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Tips for Renting Your House For Photo Shoots

Using your home as a photo shoot location can generate a welcome income and can bring much personal satisfaction seeing your property used as a backdrop to a photo shoot, in an editorial or in a TV/film production. It must be remembered that the number of crew can range dramatically depending on the production but that smaller properties intending to register for photo shoot and filming work must be able to accommodate even the smallest crews of no less than 6 people and space for the necessary equipment.

For people interested in hosting such work in their homes we would advise the following:

1. Use an agent

It is advisable to have representation through a Location Agent who will have the necessary contacts to promote your property and who will have experience in negotiating the best filming terms and shoot fee rates on your behalf. The location agent will issue a property contract release agreement, establish overtime rates, oversee that insurances are in place and generally represent you and your property in the best way possible to ensure that the shoot runs smoothly.

2. Understand the terms

Make yourself familiar with the registration/Location Agent’s terms so that you understand the ‘optioning’ process and what is involved when hosting a photo shoot/filming production within your property.

3. Photograph your property

Wait for a bright day.  Send clear images of your property and ones that represent the location well.  An online portfolio will require approximately 15 – 20 images showing both inside and outside areas.  Your Location Agent can arrange for you to have your property photographed upon request. If you would prefer not to have images of your property online but kept on file only, this can be arranged and all images of your property can be sent on an individual enquiry basis.  See these additional tips on phtographing your property.

4. Set the ground rules

Let your Location Agent know of any ‘ground rules’ that should be included in the contract release agreement once a job has been confirmed i.e. no smoking in the house, shoes off, food and drink to be restricted to kitchen areas etc.

5. Tidy up

Always make sure your property is clean and tidy on the day(s) of use.

6. Pets

Try to keep any pets/animals out of the way and if possible in a secure environment.

7. Meet the production company

Always try to meet the production company on their arrival so that you can have a brief chat about areas of use and whether any pieces of furniture will need to be moved for the purposes of the production. If a lot of furniture needs to be moved it is often helpful for the production company to take ‘before’ pictures so that furniture can be put back using reference photographs.

8. Have the contract to hand

Always make sure you and the user/client has a signed copy of the contract release agreement before shooting commences and that you or your Location Agent has copies of the user’s/client’ insurance policies which should include public, product and employer’s liability and if possible indemnity to principal. It is advisable to let your own insurance company know of any intended ‘change of use’ for the length of time you are hosting filming work in your home.

9. Be there at the end

Always try to be on site yourself at the end of the production rather than designate another person to be there so that you can do a ‘walk through’ to make sure all has been left as it was found.

10. Record any overtime

Note the production finishing time and whether overtime has been incurred, and let your location agent know if there are any overtime charges to be made as soon as possible.

11. Providing accommodation can increase your earnings

If you can provide accommodation and/or catering (this can be imported) it can increase your earning potential. Some clients favour ‘shoot and stay’ locations keeping all production crew and costs under one roof which is often easier to budget for.

12. Be connected

Ensure you have working wifi on the premises.

13. Non filming rooms

You will need to provide a clean, warm ‘green room’ for actors or models, a separate warm room for models/actors for the purposes of clothes changing and an area with good natural light with a table and chair and offering access to water and electricity power for hair and makeup. Crews will require use of your kitchen for breakfast, lunch or tea (which they will bring with them unless other arrangements have been made) as well as for making tea and coffee.

14. The neighbours

If you think your neighbours might be affected by the production/filming at your property it is advisable to let your Location Agent know so that they can give them prior warning.

15. Payment policy

Make yourself aware of the client’s payment policy. Some clients pay shoot fees up front or 50% before shooting commences and 50% upon completion. Some pay within 30 days and others can take even longer. The payment policy for a production in your home should be established by your Location Agent at the booking stage and put in writing in the contract release agreement. A single facility fee will be chargeable per booking and any subsequent bookings will be eligible for further shoot fees.

16. Electricity

Domestic electricity supply for production purposes will be included in the cost of the hire of a location. Where requirements exceed this a generator will be imported onto the premises.

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