Hope you’re having a great summer so far! Now, for those of you that have followed me on Instagram for a while, you’ll know that I love a shoot house. But before I get into why it’s a great investment for your shoot, I should explain what a shoot house is… A shoot house is basically where someone who has a beautiful home filled with gorgeous light and fabulously styled (think stunning interiors from a magazine) rents it out to be used for the purpose of a shoot, any kind of shoot really.
Aside from the fact that I love shoot houses (I’m interiors obsessed) there are definite benefits for hiring a shoot house for for your brand shoot:
There’s a lot to prep before a shoot – your styling, clothing, props all need to be chosen and made sure they align with your brand. That, on top of still running your business, do you really want to be running around tidying things away and making sure every surface is clean and shoot ready. Most of us have accumulated a lot of stuff in our houses, things that in the backgrounds of images can look cluttered and too busy. So whilst we want our shoot space to look homely and lived in, we also want those backgrounds to be just that, backgrounds – not a distraction of the main focus in the image, which is you!
It’s a bit like styling your house ready for viewings if you’re selling your house – you want it to look at it’s best. And it’s not a case of just hiding things into corners, our shoot space will be dynamic, using different angles and areas so we don’t want to be wasting time having to move things around for each shot/scene. It will very quickly eat into our time together.
Taking photos needs space to move around in (you don’t want me right up in your face) and you need ample space around you to create those images with negative space to the side and banner images. There’s also the fact that your home may not physically have the areas you need to create those shoot scenes. For instance, for one of my brand shoots, we needed to take photos in a kitchen for Hutch’s Happy Hour, and for that we needed a kitchen island so that we could stand on one side creating cocktails whilst Bry photographed from the other side. This would not have been possible in our own kitchen as it’s a long thin galley kitchen. So a lot of my food based clients for instance need a shoot kitchen!
But the most important factor from a photography perspective is the light. Shoot houses are selected based on the sources of light they offer, for me, that’s plenty of natural light that creates those gorgeous light and bright lifestyle images. Yes, I may still need to use additional lighting, but this is to balance out any shadows or just as an extra pop. Shooting in your own home may not have the luxury of a lot of light, generally houses in the UK have much smaller windows as a way to stop us losing heat, so unless you’ve built something Grand Designs scale or have had a huge modern extension with big windows, there’s a chance your home may be lacking a little in that beautiful abundant light we’re after.
Now, this is not a dig at your décor choice, again, for our own shoot, I love how we’ve decorated our house, but it’s not as on brand as I needed it to be for those photos. Whereas booking a shoot house meant that I could choose a location that had the interiors I wanted for my brand – and that would appeal to my ideal client. Remember, every aspect of your brand shoot needs to come back to your brand message and your ideal client – what would appeal to them and does it back up your messaging.
And this is why it’s important to source your shoot house through the right channels – AirBnB houses are not always what they seem (plus you often can’t actually use them for shoots). Platforms like Styled Home Studios, set up by a brand photographer and interior designer mean that the houses are exactly what we need. The same with the shoot house agencies, the locations are checked and verified. I also use PeerSpace – but a word of warning, not all spaces are as they appear – it’s a bit like AirBnB in that the listings are user generated, but I have had some awesome shoot locations from there, so it’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just not my first port of call.
Where else are we planning on going for your shoot? If there are outside or café scenes to be created, a shoot house may be much better situated for this. This is especially the case if you live in a more rural location but want a variety of scenes. And don’t be fooled – you can get that rural feel in London too, it’s just that things are a bit closer together to be able to create the scenes we need for your brand shoot!
Some of my clients simply don’t want their home on the internet, and I completely get that, I am the same, especially now that we have Jack. It’s one thing to do the odd story or to do lives from your home office space – but they are discrete areas of your home. As I mentioned earlier, we will create lots of different scenes in lots of different spaces within the shoot space, so there’ll be a lot of details of your home on show – especially if you have photos up on the walls. So the use of a shoot house protects that privacy.
In the online world, the word authenticity is used a lot – most of the time correctly, others it’s a marketing spin, but that’s a topic for another day! And so the question raises it’s head – is using a shoot house go against being authentic. And it’s a good one to ask, but if you think about it – you could then question other aspects of a brand shoot. I for instance am writing this blog post in my home office, but I certainly don’t have my hair and makeup done and I’m wearing an oversized t-shirt and a pair of yoga pants (no, I haven’t just done yoga, they are comfy) – this is not a scene you will see in any of my brand photos.
We are not using a shoot house to say that you live there, we are using a shoot house because it provides the backdrop for your messaging – that couch you’re sitting on or that kitchen counter you’re leaning on could be anywhere. What it’s showing is who you are and what you’re doing. The focus of that image is your friendly and open nature, the food you’re preparing, the books you read, etc.
If you’re doing lives and stories from your real home, people are going to know you’re having your shoot in a shoot house – but for all the reasons above – that shoot location needs to tie in with the investment of your brand shoot and the results you get…. The ability to be more visible, to market yourself to your ideal clients and therefore be able to help and support more people.
One of the things I love doing is location sourcing, it’s why shoots with my clients are such a collaborative process. I take the time to get to know you and your brand so that I can suggest locations that really bring all that to life. So if you’re ready to have a shoot that shows who you are and aligns with your business and branding then let’s chat more! Of if you’d like to know more about the Winter Mini Shoot Sessions, join the wait list so you can be the first to find out the details
July 20, 2022