How to put your home in the frame for film and photo shoots

Edwina's spacious and modern home

Edwina's spacious and modern home

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Hiring your home out for film and photo shoots is an interesting way to make your property pay. Sharon Dale reports

They regularly feature in adverts seen by millions and are the backdrop to our favourite films and TV series but these “celebs” are virtually unknown.

This reassuringly low profile is the reason why homeowners are happy to let their properties out for photo and film shoots.

Hiring your home out in this way can be a profitable and interesting sideline. You can expect between £450 and £650 a day for a stills shoot and between £850 and £2,000 for filming. Not only do you get paid, you get a glimpse of what goes on behind the camera.

Edwina Hatfield, a former TV production manager, hires her home through Leeds-based UK Locations, and it has proved popular thanks to the stylish, contemporary décor and the large rooms.

She says: “I use to work in TV so I knew that this house would work well for filming. It is very modern and there’s an open-plan area inside with big sliding doors out on to a patio, so the crew can shift their gear out on to that if necessary. It’s great for long, wide shots.

“We’ve had shoots for Karndean flooring where they put their flooring on top of ours and Howdens took our front door off and replaced it three times with three different doors for a brochure shoot, which was fine. They always put things back how they were. They also tend to bring their own furniture and accessories, which is good because the property looks different each time and isn’t over exposed.”

Edwina prefers to hand the keys over and go out during filming. “They send me a text when they are done. Sometimes they over run and sometimes they finish early, which is fine. You have to be flexible.”

Ruth Preston’s Victorian house is also a favourite location thanks to its period features and her talent for interior design.

“It’s been really interesting and, of course, you get paid for it so it’s a no brainer. We’ve had quite a few shoots here including ITVs Daybreak filming a kitchen competition with Howdens,” says Ruth, who runs her own aloe vera and bee pollen product business from home. “I find that the crews are very respectful and professional and I try not to get in the way. If they just need the kitchen area I just go in the lounge or upstairs and if they need the run of the house I’ll make myself scarce and go out.”

Lauren York is head of UK Locations, based in Leeds, and her books boast the most extensive range of properties in the north of England. She worked in TV as Bruce Forsyth’s PA and then as a researcher and location assistant. She took over the reins of her late brother in law’s business five years ago.

Her locations include everything from palatial homes to period gems and country cottages along with old mills, warehouses, public buildings and sporting venues.

“The properties are mainly used for TV commercials and photo shoots for brochures and advertising. They tend to be for flooring, food and furniture because there are a lot of those types of companies in the north. We don’t do much fashion as those shoots are usually done in the south. We do some film and drama but those production companies often have their own location managers,” says Lauren, whose clients include adidas, Toys R Us, Bensons for Beds, Karndean, Oak Furniture Land and Barker and Stonehouse.

Her matchmaking service relies on a good choice of property so she is always on the lookout for new locations. Owners will often put their own homes forward and the company does letter drops in places renowned for their big and beautiful houses. They also court architects as a lot of clients like “uber modern style”.

As well as good looks, one of the key features Lauren and her team look for is size. Bigger is better, especially for furniture shoots.

“Not all properties have to be aspirational as we deal with companies who want normal family homes but the rooms have to be big and preferably open plan. You have to get the crew in, which means you need depth,” says Lauren. “When you see these rooms on TV or in a brochure they will look average sized but they aren’t.”

Other requirements include plenty of parking for the crew. There are usually around eight people at a photography shoot and around 40 for a TV commercial.

*To gegister your home as a possible location contact www.uklocations.co.uk

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