Ark City office building transforming into photo studio

Chelsea Taylor worked Wednesday to install photo backgrounds at her new portrait studio at 600 S. Summit St., in Arkansas City. Taylor specializes in senior portraits and model portfolios.

An office building on South Summit Street in Arkansas City that once served as the home of an insurance agency is now a portrait studio.

Chelsea Taylor purchased the building in May and began taking photos there and remodeling the interior.

Taylor said she has more than 15 years of portrait photography experience and has operated a business in Ark City since 2014.

She specializes in senior portraits and portfolio work for models, but does not do children or weddings.

Taylor said she had been working out of a rented location that only served as a place to meet clients. There was no area for a studio, so most of her photography took place outdoors.

Then she saw the building at 600 S. Summit St., and realized it would be a perfect for a studio. Property records show the office building dates back to 1925. It most recently housed an American Family Insurance office that closed several years ago.

“This building had been empty for awhile,” said Taylor, who on Wednesday was installing shelves, hanging pictures and putting other finishing touches on the inside. “The windows and the natural light were the reason I purchased it.”

Taylor said she prefers to do all of her photography by natural light and doesn’t like using a flash or other artificial lighting.

In the building, Taylor can set up special backdrops and other studio props. There is an area designed for cosmetic needs such as makeup touches, she said, and dressing rooms for clients who want to change outfits.

Taking photos and remodeling at the same time have been challenging, Taylor said. Replacing the flooring and baseboards had to be done before she could bring in clients.

“I was blessed in the fact that the paint was fresh when we moved in,” she said.

She plans to use the slower winter months complete finishing touches, such as putting up shelves, sample portraits and other interior decorations.

“My busy season is basically July to November,” she said.

Taylor can be contacted at

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