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| p.1 #3 · Boudoir Photography Questions for the Pros |
The only real cost to the hotel is room cleaning. Here that's about $30 which would of course depend on the room. If you tell them that you are doing a photo shoot and looking at it as an ongoing thing, you should be able to negotiate a much better rate than the std room rate.
This will of course depend on when you want the room and how booked they are at that time.
A lot of hotels in the cities are often relatively quiet on weekends because many of the business/ conference guests go home on weekends. Might vary place to place, just ask.
I have got places before in trade for shooting new images for their web sites brochures or advertising. I did this for one place and the wouldn't take any money off me for a year. Then they asked me to cover an event they had been promoting and put me up and fed me for the night as well and wouldn't take any money again till I stopped going there because all the shoots were starting to look a bit the same and I had run out of ideas for working there.
2. As above, just let them know you want the place for business purposes and there will be no one staying there. Perhaps offer to recommend the place to your brides and see if they want to give you some coupons or something to help you promote them.
Also ask them if there is anything they need in the way of photography you could help them out with. Personnel shots, their rooms or facilities, some shots of food...
Also, be smart and do your home work. have a look on their website or advertising in guedes or whatever and see what their current pics are like. They may be really ordinary as I have found and I have been straight up and told the managers, I can make your place look far more attractive in your promotional material, i'm prepared to shoot your establishment and I can do this idea and that and it will cost you nothing. All I would like to do is have the use of a room to photograph my clients in as needed.
The ones I have run that by have loved it. It potential improves their black column without them having to pay out anything which goes in the red column. It's all about budgets, revenue, costs and occupancy rates with them. Help them out favourably and you can get a long way.
No matter what the deal you are able to do, I would be passing the normal value or 75% of it onto the brides. It sounds to me like you are way too cheap already and if they want to shoot at a place you don't have an arrangement with, You will have to pay unless you state room hire is up to them. If you do have a deal with the location you want a return on the promo work you had to do to get the arrangement.
If you are shooting one session a day, then they pay full tilt and if you are shooting 2 or more, divide the cost up. Easy.
3. Guest Houses.
I had a client I used to shoot with his wife and they would send me locations they liked and we'd pretty much choose them together. We did the beach and the mountains and the city and a country place amongst a couple of others. The guest houses are great because you have more than a bedroom and a bathroom to shoot inas with hotels unless you get a suite and that limits yourself to the bigger places that may not be interested in doing deals.
The place I mentioned above that let me shoot there for nothing was a guest house and was bloody great. They had a large fireplace in the main lounge room and when I stayed there, the manager said I could shoot there when every one went to bed ( which happened surprisingly early and showed me where to turn the lights off and make sure the fire was safe. Made the most of it and did shots around the front desk and even in the kitchen.
During the day I could use the grounds as well with a heads up from the manager where was out of the way and how many people were in the place at the time and if they were in or had gone out sight seeing. It was a great place to shoot... the first 20 times
If you go to a mainstream hotel, you get a bedroom/ living room and a bathroom and everything is painted off white. Frankly these places Kill me to shoot in because they are just so bloody bland.
The boutique hotels are a lot better because usually they have a style about them be it modern or period. Once Big city place I used for a while had a rooftop pool, gym and open area overlooking the city. It was great to use in the day and even better at night.
One other place that I used was a Brothel. Every room was set up to a different theme. There was a presidential Room, the egyptian room, the bondage room ( which wasn't much good because it was painted entirely black) the harem room and a couple of others I now forget.
I had to get in there early in the morning and be out before they opened at 11am.
It was an awesome place to shoot because All I had to do was take my lights from one room to the other, shoot a test and it was all set up like another studio. Brilliant.
I told the clients I was on a time clock and we had to work fast but it was easy in this place because I moved the lights while the client changed outfits and we were shooting again inside of 10 min.
Only drawback was it was a city location so you had to battle the morning peak hour traffic which meant heading off really early in order to have 3 hours shoot time. From memory I was paying them $50 per shoot and then they asked me to shoot their facilities and we did that as a trade for me using the place.
Another one I used a few times was a Marina.
They had 60ft Luxury yachts they hired out and there was generally at least 1 that was in dock I could shoot on. These places are like a floating hotel suite and there is a lot you can do on them inside and out.
they give the shots a sense of luxury that's hard to equal.
These Yachts are booked well in advance so the person looking after them has a really good idea when they will be in, out, being cleaned or serviced and can tell you when one will be available so you can organise the date with your client.
4. As with any location I shoot at, I look for maximum variety of sets or scenery with the least distance to travel unless you theme it like the yachts.
In the guest house which was over 100 years old, there were a lot of features in different rooms. as long as I didn't ruffle the bead or leave any sign I'd been there necessitating the room be made over, I could use them. In this case there were different windows and wallpaper and decores.
In the grounds there was a huge machinery shed with a tractor and some stuff in it, a lot of landscaped grounds and flowers, a large fountain/ pond, tennis court, pool and a very rocky "grotto" area.
I'm looking at getting back into the glamours this coming summer and the idea I have is to find 3 or more places with different themes and promote them to the clients as location option 1, 2 or 3.
If I can find more as I go, great.
It gets easier as you go as well when you learn the lingo and the way they work and can namedrop where you have been before, show some samples etc.