Are Hotels a Viable Studio Alternative?
Studio rentals can be expensive by the hour and can subject to availability by location and slots available for photography. When lighting and modifiers are provided, such equipment may not be what a photographer is comfortable using on a regular basis. Home studios are an option, but of course that means bringing strangers into your home as well as a dedicated space in most cases. Owning a studio property almost requires a steady income to cover the cost of operating the property even if it is not used on a regular basis. So, can Hotels be an occasional option?
There are reasons why this could be an attraction option in some cases. Hotels are available in almost any location that one can think of so they are convenient for the photography and modeling community. They are certainly cost effective when comparing an equivalent amount of time in a commercial studio space. Some major hotel chains even have restaurants and other stores nearby.
On the other hand, hotel chains discourage commercial operations on their property. In some cases, you may actually be told to leave if management discovers that you are engaging in a photoshoot. As with anything, some careful planning is needed when deciding if a hotel is right for you.
- Have you actually visited the hotel before? What are the rooms like? Some budget hotels have rather small rooms with furniture bolted to the floor so it can not be moved.
- What do you plan to shoot? A straightforward boudoir, lifestyle, or fashion shoot may work out well, but if you are shooting something potentially messy you could end up with a cleanup bill on your credit card.
- How much equipment will you need? Keeping it to essentials will benefit you. If you are noticed carrying in bags of equipment or worse yet assembled photo gear you could attract unwanted attention.
- Are you shooting with a single subject, or a group throughout the day? High levels of foot traffic in and out of your room may also attract unwanted attention, especially if you are not in a resort area. Also keep in mind that space will likely be limited. Any model should be attentive to wardrobe especially outside of your room.
- Perceptions- There may be excellent reasons why a hotel is a good idea such as a suitable studio may not be located at an area where both you and your talent wish to work. On the other hand, your professionalism may be questioned if you book a bargain rate hotel in an isolated place.
If you do decide a hotel is a good choice, here are some additional tips:
- Exercise superior communication with any talent. Specifically WHY are you shooting at THAT hotel? Stay on concept which is important for any photoshoot and avoid changing concepts simply because a bed is available. Working with professional models is highly encouraged since experienced models are likely to understand your reasoning for shooting at a hotel.
- Choose at least a mid-range hotel. Talent walking into a room with stained carpets and water stained walls will not give your talent a good impression of you as a professional.
- If your room has an exposed window exposed to the outside, close the curtains. Other hotel guests may easily walk past your room.
- Consider your angles and strobe power. Strobe flashes, particularly during the evening, may attract unwanted attention.
With a little preparation and good communication, a hotel may your answer to getting some great images.