What is it like to use your home for a photoshoot?

Who here has had three actors in their pajamas lounging on the floor of their child’s bedroom, watched by a group of strangers?

I don’t mean to brag, but it happened to me before Christmas.

The reason for this rather odd setup was a charity photoshoot I had donated my house for, more out of curiosity than out of a burning desire to welcome strangers in their pajamas.

After responding to a Facebook post asking for ‘inhabited’ houses, I received an email asking for pictures of my kitchen, living room, bedrooms and backyard.

With the gaping hole in the kitchen ceiling, the patchy paint where the beloved cupboards had been removed by previous owners, and a nice range of matching footprints throughout, ‘inhabited’ is definitely a brief we don’t have. hard to respect.

We had the concert, and I was told that the whole filming would take two hours and that the crew would arrive at one o’clock. Aside from the first actor rocked 20 minutes earlier, which surprised me amid the last minute decluttering. Five minutes later, her “husband” arrived – they were to play the role of a couple who had recently adopted a daughter.

I made them disappointing cups of tea as they discussed outfit choices (they were each armed with four options) and their resumes (the dad had been in a Lewis Capaldi video!)

The next arrivals have arrived with a bang: the production manager, the artistic director, the photographer and the “girl”, plus her mother chaperone.

As the crew directly began to pose in my front room, I asked Alicia Newing from the Wind & Foster design agency in St Albans, who had organized the shoot, what they were looking for when they asked to live in houses. (We were standing on terra cotta tiles at the time, against a ‘characteristic’ pine paneling wall.) “Everyday houses, pretty much,” she replied diplomatically.

They had had between 30 and 40 responses to the Facebook ad, which they must have narrowed down to about half a dozen. They then presented their shortlist to their charity client for approval, before discussing the actors they needed and the scenarios that would work best for them.

Did you reject some because they were too nice? I asked, aware that my place was not likely to fall into that category.

“There was one that looked like a show house,” Alicia admitted. “Clearly people who don’t have children!

How do you start to make money from your home?

Local Facebook groups are far from the only way for businesses like Alicia’s to procure homes or for homeowners to pimp their places; there are many websites offering a wide range of properties such as Amazing Space, Lavish Locations, and Location Works.




“Dad” and “daughter” were pictured having fun in the garden.
– Credit: Jane Howdle

“We can get houses by other means,” said Alicia. “But for a brief like this, we need very real situations and scenarios, just general, everyday situations that the average person can live in.

“For this situation, it’s two adults who just adopted a child, so it would be a nice house that isn’t too run down and not too overdone,” Alicia added. “There is not too much crowding among the children. But there is enough of it that we can make it look like a child has just moved in. ”

What Makes a Home a Good Place for a Photoshoot?

In this case, space. “We liked that the rooms were large enough that we could accommodate the cast and crew in them, and there is enough room for photography because that’s also something we take into account,” said Alicia. “If the house looks too small, we can’t really fit everyone, so that’s going to be a problem.

The team wasted no time, working solidly for 90 minutes. One minute, they were lounging in the living room, the next “mum” and “daddy” were lovingly watching their “daughter” draw a picture on our kitchen table.

“Oh, isn’t she great?” The art director exclaimed as the photographer walked away. “Our daughter, our daughter … looks mom like, ‘aw, hey – that’s awesome’.”

Then they left for another change of outfit and out into the garden, having fun on the lawn and trying to throw a soccer ball through a netball hoop.


The actors filmed in the garden of Jane's St Albans' house.

Jane was glad the hangar made the difference …
– Credit: Jane Howdle

I tried to capture reportage style photographs of the action for this play, but I was strictly instructed not to include any of the actors’ faces. Then, as I was hiding behind a shed in an attempt to capture the backs of the heads on my iPhone 7, I was criticized for taking their picture. Whoops.

What other things should you take into account?

Limits are the key, I quickly found out. We had agreed in advance that the bedrooms could be used, but that didn’t stop the art director from requesting a change from the floor of my daughter’s bedroom to the inside of my actual bed. Even though the three actors were really cool, and one of them had been in this Lewis Capaldi video, I wasn’t emotionally ready for them to slip between the sheets I had left a few hours older. early on, so I said no to Him.

And while they started arriving 20 minutes before the time I was told to expect, they also quickly requested a later end time, depending on how things were going. I would recommend being flexible; if you need things to go firmly as planned, this might not be for you.

As it turned out, they were ahead of schedule as the girl had to return home to Sheffield for an afternoon engagement. They left at the same rapid pace they had arrived, with just a bottle of half-drunk Lilt and a quilt repositioned on the floor (for that chill-out scene) to show they had even been.

While I wouldn’t recommend pimping your home if you are precious to have it that way and worry about having strangers in your personal space, I would say for the average bettor this would be a good experience and worth it. pretty easy money, especially if you are naturally very tidy (I’m not).

How much money can you earn using your property for filming or photo ops?

This shoot paid £ 100 which appears to be the low end; a few hundred pounds is more the norm. However, there is more money to be found when filming is involved: Lavish Locations offers rates between £ 1,000 and £ 2,000 for TV commercials and over £ 10,000 for a week of filming.

Unsurprisingly, filming can also be much more disruptive, with a larger time commitment, increased risk of damage to your home, and requests such as repainting or maneuvering furniture that you will need to agree on in advance.

There’s also the risk of disturbing neighbors, especially if the crew continues to monopolize parking lots across the street, and the regular nighttime shoots are unlikely to win you friends on your street.

But Hertfordshire Homes are sought after properties due to our proximity to London and movie studios like Elstree and for many the money is well worth it.

Personally, it was a unique and entertaining moment. While the lovely actors would be welcome to come back and lie on our bedroom floor at any time, I’m not sure I would be willing to repeat the process, especially at the scale required for filming (although the salary seems correct!)

Jack C. Nugent