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Open space

Studio 925 debuts downtown

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Brittany Snell poses at Studio 925. Snell recently opened the studio as a workspace and photography studio. It can be rented per hour for anyone looking for a quiet work environment.

When it comes to photography, office work or a special event like a bridal shower, environment is everything, according to Photographer Brittany Snell.

That’s why Snell has opened Studio 925 in downtown Fort Dodge.

“I opened this studio as a photography studio, but also as a workspace for any person to come in and work whenever they want as a new space essentially,” said Snell, a 2015 Manson Northwest Webster High School graduate. “So often photographers work from their couch in their home, and if you’re anything like me, with two kids ages 1 and 2, it is impossible to get work done so sometimes getting to go somewhere else to work for an hour or two is necessary.”

The studio is located at 925 Central Ave. It underwent an extensive remodel in May, including new ceiling tiles, flooring, paint and interior decorating. Much of it was done by Snell herself. The studio opened about two weeks ago.

“Anyone is able to use the space as it is available to rent out for a day or multiple days,” Snell said. “Photographers can rent it for photoshoots, I do some of my own clients’ photoshoots in there, creatives can rent it out to work, it is able to be rented for a bridal shower, baby shower, the possibilities are endless.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Studio 925, located at 925 Central Ave., is one of the newest businesses downtown. It is a photography studio and work space owned by Photographer Brittany Snell, of Fort Dodge.

The renting rates vary depending on how long the space is needed.

“It’s a photography studio and workspace,” Snell said. “If you wanted to work here for two hours just in a different environment. I can rent it out for pretty much anything is my thought on it — like a bridal shower, baby shower. Open space to do whatever.”

Snell moved to Fort Dodge from Manson in 2021. She also owns P48 Boutique, next to her mother’s shop, called Homespun Collection. Snell’s photography business is Brittany Lauren Photography.

She got her first camera, a Canon Rebel, as an eighth grade birthday present.

“I always brought it to sports events in high school, just always had it on me,” Snell said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Brittany Snell is all smiles as she demonstrates how Studio 925 can be used. The studio and workspace, located at 925 Central Ave., recently opened in the city's downtown.

Eventually, she started doing photoshoots.

“I just started doing little shoots here and there,” Snell said. “Just offered a bunch of mini shoots and eventually it grew. It’s been a lot of fun. I went from 14 weddings last year to 34 this year. That was crazy. I hired two associates. I think COVID really affected last year because with weddings there was no normal weddings, so a lot of people waited to get married this year.”

For her photography business, Snell offers a variety of packages for senior pictures, weddings, engagements and family portraits. She’s been in the photography business for four years.

When it comes to her assignments, Snell said she genuinely loves “all of it.”

“Seniors are personal,” she said. “It’s an important time in their life. Weddings and engagements are special too because you are capturing the most important day of their life. With families it’s fun to see interactions between kids and parents.”

She enjoys her interactions with customers.

“Getting to know new people and creating a relationship with them,” Snell said. “I love people who book multiple sessions. Let’s say they had two kids and then they have a baby, just seeing them grow as families. Weddings are really fun because you spend the whole day with someone on the most important day of their lives. I love people, so this job is great because I get to talk to people all the time.”

One of her favorite aspects of being a photographer is when people enjoy the pictures she takes.

“When people love their pictures,” Snell said. “And you very rarely hear back from people, so when you do it’s a big accomplishment. We spend a lot of time — photographers spend a lot of time, not just taking the pictures but going through them and editing them that people don’t see. When people like them, it’s like my work paid off.”

Snell uses social media platforms to generate ideas for photoshoots.

“I use Instagram a lot, just find other big name photographers, like what they post,” Snell said. “Pinterest is a huge resource for me. There’s thousands of ideas on there. There’s apps you can use for poses. That’s the hardest thing is to keep things fresh because you don’t want all your pictures to look the same. Other than that it’s taking a break once in a while, too. I’m really adamant, too, on not focusing on one thing. I like to keep a broad spectrum — I do anything from newborns to families, seniors, engagements, weddings. Pretty much any idea people want pictures for I do it. I mix it up.”

Between photography, the boutique and her children, Snell tries her best to balance her schedule.

“I have two kids, so they come first,” she said. “I work during naptime. In the evenings when they go to bed, I work until about 2 a.m every night. During the weeknights usually I have two nights that I shoot and then every Saturday I have a wedding. I think I had eight free Saturdays this year. The free moments I have I like to spend with my kids, but when they’re sleeping, I work.”

Snell has had her eye on the 925 Central Ave. location for quite a while, she said.

“I knew this space was available for a long time,” she said. “One day I drove by and called and signed the lease that day.”

Snell likes the direction the downtown is heading.

“Central Avenue, they are bringing life back to it so I thought it would be a good spot,” Snell said. “And Fort Dodge has more business opportunities than some smaller towns. There’s a bigger population. And it’s more centrally located. I have people who rent from Des Moines and Algona.

Snell sees Studio 925 as a place where photographers can come together.

“It’s somewhere we can all work and do our thing,” Snell said. “I think so much with the photography industry, people think it’s competition. But a space like this I wanted to share a space more community over competition. My biggest thing is, I’ve wanted a studio for about three years. I’ve done photography for 4 years. Just because there’s been so many times where with the weather you can’t do a shoot outside. This eliminates the need to have to reschedule a shoot. It gives a backup plan.”

The space offers a variety of people another option to work in a controlled environment.

“If you’re an artist or work from home and need a break from your house, if you’re a student and want somewhere to work, this would be a good space for somebody,” Snell said. “If you just need to leave for a few hours, it’s quiet. Play music, relax a little. I want to have something this summer like a yoga morning, have someone come in and teach yoga. I think that would fun.”

Snell is planning on having a grand opening for Studio 925 in August.

For more information on Snell’s services, email brittany1502@gmail.com .

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