faq

Is studio lighting equipment included in the rental fee?  Yes, absolutely!  Just bring a camera you know how to use and you will get professional photos right from the start.

How do I go about reserving studio time?

On every page of our website there is a link to online booking. Just click on it and you can schedule studio time, live, while you’re coordinating with others involved with your shoot.  If you’re not internet friendly you’ll have some restrictions we learned from our friends in the travel industry.  You may book by phone or email as well but then the rate will be $40 per hour.  And just like the airlines and hotels:  no refunds or changes once you’ve booked and paid.  Sort of get the idea we prefer that you book online?   That way it’s convenient for you and you don’t have to worry that I will forget to enter your reservation yourself or, worse yet, book the wrong time or date.  The online booking system does not suffer from ADD.

If you hate rules so much why do you have a minimum rental of three hours? Our early experience has shown that anything less than three hours simply not enough time to load in, wait for late models, set up lighting, do a shoot, clean the studio to broom clean, arrival condition and then load out.

Do yourself a big favor:  book more time than you think you will need.  You will be glad you did.  Every time.

The rate to extend a rental in progress is $50 per hour.

And remember — we do NOT provide an additional time allowance for load in and load out.  Please remember to tell everyone in your party that they will wait outside until the exact start time of the rental period.  No exceptions.

Overtime is billable at $3 per minute.  It’s much more cost effective to book more time than you think you may need, because you will need it after all.  Be a pro.  Book more time than you think you will need because you WILL need it. Or, what the heck, go ahead an look like an amateur when you have the vacate the premises with an incomplete shoot because you didn’t allow enough time.  Or be a pro and have the extra time you need — and which we make affordable — to create great images that will help your products sell.  

Each minute over in a three hour shoot is billable at $3 per minute.  Please remember this amount.

Please don’t arrive early with the hope that your model or MUA may “just get set up.” The clock starts when anyone in your party enters the studio. There is no free time for showing up early. Also, late check out is $3 per minute. Yes, $3 per minute. Charges all billable until the last person in your party exits the studio, regardless of when you quit shooting.  Please reread the last sentence so we have no misunderstanding.

It’s a good idea to scoot that model out even if she’s not quite packed up!  However, if the studio is available you may extend your shoot at a rate of $40 per hour on shoots of four hours or more ($50 per hour to extend a three hour shoot).  Our product is time, so the alternative to these overtime fees is to charge everyone substantially more per hour.

What is a “cyc wall”? Cyc, pronounced as in bike,  is short for cyclorama.  Also known as an infinity wall, or cove, the effect makes the subject appear to standing in a field of pure white.  A gentle curve connects the back wall with the floor as you stand facing the cyc wall.  You can make this amazing wall blown out, as you often see in catalog ads, or you can make it the deepest black, any shade or gray you wish, or with some colored gels you can paint the wall with light any color you wish.  At dk3 studios we have a 16′ cyc wall and are proud of it.

How do I rent the studio? It’s easy. Just go to the home page and click online booking. You can look at available time slots on the calendar, select one that works for you and book it. We ask for a 50% deposit to hold your reservation.  The booking page will show you how to use a credit card to do that.  The deposit is refundable if the reservation is cancelled at least 48 hours in advance.  The total rental fee is due and payable for reservations cancelled in 48 hours or less.  Then you show up at the appointed time and make remarkable photographs. It’s easy to book photo studio rental time at dk3 studios. We wanted it to be easy.  Reservations not booked online must be prepaid in full and there are no refunds for changes or cancellations.

Do you accept major credit cards? Yes. We accept major credit cards and are very happy about that.  We won’t even whine if you pay with American Express.

Do you offer discounts for longer shoots?  In a way.  The average hourly rate declines with each additional rental hour.  If anything, we should charge more for longer shoots because the client is more likely to be having a commercial, meaning paid, shoot. And really, if you don’t think we offer a  fantastic bargain for what you get then we might not be the right fit for your studio needs.  If you even ask for a discount your rate is automatically increased by $5 per hour.  Seriously.  If you’re cheap we’re just not the studio for you.  We’re serious about this issue.

When does my time start and end? Do I get free setup and breakdown time? The whole idea behind dk3 studios is to provide a space having many of the features of studios that are far more expensive.  Our rental rates are a real bargain, especially considering you get to use 12 strobes — more than any other studio in San Diego — and a cyclorama wall. Try to find that at any other studio in town!   We say “when we think of overhead we think of lighting,” because we keep overhead costs down in favor of capital equipment used for making the photographs. And we keep things simple.

The clock starts ticking either at the scheduled start time of your reservation or when someone involved with your shoot enters the studio.  If a makeup artist “just wants to set up,” that is indeed billable time.   Rental time ends the later of your scheduled end time or when the last person in your group walks out of the studio. So if you want to enter and set up early there it’s a good idea to book an extra hour.  Late check out is $3 per minute and you can count on that.  Of course, we won’t charge you for the time afterward when we stand around talking about what a great shooting experience you just had.

Wow, your rate is so great!  Can I put on a workshop and charge whatever I want?  Yes, you sure can!  And you can put it on at dk3 studios LLC if you give us a call or email to discuss a financial arrangement that works well for both of us.  If you charge any admission fee for a shoot then our commercial rental rates apply and you’re sort of excluded from the amazingly low fee we charge for photoshoots.

Will the lighting be set up when I get there? Great question submitted by a reader. At any given time we have a four light setup ready to go so you can just walk in a start shooting.We want you to be able to focus on your shoot, not on logistics, and will do everything we can to make sure your shoot goes smoothly.  That said, for a modest fee we can have the studio set up and ready to go with your preferred lighting set up.  For a modest fee, that is.

What if I’m having a great shoot and need more time? I love it when that happens and it happened to me many times when I rented studios.  If the studio isn’t reserved after your shoot you can may continue as long as you wish.  We never want to interrupt a shoot when something wonderful is happening. It’s a wonderful feeling when you’re on a roll like that. You may extend a shoot at our same-day reservation rate of $40 per hour for most shoots, $50 per hour for reserved three hour shoots. So if you run a few minutes over you might as well enjoy shooting for the rest of the hour, if the studio isn’t booked. And you really will enjoy it. I promise. If you’re running into another scheduled shoot the overtime rate is $3 per minute.  Ouch!  You really will get better results if you book MORE time than you think you need.  We do not provide any type of time allowance for underbooking.  Period.  Zip. Zero.  When you’re out of time you must vacate the studio immediately.

I’m new to studio photography and would like to shoot a professional model.  Can you set that up? I remember my first shoot with a model….actually, I was very fortunate to find a model who not only did not require direction but who had very creative ideas for shoots.  I made hundreds of photos.  That was a mistake.  I learned quickly that professional models photograph incredibly well, incredibly easily, and that if you shoot 10 to 15 shots in each outfit you will make a winning image with each outfit. Such that she won’t raise her eyebrows at your assistant, giving a look of “has he ever done this before?” to her.  We would be glad to schedule a time with a model who enjoys working with beginning studio photographers and who will help you explore this addictive creative exploration.

What if I break something during the shoot?  Then you will need to pay to have it replaced or repaired.  You would offer that anyway.  But this seldom happens.   I spoke to equipment rental facilities before opening dk3 studios and as I expected, the vast majority of photographers have a healthy respect for photographic equipment and are familiar with the the equipment prices.   It’s rare that photographers damage equipment and when most do they fess up and take ownership of the problem.  At least that’s what the nice folks at Calumet told me.  Our equipment is quite durable so you’d have to do something pretty nasty to damage it, so don’t let fear interfere with your shoot.  If you’re a pro and have business insurance you can add us to your policy for  additional peace of mind.  Don’t worry, be snappy.

Should you damage a piece of equipment or simply bend a reflector by dropping it we will bill you immediately for the replacement retail cost plus a 40% administration fee.  When the replacement item arrives you are free to pick up the damaged item and dispose of it as you prefer.  There is no allowance for reasonable wear and tear.  If you damage it in any way you simply replace it with a brand new, identical item and dispose of the damaged item as you wish.  But you are absolutely responsible for leaving the studio in the condition it was in upon your arrival.  No exceptions.  Period.

One image of your lobby shows the clock set at 420.  Is this significant?
Yes.

Could we shoot video ? YES!  This faq was just updated.  We now encourage video shoots and have just added three 1000 LED light panels and two fluorescent softboxes.  PLUS a high tech ring green-screen light system where a chroma ring light around your lens brightly illuminate a special unidirectional screen.  It’s a breeze to set up perfect chroma keying in minutes because creases are not visible and the LEDs provide perfectly even chroma green or blue background.  But the background looks gray to the eye while beaming brightly through your monitor.  It’s amazing — you gotta see it!  If you do chroma key this LED ring light will make your life much easier.

We  have three 1000 LED light panels and a pair of 2400 watt equivalent fluorescent soft boxes for a total of five video lights plus the chroma light ring. The amazing chroma lightring is available for rental at a rate of $15 per hour in addition to the studio rental fee.

I know you hate rules and like to be flexible, but do you have any policies a renter should know about?  There are a few policies that are necessary to be able to offer this studio at such a great rate.  For example, there is a three hour minimum rental requirement.  Studio time is booked in one hour increments.  That is, a 181 minute shoot would be billed as a four hour shoot.  The time starts the earlier of your scheduled or actual start time.  The time ends the later of your scheduled or actual stop time.  Three or so policies. Not too bad.  And don’t forget the soft drinks are free during your shoot for groups of four or less. To ease the pain of policies, perhaps.

Why did you start dk3 studios?  Until recently I held an executive position in corporate America. I remain grateful to a small studio in Orange County that offered a studio with a cyc wall and great rates. It reignited my passion for photography. It finally gave me the chance to explore studio work. I want to offer this same epiphany to others exploring this creative journey.

Beer? Our preference is craft brews, with local IPAs being favorites. Stone Ruination is my all time favorite. We serve them at our mixers.

Do you rent dk3 studios as an event venue?Yes.  Possibly, sometimes.  Pricing varies depending on the event, and rates begin at $75 per hour. Event insurance may be required depending on the nature of the event.  We do have some pretty cool club lighting.

We’re a band but we can’t afford a photoshoot.  Can you help us? Yes! We do support the arts and are willing to shoot emerging musical artists for the cost of studio rental only.  That’s like getting a $1000 photoshoot for something like $99.  Heck, that’s just a handful of lattes at Starbucks.  We have photographers available who will donate their time to shoot your group and will provide digital images for you to use however you wish at no additional charge.  We love to see the studio name in credits and that would be a wonderful thank you.  We’ve met some amazing people by offering this service and hope other groups will take advantage of this offer.  It would be really nice, then, if you’d remember us when you’re rich and famous.

Is your studio “fetish friendly.” Yes! We’re bound to help anyone who wants to shoot here. Our service can’t be beat!  Now our staff, that’s a different subject.  Ask us about our secret dungeon set (next door) for fetish shoots.

Why did you start dk3 studios? Entrepreneurs and small business owners now, more than ever, need strikingly professional images for selling products online.  A professional photo can make a difference between many sales and, well, the alternative.  The economy has changed and large budgets for ad agencies and photoshoots are becoming memories.  dk3 studios LLC offers an affordable studio where anyone with a DSLR camera can create professional images at a reasonable price.  This pricing is also a boon to advanced amateur photographers who wish to learn, or master, studio lighting.

9865 mesa rim road suite 205 san diego ca 92121 | phone: +1.858.848.5464 | email: info@dk3studios.com