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Access Affordable Studio Space, Photo Equipment at PhotoHub

A new space in Industry City offers freelance photographers access to equipment and rental space at a low cost.

Tackling a passion project just became easier for aspiring photographers.

PhotoHub, launched by the Freelancers Union last month, offers independent photographers rental space and photo equipment for their business.

Located inside Industry City in Sunset Park, PhotoHub was created with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) New York, and MPB, a platform used to buy, sell and trade photo and video equipment. 

“We see the rise of social media and content creation being the main source in which people are creating job opportunities [and] creating financial opportunities for themselves,” Rafael Espinal, executive director of the Freelancers Union told BK Reader. 

"Spaces like this become ever more important,” so independent photographers can create marketing opportunities for themselves, he said. 

Anyone looking to reserve a time slot to shoot portraits, headshots or product photos can book through the Freelancers Union website. Members of the ASMP can book the space for free, while non-members pay $60. The space is equipped with over $20,000 worth of professional equipment – including cameras, lighting and backdrops, donated by MPB. 

Rafael Espinal alongside others officially opened The PhotoHub in December 2023. Provided/Estoria Dent

The Photo Hub is another addition to the Union’s efforts to close the equality gap and democratize accessibility for independent workers, according to Espinal. With quality photo equipment costing upward of a thousand dollars for newer photographers and rental spaces charging by the hour, the Photo Hub’s mission is to grant individuals the space to hone their skills without the financial burden.    

So far, many patrons are shocked by the quality of rental equipment that's available at the low cost.   

"The PhotoHub has been incredibly helpful," said a patron of the hub who goes by the alias Patience Ozougwu. "Having free access as an ASMP member has been so perfect and really helps me preserve my finances while still learning as much as possible and experimenting with studio lighting!"

It has just about every possible equipment a photographer could need whether you're advanced or beginner, Ozougwu said. 

The Freelancers Hub started in 2018 in DUMBO and moved two years ago to Industry City, a 16-building complex that is 70% occupied with businesses, retail shops, and restaurants, according to Jim Somoza, Industry City’s managing director. 

The Union is the first city-funded initiative to provide training, resources and networking opportunities to the 1.3 million freelancers in the city. The hub allows independent workers to choose from a free membership which includes 10 free coworking days in the space or a paid unlimited membership for $30 per month.

“I think that the fact that it [PhotoHub] was done as a collaboration with MPB just speaks to what happens at IC [Industry City],” explained Somoza. “You see people walking around all day becoming friends, creating relationships that end up turning into these collaborations of tenants.”  

The Union hopes to continue building an environment where freelancers feel welcome to pursue their dreams, according to Espinal. As the son of freelancers himself, his goal is to expand access to the Hub to include other resources, like equipment for graphic designers, writers and videographers. 

The PhotoHub is located at 242 37th Street, Building 1, Suite A328. 

Brianna Robles

About the Author: Brianna Robles

Brianna Robles is a Brooklyn, NY based freelance writer and journalist specializing in sharing stories about mental health and spectacular women.
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