I hate shooting out of rooms! Hate, hate, hate it!

To ME and me alone, it looks unprofessional. It looks cheesy it looks trashy. Now I’m not saying there aren’t amazing images out there shot out of bedrooms/hotel rooms, just saying when I do it I hate it.

Before you start to judge me, let’s go way back to September of 2001 to my first “professional” shoot. I had spent many years prior to that shooting street photography. I decided there was too much of a police detainment/jail risk and decided to start shooting models. Like hundreds of guys before me, I wanted to be published in Playboy so I started out looking for models. My first two shoots were in the same day. The first shoot was with a very pretty young lady who didn’t do much else after and the other was with a topless model. I wanted to make my break into paysites and Playboy so the nude shoot I wanted to be in a room. I rented a hotel room and shot the clothed model in the common area and the nude model in the room.

The model showed up and had already been shooting for about eight hours prior to my shoot. I was shooting with an Olympus CZ2100 and 35mm film camera and was ready to knock, Heff, on his butt. The above photos were the result. I was happy to be shooting boobs and the next day was totally let down by the work. Like really let down. I gave up on model photography and swore it off. I was able to sell the images to a paysite owner as he loved the “amateur feel” of the photos. So I made some money from my first ever topless shoot, but hated the results.

A few months later I purchased strobes and was on a mission to really give model photography a try. I purchased a backdrop, stand and Britek lights. Sessions weren’t so bad at all! I actually ended up enjoying it and got back to work. I eventually went back to shooting in rooms and hated it. Fast forward a few years and while I hated it still, it wasn’t as terrible.

It took me some time to figure out what the issue was; me! The reason why I disliked shooting out of rooms is the amount of equipment you have to lug in to get equal separation and distance in lighting. I’m usually a one man band when it comes to shooting so carrying four loads past hotel employees who forbid photography in their rooms is a lot of work. Especially if you’re only staying one night. Then you have to worry about the strobe pop showing under the door and through the peep hole and the sound. Most importantly, for me, you have to have the correct number of strobes to get the lighting right. You have to have two on the model, two as rim, maybe one as hair and no less than two or three on the background to give that 3d separation. Too much work, right? Right.

This is why I’m not a fan of shooting in rooms. Too much work and I can never get the images to look satisfactorily to my specifications. Now if I have a studio rented all day, yes, I can set everything up and work it, but those times are rare for me.

Here are a few more shots that aren’t as bad, but notice hardly any strobes were used, majority was just one lens, one reflector and model:



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