Over the past year Louise Bates and Clare Armitage have built up a portfolio of over 70 homes for film and photography shoots.
Many are super stylish with bang-on-trend interiors that leave many of us wondering why our homes never look that way, however hard we try.
But not all properties that appear picture perfect pass the test for a location shoot, which is why the more ordinary, obscure and semi-derelict occasionally get a look in.
“They don’t have to overly stylish as some clients don’t want properties that are too aspirational and all kinds of homes are needed for TV dramas,” says Louise, who adds that all properties need access to good parking and rooms that allow a good depth of shot.
“Parking for the crew is important. We recently had a shoot where we needed space for 20 cars but we managed by asking a nearby pub if we could use their car park.”
Neighbours Louise and Clare set up Leeds-based Lifestyle Locations just over a year ago after realising that their combined skills gave them the ideal launch pad for the business, which finds residential and commercial locations for filming and photography shoots across Yorkshire and the North West.
Louise had worked in the industry before and Clare’s background is in management and logistics.
“We have worked with some great brands including ITV1’s Lorraine Show, Morrisons, OK! magazine, Cadbury’s, Barker & Stonehouse and the Co-op to name just a few,” says Clare
The company is continually expanding its location library. Homeowners can approach them and Clare and Louise talent spot on Instagram.
They also photograph the homes themselves after Louise “upskilled” what was a hobby. “Doing the photography gives us a real understanding of each property from a client’s point of view,” she says.
The financial reward for letting your house as a film or photography location is usually between £400 and £800 a day.
“You never know what the location scouts are going to go for. Some properties don’t get picked very often and others really draw them in, so rather than seeing it as a regular income, it’s best to regard it as a bonus,” says Clare.
The most successful property on their books belongs to interior design consultant Helen Longfellow. She designed her cottage, near Wetherby, specifically to cater for shoots.
She is a former set designer who worked on location and knew exactly what was required.
Her large open plan living kitchen leads to a bright, oak-framed sunroom so the space offers a huge depth of shot. The kitchen units are non-reflective and there is a hob on the island, which makes it perfect for cookery shoots.
“Size matters so there is plenty of width and depth. I’ve also got 30 plug sockets in the living area and I’ve got them outside for garden shoots. The decor is neutral and fairly minimalist,” says Helen, who says that crews are respectful of her belongings.
“I only had one issue and that was when a soap actress got fake tan on my sofa but that was professional cleaned by the company who had hired the house so it wasn’t a problem at all.”
Amy Wilson’s Victorian semi-detached home in Leeds has also been a big hit.
With plenty of parking, large rooms and packed with period features, it appealed to sash window specialists Ventrolla, which used it for a photo shoot. It has also been used by fashion firm Joe Browns and as a dinner party venue for a drinks brand.
Amy, who co-founded the Interiors club “No House Rules”, says: “I’d describe the house as eclectic and colourful with a nod to dark decor. I decided to put it forward as a location because we have worked hard to create a beautiful family home that we are happy to share and utilise but I only accept photo shoots, rather than filming, as I prefer smaller crews in the house and it limits the commitment to just a day at a time.”
Her experience has been positive.
“The house is left exactly as we left it. The crews are incredibly respectful. We have a lot of belongings that are precious and important but I feel very confident in Lifestyle Locations, who ensure that the clients understand the boundaries and expectations of homeowners.”
Due to popular demand Lifestyle Locations has branched out to provide a scouting service.
This has seen Louise and Clare sourcing unusual locations such as an aircraft hangar, offices, a corner shop and a derelict mill for client shoots.
“We see it as a challenge,” says Louise. “Some of the requests are obscure but we manage and it’s very fulfilling when we succeed.”
*www.lifestylelocations.co.uk. Find interior design consultant Helen Longfellow on Instagram @helenmaeinteriors and Amy Wilson on Instagram at @thisstyle_rules and @nohouserules