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Qualities you must have to be a Great Studio Manager

As I am working for a photo editing company and mainly handling clients, I often get a lot of studio managers as our client and by working with them I figured out some of the common skills they all have. What are the skills which have led them to be a successful studio manager? I will try to share my knowledge throughout this article which may help you to be a better studio manager.

Main Qualities of a Great Studio Manager

Great Attitude

A person running or maintaining any studio must have a great attitude. The energy and the spirit that a manager possesses in any certain studio determines how the staff will be driven and that also sets a new level about how the rest of the people working out there interacts.

To be more explicit, the more positive energy and good vibes possessed by the studio manager, the better the team spirit the studio is supposed to have and vice-versa. Hence, we can conclude that a great positive attitude is of utmost importance.

No sugarcoating

Sugar Coating means to make something superficially attractive or acceptable. It means that a great studio manager would demonstrate things the exact way it is and not in any other way by doing some sort of an addition or subtraction to the matter.

Furthermore, the person is likely to provide you feedback according to the situation and let you know where the problems are. They would get to the point right away.

Scheduling and punctuality

Punctuality is a particular quality that should be possessed by people working in each and every sector regardless of the category. It serves as one of the deciding factors that determine whether someone would be embraced by success or be slapped by failure.

For a studio manager, scheduling and punctuality are of the utmost importance. Any certain Studio Manager must be able to properly decide on how to make the best use of each day’s time along with the space available in the studio and maximize the usability of the equipment available in order to maximize the profit and productivity of the studio.

Technical Skills

Technical skills are of great importance in most of the sectors. The more technical knowledge someone has over his field, the more capable he is considered to be in that particular field. 

It doesn’t matter what your studio is about in particular. You need to be able to do some certain work there. For example, on certain occasions, studio managers might be called upon to install, operate, maintain, or troubleshoot some technical problems or equipment. They may also have to schedule repairs of equipment. Thus, technical experience may turn out to be highly valuable in such circumstances.


For everyone in power, the person should have the utmost flexibility. This is because remaining flexible is quite important regardless of what the power is or who the person is.

Yes, there may be times when things don’t always go as it should have been going. In such scenarios, if you are able to make quick decisions when tough situations come up and if you are able to roll with the punches, then you have the qualities of a great manager.

When any difficult or tough situation arises, you expect a manager to think on their feet and come to decisions without running to here and there every single time. A manager should be able to run the studio even when there are not many other people around and the company is going through a tough situation.

To be more specific, everything should be running smoothly when the others in the top posts are not present in the office or studio and everything is on the hands of the manager in the off-hours.

Willingness to work

The best manager one can hire is someone who is not at all afraid to get in the tough post of the job and simply get the job done. That means that they are there for any sort of work the studio needs. The person selected as the studio manager will be ready to do any sort of job and not give any excuses when certain tasks are assigned to him. 

Basically, a manager should be willing to do any sort of work that is necessary for the studio to keep running.

Invoicing and tracking

Whenever any client uses any of the studio’s resources, they have to pay for it. It is the task of the studio manager to set up the client’s accounts and invoicing the clients for the time they are using it. Finally, they should be able to track through all of the invoices so that all of the payments are made properly and they are paid in full.


A good manager is one who is not afraid to accept responsibility for his mistakes and at the same time, he is also there to enjoy glory when good things happen.

In short, a proper and great studio manager should never hesitate to admit the mistakes that he has made and fix them or make amends at the earliest possible opportunity and resolve them.

In the same way, a great manager should also be able to hold the staff accountable and liable for their jobs and any mistakes that they have made. All this is done so that the studio runs smoothly without any issue or without creating any further problems.


As your studio manager, you do not want someone who is not responsible and mature enough. This is a very vital post and should be handled by someone who has got the proper sense of maturity.

Maturity is considered to be an important trait in managers of any sort as it ensures that they can remain cool even when the situation is a tough one. Furthermore, it is important that they don’t get carried away by their frustration or anger while they are doing their job.

Team management

As a studio manager, you often have to deal with third-party services. For example, when you shoot thousands of photos a day, you always don’t have all of the resources in-house. You may then need to go for some outsourcing companies who can help you out. But like every sector, you will find both good and bad companies. You need to know which company would be better for your project. Is it cost-friendly or not? If the answer is yes, then you can go to that company.

The primary role of a creative studio manager is to provide support and management to the entire design team who is working and also to communicate with the clients. This is a quite crucial role. The reason behind this is that if there is no creative studio manager then the entire responsibility of communicating with the clients would go to the designers. This will have a negative impact as it will take away time from the designers hindering their ability to work on the project and show their creativity.

Educational Requriements

Education is not mandatory but its good to have a relevant degree, Holly Booth is a successful commercial photographer and holding a degree of it. But it doesn’t mean without a degree you can’t be a successful photographer.

On the other hand, you can consider Jaime Travezan, a UK based photographer. He has got his degree in architecture, but he is also quite successful as well. Hence, you can conclude that it is better if you have got a relevant degree but having it is not a must. 

All you need to have is the proper skills that are needed to be a photographer.

Key roles of a studio manager

If your background is design-oriented or your company structure requires it, then you might also consider working on the creative side where you need to assist with the design. Besides, you might also need to provide some creative direction which is quite an easy task for you if you are from a creative background. 

The next task would be to create and make an estimate on the project times needed and handling the complete studio management. Here the key role would be to keep everyone up to date on the project status on how much time is needed and what is the progress.

Another task would be to create and implement workflow and do project management processes so that it makes a smooth and efficient project lifecycle.

Managing a project right from briefing to completion would be another major task of a successful studio manager. Here the key responsibilities would be to take a brief from the clients and to consolidate the client’s needs and assigning the projects to the designers accordingly. Finally, through all of these, the main task would be to manage outputs and ensure that the deadlines are met.

Quality control is of utmost importance here. The key roles needed to be played here to always check whether or not it matches all of the requirements set by the client before you deliver the project. This is a must.

There may be times in the work process that the workload is intense and at its peak. It might be driving you crazy. During such a tough period, your task would be to make things go as smoothly as possible. You can do this by giving your effort in the work, and you do some work if necessary. This is only possible if your background is from that particular design sector. Furthermore, if the situation needs, then you might need to hire a freelancer by judging all the appropriate qualities in the freelancer.

There may be times when you will get photos from your photo editing partner. At those times, to ensure your quality, you can check them out whether they match your quality or not. 

There may be times when you will find your one to be of inferior quality than the ones sent by your partner. Then you can try to improve your quality as there is always the chance for improvement.

Also, you will need to do the proofreading which means checking the documents before they keep on piling up your inbox.

Assessment and briefing the management is also a key factor. You need to help your designers understand by celebrating all the wins and also make everyone regret the losses. You can do so by doing some proper discussions and also you can share your ideas on how situations can be handled even better in the near future.

For example, if you are from the graphic design sector, you can guide your team on how to use the tools in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator wisely to make your workflow buttery smooth.

On the other hand, if you are an expert on animation or video editing, then you might need to make efforts in guiding your team on how to properly use all of the software such as After Effects and Premiere Pro easily.

All of these serve great, but will not take place if you are not from a graphic design background.

Skills of a studio manager

Successful studio managers should possess extremely well multi-tasking skills. With these multitasking skills, they face all of the responsibilities that they encounter.

They also have great communication skills as when it comes to dealing with any clients they are the ones who need to face them. They are the first point of contact when it comes to dealing with clients.

Stated above are all of the general roles which are supposed to be present in someone who is seeking to be a great studio manager. In addition to those general skills, employers usually look for Studio Manager, then they look for a handful of skills. These skills can be categorized into two basic parts. They are core skills and advanced skills.

Core skills: 

According to the job listings which are available, employers consider studio managers with the following core skills: 

  • Client relations skills
  • Team management skills
  • Accountability skills
  • Time management skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability skills

These are the core skills that should be possessed by anyone who is opting to be a great studio manager of contemporary time.

Advanced skills: 

Advanced skills are usually not any necessities in the job posting which can be found however, they are usually mentioned as to get preferences while applying for jobs.

Hence, if you are seeking for jobs and are trying to broaden up your career options, you can consider adding them up in your skill list.

  • Someone who has attended certain training sessions related to the industry in which one wants to work for example graphic design, or anything similar.
  • Another thing is to experience managing large teams of people who can control a good collection of people. If one has served a large community or an organization, then it is a plus point.

Studio Manager Q n A

  • What are some of the core duties performed by a studio manager?

Some of the key duties that a studio manager performs are opening the studio in the morning. Furthermore, it is usually he who is the first person to enter the studio and set up the atmosphere.

He should also make sure that everything is working fine and they should be as per the rule. It means everything should be working perfectly.

Alongside all of these, there might be some additional duties such as answering phone calls, setting everything up, and also maybe ordering for lunch.

  • What challenges does a studio manager face?

The challenges that a studio manager faces often is to serve clients with a variety. This means that he must have enough skills to do so and undertake his duty perfectly.

  • What skills do studio managers use most?

The skills which are mostly used by studio managers are communication skills. This is because being a studio manager he needs to communicate with the clients, with the colleagues, and also with a lot of other people on a daily basis so that the agency runs smoothly.

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