By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Local photographer Alona Cavender’s new business, Studio One Twelve, came about partly via the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So when COVID hit … photographers weren’t essential workers, so I had to cancel a lot of sessions and that was tough as a small business owner and during that time I just kind of started falling in love with design,” she said. “I am a huge DIYer. I change every room in my house and I’m like I still love photography, so how do I marry the photography with the design and that’s kind of where a lot of this stemmed from.”
Her photography and event space, located at 112 W. Market St., Warsaw, includes a variety of sets for customers to use for photos as well as dressing rooms and access to a restroom. The business opened June 4.
The business’ name reflects its address. Cavender, of Winona Lake, noted the name also fits because her birthday is Jan. 12.
She hopes the business meets several needs in the community.
“I have always wanted to have a studio that I could open to other photographers,” she said. “I’ve been a photographer now for about six years, and this is my first studio. And so Indiana, we don’t always get the greatest weather here, and that can limit you to locations to shoot outside. So I knew right away whenever I got a studio I wanted to be able to accommodate photographers who don’t have one.”
Cavender operates Alona K. Photography.
“And then I mean I’m not in this position anymore, but I used to be in a position where money was really tough and getting professional photos done of my kids for you know … Christmas and stuff, it just wasn’t in the cards,” she continued. “And so I wanted to be able to create a space where people could come and still have that cute setup, but not have to pay a photographer for it.”
Cavender said she will change up the sets for various holidays or as creativity strikes her.
“I’ll change them every three months, but then if I get an idea and then I’m like, oh, I’ve got to change this set to match this idea … they’ll be changing pretty often to get a good variety,” she said.
The cost to rent the entire space is $75 an hour. It may also be used by businesses for photos to market their products and as a space to host small events like birthday parties.
Cavender said she can also design sets for events at Studio One Twelve for an additional $150 cost.
“I hope that it just becomes something fun that appeals to the masses,” she said. “We don’t really have anything around here like this and then … when we opened and it was First Friday, families came in and took pictures of their little ones and I had a group of 14-year-olds come in and just like have fun and it’s not really a place where you can get into trouble.”
In addition, Cavender said people may walk in to use the space during any of Warsaw’s First Fridays for only a $10 fee.
She said she might move the business into a larger building in the future.