Flash Mob

One photographer is trying to make life a little easier for local shutterbugs.

Earlier this year, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo primped in a Third Ward photography studio before slipping into Nike sneakers. A Milwaukee barber trimmed the “Greek Freak’s” hair, and then a New York City-based photographer began snapping away.

MKE Studio Share – a shared-studio business founded by local portrait photographer Danielle Stoddard – was the backdrop for the Giannis shoot. Before opening the studio in 2013, Stoddard, 35, had been renting space in Walker’s Point while commuting from her Northwest Side home. “I was looking for something like this but it didn’t exist,” she says, and her instinct that other photographers wanted something similar was prescient. MKE Studio Share now has 22 members who use the studio for a monthly fee of $110 that includes nine hours of studio time in three-hour blocks. Daily rentals – the Nike shoot was one – are also available. And she keeps a closet stocked with props and backdrops. After all, if photographers “were going to rent a studio, they’d have to outfit it,” she says.

The studio-share concept – popular in media hubs like New York and Los Angeles – made sense to local photographer Kat Schleicher, who often works on location (and sometimes shoots for this magazine). “The price is right because I’m not there that much,” she says. Paying for her own studio seemed like a wasted expense, yet she sometimes had to turn down work when she didn’t have access to one. Now at MKE Studio Share, she books four shoots per month.

The studio also hosts workshops that draw photographers from all over the country, but Stoddard is happiest when photographers cancel their memberships to open their own studios. “I feel like I’m helping the industry,” she says.

‘Flash Mob’ appears in the November 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the November issue on newsstands Nov. 2

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.