Calling all photographers, social media influencers, and selfie enthusiasts. Downtown Bay City will soon offer a studio where you can rent space to take portraits or shoot show-stopping selfies.
Local photographer Erin Poltorak is transforming her newly-rented space from a dentist’s office into The Shoot and Share Studio
, located within the Davidson Building at 916 Washington Ave, Suite 100. The roughly 1,600-square-foot space will house both a photography studio and a selfie museum. Poltorak also owns Erin Jane Studios
, her photography business that focuses on family portraits and personal branding.
While it will be the first of its kind in Bay County, selfie museums are becoming increasingly popular in larger cities around the state, such as Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Detroit, says Poltorak. In fact, the idea to open one locally came to her when she and some friends visited one.
“I went with some girlfriends to one downstate, and it was just fun to get out and do something different together. With TikTok and Instagram being so popular, they are becoming more common,” Poltorak says.
“The Selfie Museum will be an area where people can come take pictures with different set-ups. It could be for fun, like a girls’ day out, or people can use it for social media needs like Instagram, or even for businesses and influencers. There will also be a studio rental space available, which gives photographers, especially new ones, an opportunity to work in a studio with all the equipment right there,” Poltorak explains.
“Starting out, it is hard to find a space to take photos. I want to give photographers a professional space to meet clients in. We will have props, lights, and backdrops available as part of the space rental. We hope to offer classes one day as well.”
Rental of the space will be by the hour, or through a subscription model with the option to pay each month. The selfie museum can be reserved, allowing groups to have the place to themselves.
Poltorak sees many opportunities for the space.
“It could be used for events as well with tables in the studio area and access to the selfie museum, like a baby shower or a bridal shower. It could serve as a mini event space as well for events and fundraisers.”
Finding the right location was a bit of a challenge initially. Poltorak needed to find the right amount of space, but also valued parking and accessibility. The space they ended up choosing is on the first floor and right off the lobby of the Davidson Building.
“The downtown area of Bay City has just been booming the last few years, and there has always been something that attracted me to things that are historic,” Poltorak says. “Being right in the center of that, being a part of that area, and being a part of the revitalization is so special.”
Poltorak is extremely grateful for the support of the Bay City Downtown Development Authority
in promoting the business. She also notes that Rod Hildebrandt and family, owners of the Davidson Building, are very small business-centric.
“We have felt very comfortable working with them. It is really nice to see a place be supportive of new business ideas. They seem excited about seeing the building being renovated and being used again.”
Prior to being a dental office, this space used to house the Regent Theatre within the Davidson Building, so Poltorak and her crew have been working hard to gut the space, exposing some of the original beams and high ceilings. New floors still need to go in, as well as the creation of multiple set-ups for the studio and selfie museum.
“Our selfie museum is medium sized and will have between 15 and 20 set-ups with an additional seasonal area that will rotate,” Poltorak says.
Some of the planned backdrops include a flower wall with a vintage teal bike, a vintage ice cream bar, a vintage recording booth, a swing, a rainbow wall, and a birthday set-up.
Poltorak hopes her new business will serve an important role in the community for all residents, whether for fun or for the expansion of their businesses and services. The Shoot and Share Studio aims to open to residents during the last week of June or the first weeks of July.