A Guide To Shooting While In Las Vegas

October 20, 2009

in Featured, Instruction

It’s Las Vegas week here on Photographer and Model. I’m going to Las Vegas Wednesday night and staying through the weekend. This week’s guest on the podcast is Tiffany Jackson, a Las Vegas model. While I’m in Vegas I’m going to be shooting with Tiffany and another model.

Beware the Vegas Model (Not Tiffany)

Beware the Vegas Model (Not Tiffany)

While interviewing Tiffany for the podcast I talked to her a little about the Dos and Don’ts of shooting while in Vegas. I thought it would be cool to expand on that with her and create an article for the blog, so I got her on the phone and asked her some questions.

Before I get into her tips, I wanted to point out something. Vegas models want to shoot with you. As Tiffany put it in the podcast, there aren’t a lot of photographers who shoot in Las Vegas, but everyone travels there sometime. So in order for the Vegas models to expand their portfolios, they look for traveling photographers.

Tiffany’s Dos and Don’ts

Make sure of your travel details. Be sure the trip is actually going to happen. You need to know when you are going to be there. You can’t expect models to wrap their schedules around you and then change it at the last minute.

Don’t assume everything cool is in one place. You are probably going to have to move around. It is best to rent a car, so you can get from location to location.

You can’t shoot in a casino. Security will be all over you really quick if you do that. So don’t have a concept that depends on shooting in a casino. Supposedly you can ask permission and get a permit, but I think for most of us non-commercial shooters that isn’t going to happen.

Plan out makeup and wardrobe. This is true of any shoot in my opinion, and always impresses a model – which shows some of pathetic traits of average photographers – but is especially true for you when traveling. You do know you can use Model Mayhem to find MUAs as well as models, right?

Don’t expect the model to show you the strip. You may go to Vegas to pick up women, but your models aren’t valid targets.

Book multiple models for the same day. Does Vegas have more flakes than other towns? Hard to say, but it does have flakes. If you have to shoot it is better to double book.

How do you avoid the flakes? Look at how often they update their profile. Gage how quickly they respond. If they take too long, cut your losses. Ask other models if they can vouch for them.

What The Model Can Do For You.

You are coming in from out of town, so you don’t know what you are doing or where you are going. You will have to depend on the model somewhat. So I asked Tiffany what a model might be able to do for you. I’ll add the caveat that Tiffany is a go-getter; she gets things done. Not all models are that proactive.

She can help you arrange makeup. Models know MUAs. Therefore they can recommend them to you. Sometimes you can get a break from the MUA because she knows and likes the model.

She can help find locations. She knows the city better than you do, and has probably shot in a number of places. Tiffany also said she can tell you what times are best to shoot at different locations.

Where Are Good Places To Shoot?

A different Tiffany at the Dry Lake Bed

A different Tiffany at the Dry Lake Bed

There are some good parks in Vegas. Believe it or not if you want a natural setting Las Vegas has some cool parks.

Dry lake beds. There are a couple of dry lake beds with in driving distance of Las Vegas that make cool locations.

Downtown Las Vegas. Has a cool neon look and an old Vegas feel. It is cool to shoot there, but Tiffany says you have to be wary of the bums. They can be aggressive and disruptive to your shoots.

Valley of Fire. A cool red rock location. Tiffany says Valley of Fire actually looks cooler than Red Rock park.


Vegas is a great place to visit, and while you are there you can shoot. If you are a good photographer, both from a creative and character point of view, the models will look forward to shooting with you. But models are going to be wary. They have to worry if you are just trying to pick them up. They also worry – like most models you shoot TFP with – that you will shoot with them and never give them any images.

Tiffany suggests you bring a laptop and burn them a CD right there. I don’t give my models everything shot, only the retouched images, and I’m not spending time in Vegas retouching. But you can find ways to lessen this worry. Maybe you could give her references from models you’ve shot with and delivered in a timely manner. Or you could agree to give her a CD of images, but she can’t use them unless you don’t send her anything with in a month. Be creative.

I’m going to be shooting while in Vegas with Tiffany. She’s helped me find an MUA and we’ve set a time, talked wardrobe and locations. It should be fun, and I’ll report back next week.

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