and have everything waiting for you if you want it. We’ve had high profile clients in here such as Sony Music, RCA, Epic Records, Interscope, Republic, Hollywood Records, Vice, Schön! Magazine, Fader, Ray-Ban (to name a few), to YouTubers and students just starting out and need a good place to execute their vision. We have a sliding scale rate and charge accordingly and so far it’s been a win/win, low-stress formula for everyone involved.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I’d go 24/7 from day one. It took me a year or so to realize it wasn’t going to be a “passive income” type space. Other than that, I don’t really have any “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s” because everything happens as it’s supposed to and all the experiences under this roof have given Cherry Soda Studios it’s soul.
- At the time of printing, we’re offering 10hr pro still shoot rates on a sliding scale ranging between $600-$1100 based on crew size and overall scope of shoot.
- At the time of printing, we’re offering 12hr production rates ranging between 750-2000/day depending on crew size and overall scope of shoot.
- We recently started what we call the “under 5” rate which is $50/hr for light footprint shoots with crews under 5 people. These rates are subject to availability and tend to work best on a last minute basis.
- Address: 2129 Colorado Blvd
- Website: www.cherrysodastudios.com
- Phone: 800. 378. 7598
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @cherrysodastudios
- Facebook: /cherrysodastudios
- Twitter: @cherrysodastdio
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/cherry-soda-studios-los-angeles