By Joe James
Blank Studio NYC is a family project, founded by sisters Marni and Willa Blank, who combine their business and creative sides to run a successful studio in New York. Blank Studio NYC is open to photo shoots – with the option to rent the equipment on site – and events. We had a chat with Marni and Willa of Blank Studio NYC to find out more.
Production Paradise: Marni, you come from a law and real estate background, and Willa has expertise in fashion and interior design. How have your different, yet complementary backgrounds helped you to arrive here with your own studio?
Marni Blank: It was definitely not a straight path. Willa had experience with photo studios from the other side, renting and shooting in them for various brands. After working with a variety of studios and seeing what they had to offer, she knew there was a hole in the offering. You can get something very inexpensive that has zero amenities and is inconveniently located or something that is high end and offers everything but charges you an arm and a leg for anything on top of the physical space itself. We knew we could fill that void and offer something unique. I was working in real estate at the time and started searching for spaces. Once we found our studio in Soho, everything sort of fell into place.
Production Paradise: Aside from the iconic Soho location within New York, how are your facilities different from other studios?
Marni Blank: We wanted to create a warm environment, different from the typical sterile white box studio. We include grip and expendables in the rental, coffee/espresso/tea/cold beverages are always stocked in our kitchen, and our staff tries to be as helpful and solution-oriented as possible. Our goal is to make everything “easy” so our clients can focus on being creative.
Production Paradise: With a lot of well-known clients having used your studio, such as Esquire and InStyle, are there any projects shot at Blank Studio NYC, which really stand out? (Maybe you can share an interesting story of a photoshoot?)
Willa Blank: I think one of our favorites was Rag & Bone. It was our first studio booking, and renovations to the studio were not entirely finished. That, of course, was their vision for the shoot. There were wires and insulation hanging out of the walls and generally still under construction. It was very exciting to see the final images from that shoot, to mark the beginning of our business. Mostly we love watching our clients use the studio in different ways, and capture different details. They always look unique.
Production Paradise: Could you please tell us more about upcoming exciting projects on the horizon?
Willa Blank: We have started our own speaker series around the idea of “getting your shit together”. We have amazing speakers and workshops coming up in the areas of love and relationships, career, personal finance, and health and wellness. This is all a part of creating an inviting and engaging environment in the studio. We want to offer something back to our clients and community that gives opportunity for learning and growth.
Production Paradise: Finally, could you tell us how Production Paradise has been a useful tool for you?
Marni Blank: It is great to be featured amongst other great studios, photographers, and industry professionals. Always important to be up-to-date on what is being created and by whom.
We’d all like to say a big thank you to Marni for taking the time to answer our questions. To hear the latest news, look out for the next New York Showcase Magazine and check Blank Studio NYC website.