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Bradenton photographer has big plans for small-scale events

Rana Tierney is turning a backdrop for photo shoots into a second business. It’s a major six-figure investment, and what she hopes will be a big tipping point.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. May 23, 2023
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The courtyard of Tierney Lane, also known as the "secret garden" is just one of the perks of renting the space. Pictured is Rana Tierney.
The courtyard of Tierney Lane, also known as the "secret garden" is just one of the perks of renting the space. Pictured is Rana Tierney.
Courtesy photo
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What Bradenton area photographer Rana Tierney once used as a backdrop for photo shoots while being owned by someone else is now her dream space: a historic-style home she rents out for events. 

And she has big hopes for the home, a refurbished 1924 bungalow off Manatee Avenue she bought in August for $550,000. She's dubbed the home Tierney Lane and has transformed into an intimate event space to host things like bridal or baby showers, birthdays and small business parties. Tierney says it’s even been used for events like murder mysteries, retreats, intimate weddings and a charcuterie workshop.

As a photographer herself, Tierney hopes the 2,200 square foot space, 2004 6th Ave. W., is welcoming to other photographers and videographers to rent. It features six rooms, two bathrooms and a commercial kitchen.  She also hopes the space can become a winning spot for small events in Bradenton, where a common refrain from people is 'there's not enough event spaces.'

“It’s one of those places, the minute you step through the door you can see why it would be an amazing place for an event,” she adds. The decor inside is a mix of modern and French cottage. “It’s very charming.” 

“I want it to be the go-to place for small, intimate events,” she says, adding she’s had clients from Sarasota and Tampa. “I think people don’t mind traveling if it fits their vision.” 

But getting to that vision wasn't necessarily easy.

“Last year we were in the height of the real estate market,” she says, so making a huge investment of buying her dream location for $550,000 was definitely not easy. According to Zillow, the lot was last listed for $179,900 in 2014.

At least in terms of buildout, Tierney says “nothing,” was needed. “It was literally in perfect shape.” Though some painting was needed and a few personal touches. 

Rana Tierney used this house as a backdrop for photoshoots while renting a photography studio across the street. Now it's her event space.
Courtesy photo

Tierney, who’s run Roohi Photography since 2008, had previously used the building as a backdrop for clients’ photos while it was owned by someone else.     

About four years ago, she was renting a space in a strip mall right behind Tierney Lane, where if you looked out the window, you could see Tierney Lane. 

“I always envisioned it being mine,” Tierney says. So she reached out to the person who owned it. About a year later, the owner was ready to sell. 

Tierney Lane wasn’t born the traditional way. There was no set business plan or model. That’s exactly how she started Roohi Photography, and seeing as it’s been around for 15 years, she wasn’t about to change anything. 

“I’ve always been a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of person,” she says. “When I started my photography business, the first time I picked up a camera I knew that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I never had a business plan. I just knew that if I worked hard that I would create something amazing.” 

Ditto for Tierney Lane, where she also didn’t have a plan. “I just knew that I always wanted to own an old, historic home,” she says. “And it happened. It didn’t have to be perfect as long as I just started working.” 

“People who are very business oriented probably think that’s the craziest thing to say.”

But she’s learned a lot about herself in the 15 years since Roohi Photography was born, including that she’s “a great business person. Photography is creative, but I have to be business-minded first. That’s the only way to run a successful business.”

“I knew what I wanted to provide for my clients,” she says. 

While she didn’t have a plan, she didn’t go into business blind either. She took the time to research how to start a business, how to stay in business, how to reconcile accounts. And figuring out the difference between an LLC and a sole proprietorship. 

Knowing these things made it easier to go into business with Tierney Lane. 

“I knew what to do going in,” she says. This time, she’s not going at it alone either. She hired an assistant who helps run the business. “It’s nice to have a sidekick.”

It seems to be working for Tierney who says the business had already broken even at the seven-month mark in April.  

“Eventually we’ll start making a profit,” Tierney says, “but as long as I can break even right now, I feel successful.” 


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