Wedding Photographer

Cambridge creatives have their own space

Open Space is opening a new studio in Cambridge to try to create a network of spaces for influencers, photographers and creatives of all types in the Waterloo region

In the age of tech startups and digital media, another non-traditional industry is looking to open its doors in Waterloo Region: influencer.

Over the past few years, Open Space has made efforts to create more spaces for creatives like social media influencers, photographers and podcasters in Waterloo Region.

With the opening of their new location at 20 Park Hill Rd. E, Cambridge will have the opportunity to have a professional space to create content.

“There just wasn’t space to properly showcase your work without giving credit to Toronto, we just found that everyone needed it,” said Brandon Taylor, co-founder of Open Space.

Taylor is an award-winning wedding photographer from Kitchener and wanted to see more spaces like these closer to home, rather than making the trip to Toronto or a bigger city.

The new space in Cambridge is on two separate floors of the former Ray Electric Ltd building. Originally built in 1899 as a shoe factory, the old industrial style and windows provide the perfect ambiance and ample natural light, ideal for a photographer or creative.

“The whole wall was just a mirror, because it was an old dance studio, so it was a lot of work, but it kind of makes it look imperfectly perfect,” Taylor said.

For years, the heritage building housed martial arts dojos, dance studios, and other commercial stores.

Since the building was acquired in 2021 by Hamilton-based investment firm Forge & Foster, they have made it their mission to transform the 40,000 square foot building into a hub for creative, culinary and business ventures.

Taylor and her two other co-owners Tiffany Lynn, a wedding photographer, and Hilary Rigo, a floral designer, have transformed this former dance studio into a place where creative talents of all kinds can come to work.

“It’s a completely free-to-use space,” Taylor said. “It’s up to you how you want to use your time here.”

The free and private space of judgment is something Taylor has said he is determined to have.

“There’s a lot of trial and error sometimes when you’re trying to shoot for Instagram or even do a podcast. There’s no one here standing over your shoulder to pressure you,” said Taylor.

Silvana Eusse is the head of communications for Open Space and she said they get clients who shoot content for big brands or influencers who just want to have photo shoots.

Each of Park Hill’s spaces has different vibes; Melrose, has an impeccably clean, all-white look. Everything in this studio is lit by massive windows in an industrial loft style.

After a trip in the century-old service elevator, the second studio, Casa awaits you at the end of the hall.

This studio has a minimalist desert chic look, with a custom bed, plenty of natural light, and desert-style plants to complete the theme.

In this studio, Serena Pitt and her fiancé Joe Amabile from The Bachelor show came for a photo shoot with other influencers and photographers.

This studio not only functions as a space for creatives, but location is key; it is right next to the Cambridge Mill, a popular wedding venue.

“The Cambridge Mill is just across the street, this space is a wedding photographer’s dream,” Taylor said. “The wedding party can get ready here and take pictures and go across the street and get married.”

Open Space limits nothing to what can happen in their studios, from boudoir shoots in the Casa studio to events and art galleries in the Melrose studio, Taylor and his team want their spaces to be used without ceilings.

“It’s really nice to have a friendly atmosphere here. We want to make sure we’re helping the creators and answering as many questions as possible, you know, just talk like we’re like friends going through this together,” Taylor said.