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The Gypsy Photographer: Completing the Purge

Erin Schwamb is writing a series for The Business of Boudoir about how she has successfully moved her photography studio as a military wife. Installment No. 1 is here, and Installment No. 2 is here.

By this step in moving your boudoir studio, your nerves are probably being tested, your house is in utter chaos and you are pretty overwhelmed. Never fear though, there is an end in sight. Take a few days, pre-plan a couple of blog posts and make the decision to get your studio and home office in order.  It’s time to step away from the computer for a bit which I’m sure will be a welcome relief.

It’s time to “Let it go! Let it go!” (in my best Queen Elsa voice)

Take stock of what you have. Whatever the time of year you are moving, it’s always a great idea to purge and “Spring Clean” your props, gear, and misc. materials you have accumulated over the years.

During my last move I went through EVERY. SINGLE. THING. photography related that I had in my studio and home office. I found lens caps for lenses I no longer owned, packaging materials that didn’t match my brand, and many other things that I no longer used/offered/needed. Why in the world would I want to pack that stuff and move it with me? I realized I really needed to get in there and lighten my load, so I took a couple of extra days to really figuring out what I had, what I needed and what I could get rid of.

  1. Set a deadline for yourself to complete your purge. If you are like me you will start a project then get distracted by something shiny and wander off. Having a deadline set for completion definitely helped to keep me on track.
  2. Consider a “Sample Sale” for your clients to remove old and out dated samples of your work from your studio, also it might encourage you to give a new lab a try to see if you like their products better. It’s also a great way to clear hard drives and get in a few last minute sales before you leave the area. Don’t give things away for free, but a deep discount usually gets clients excited!
  3. Clear the magazine and book hoard. Oh em gee—I am so guilty of this. I must have had 4 years worth of PPA Mag and Rangefinder Magazines in my office that I read once and then never again. I posted them in several local photography groups and thankfully was able to donate them to another photographer. I had books on maternity, weddings, etc. I don’t shoot those things anymore so why keep  them?
  4. Furniture. I may or may not have a slight addiction with furniture. But it’s heavy and cumbersome to move. If you are paying for your own move, remember: Not only will you have to move it several times, you will also have to find places to put it in the moving truck. If you haven’t used a piece in awhile for a shoot, or you are on the fence whether you’ll ever use it again—get rid of it!
  5. Start packing your gear. Depending on how soon you will be leaving and when you do this purge, you’ll want to consider what you pack and when. Don’t put things off because in the end you’ll be left with half-assed organization and no idea where anything is in your boxes. If you know you won’t be using certain gear/props/materials before the move, pack those items securely in their boxes and LABEL them.
  6. Send your gear out to be cleaned, calibrated and repaired if you’re not packing it. Why start fresh in a new location with less than perfect gear? (If you don’t have time to send it off before you leave because you are using it, plan on doing it as soon as you relocate and get settled in your new place.)
  7. Make sure important files and paperwork are in their appropriate place and easily accessible. If you do everything online, make sure it’s backed up and organized in an easy to find manner. If you opt for paper copies of receipts, contracts and other business documents, it is imperative that everything is together and secure so you don’t lose it during the move. If your office is anything like mine, this will probably be the time it has ever been this clean!!

Once the dust has settled be proud of the work you’ve done. It take’s a lot of effort to purge, liquidate, and organize. The thing to remember is that you didn’t fill your space overnight so don’t be discouraged if this step takes a few days.  Feel free to enjoy a margarita or three once you are done!

Gypsy Boudoir-Business on the movePIN



Erin Schwamb

I am an always on the move, wandering Gypsy of a Navy wife. I have an amazing and supportive husband and son who I adore. I love fiercely and freely. As the owner of Gypsy Boudoir in Charleston, South Carolina, I am working with women to realize that beauty has no boundaries or reservations.

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