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Starting out as a new professional photographer in Chicago can be quite exciting, but parts can be overwhelming too. You probably won’t have the capital to have your own dedicated photo gallery space, so you’ll want to rent a gallery space instead. Renting a gallery space will save you on some of the overhead and maintenance. It also won’t lock you into long contracts that can be costly.

Here are a few tips to consider when renting your first photography gallery space in Chicago:

Choose the Neighborhood

Chicago has many great areas known for their galleries, so by renting a gallery space in one of those areas is helpful. Not all the areas are as expensive as the West Loop; Wicker Park and Bucktown are both known for their vibrant communities of up and coming artists making them great places to start.

Renting the Gallery

Don’t get talked into renting a gallery site unseen. No matter how much the owner talks the place up or how great the Yelp reviews are, you need to see the space for yourself. You want the location to look clean and professional because a dirty location may lose you potential clients.

Furnish Your Gallery Space

If you are renting the gallery for a long enough time, you’ll want to purchase furniture and lighting that fits your vision and needs exactly. If you’re only renting the gallery space in Chicago for a weekend or even evening show, renting the furnishings you need is your best option. There are gallery spaces, such as Bucktown Gallery’s, that come with some furnishings, so that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Plan for the Future

If you are planning on a long term rental, look for gallery spaces with room to grow. Having to move galleries is stressful and expensive, save yourself the hassle by planning for the future when you pick your first gallery space.

Promote Your Gallery

Once you have your gallery all set up, it’s time to get people in the doors. You’ll need to promote your gallery so people know it’s there. Word of mouth will only get you so far in the beginning, so social media blasts and engaging with the artist community in your area are good ways to bring in potential clientele.