*I AM RETIRED FROM MODELING!!* I enjoy making YouTube videos more, and that’s my focus these days. But I do know many active models in Vegas, and can refer you to someone if needed.
Info about shooting nude photos around Vegas:
Shooting in a hotel room might sound boring, but it’s most convenient for both model and photographer. Because most Vegas hotels have excellent security, as a model I feel pretty safe shooting in a room, so I’m likely to be more comfortable and creative.
A few tips on hotel rooms; I’ve shot in almost every single Vegas hotel, and my personal recommendations are:
- Cosmopolitan suite (if you can get one with a Strip-facing balcony, you can get awesome shots at night). The suites themselves are full of funky knick-knacks and artsy furnishings which come in useful as props, and there are a lot of cool patterns and textures on the walls. Palms Place suites are similarly futuristic and very cool, also with balconies and natural light.
- Suites at Bellagio, MGM, Venetian and Mandalay are also nice, if not somewhat bland.
- The Aria Sky Suites have AMAZING natural light and ultramodern decor.
- Rooms at Vdara also have lots of natural light, and very sleek modern interiors.
- If shooting at Mandalay Bay or The Delano, get a room with a view of the opposite tower. Because both towers are gold-plated, they act as giant reflectors and the rooms are suffused with warm, flattering light during golden hour. The penthouse at the Delano is a GREAT place to shoot.
- The Flamingo’s GO Suites are funky, retro and visually very interesting…for a reasonable price!
- Also funky, retro and affordable are the Cabana Suites, downtown at the El Cortez. Not much natural light, though.
- Rooms at the Wynn and Encore have huge floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for lots of
natural light. You can’t see much of the Strip from down there, though.
- The Artisan is a fun, super-ultra-funky boutique hotel… but in my experience, the lobby and bar area are the only really cool places to shoot. The rooms themselves are kinda blah (it used to be a Travelodge, and you can totally tell…they basically slapped on black paint and added a few paintings). Not recommended.
- If a grungy vibe is what you’re after, there are plenty of busted-up crack motels in downtown Vegas. Allow me to steer you in the direction of the most photogenic ones 🙂
To be honest, if you’re a good photographer then it doesn’t matter where you stay. I’ve gotten great shots at the freaking Monte Carlo!!
ON LOCATION a/k/a IN THE DESERT:
The other type of shooting is location…a/k/a out in the desert! This is much more fun, but also more time-consuming. Many visiting photographers seem to think there are ghost towns and abandoned motels right on the edge of town…but this is not the case! If you want to shoot somewhere really cool, you have to drive AT LEAST an hour outside the stucco sprawl of Vegas.
Here’s the skinny on location shooting around Vegas.
- Detailed ghost town info here
- There are no “ghost towns” closer than 2 hours from Vegas. You can shoot at Nelson (http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/nv/nelson.html), which is a fake ghost town stocked with rusty antiques and bric-a-brac about an hour from the Strip, but you’ll have to pay for the privilege and there are usually a lot of nosy tourists and other photographers around, precluding any nude shots. I’m not even sure they allow nude shooting out there.
- Rhyolite, in eastern Death Valley, is another popular spot that is almost always packed with tourists, making it difficult/impossible to shoot nudes. I do not recommend shooting nudes at either of these places.
- Delamar ghost town is remote and relatively unspoiled, with lots of crumbling stone foundations, and only about 2 hours from Vegas. But high
clearance and 4WD are required to reach the site.
- My personal pick for a ghost town location is Gold Point…3 hours north of Vegas, but totally worth the drive. Tons of rusted cars and machinery, plus many wooden buildings and old-timey stuff. You can even rent a cabin here and stay the night…and there’s a fully-functioning saloon! For more info about a shoot I did there, click here.
- Most of the other ghost towns/abandoned shacks and stuff I know of are all at least 2 hours out of Vegas, in the middle of NOWHERE.
But for those who hire me for a shoot, I do know of two spots within an hour of Vegas, and will gladly take you there 🙂 One is an abandoned silver mine, and the other is a little ghost town of abandoned stone cabins and rusty old junk. Both sites are accessible by any car.
DRY LAKE BEDS/PLAYAS:
- Detailed dry lake info here
- The dry lake beds/playas are all about 45min-1 hour outside Vegas. The closest one, El Dorado outside Boulder City, is only 30 minutes from the Strip…but as a result, it’s pretty marked up from dumbass rednecks coming out after it rains and doing donuts in their trucks. You can still get good shots here, though.
- Apex playa (45 minutes to the north) is relatively unspoiled, and is on the way to Valley of Fire, if you’re planning to shoot there (not advised; see below).
- Jean dry lake, about 45 minutes to the south, is probably the second most popular playa for photographers.
- The most pristine lakebed I’ve ever been to was the Racetrack playa in Death Valley, which is really hard to get to (4WD and high clearance advised) and thus impractical for most shoots. But it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING, and I am more than happy to travel there with you, if that’s what you want!
- Almost as pristine is the Delamar lake bed, about 2 hours from Vegas, near the ghost town of the same name…but again, the access road is pretty burly and 4-wheel drive is advisable to reach it.
- Whichever playa you choose, you can get really cool, dramatic photos…just be sure to go super early/late in the day, when the light isn’t so harsh (there is NO shade out there, and lighting can be tricky).
- Also note, you can camp out for free on any of these lake beds. Just remember to clean up after yourself, please!
- For red rocks/red caves and that kinda stuff, DON’T go to Red Rock National Conservation Area, unless you want to drown in Chinese tourists and fanny-packers. Shooting nudes here is nigh on impossible (unless you hike waaaaay back into a canyon…and who wants to lug all that camera equipment that far?).
- If you insist on shooting at Red Rock NCA, I do know one area just outside the park that is fairly low-key….but you will encounter hikers and gawkers, FYI.
- Shooting at Valley of Fire State Park, while extremely beautiful and dramatic, is also not recommended — the ranger is a real hardass and I’ve been kicked out by him before. I have done a few shoots out there without incident, but these required hiking back into the brush pretty far…and you still run the risk of being ticketed. I can’t stress enough what a dick this ranger is! Be advised!
- Detailed info here
- There are no real sand dunes within 2 hours of Vegas.
- My favorite dunes are about 2 hours to the south, in Kelso, CA — in the Mojave National Preserve. These dunes are closed to offroad traffic, so there are no sand rails, Jeeps, dune buggies, ATVs, quads, dirt bikes or other redneckery to bother you. You can drive right out to the trailhead in any car (no high clearance/4WD necessary), then hike up a 1/4 mile trail to the base of the dunefield. You can also camp out for free here, and it’s amazing! More info here.
- Big Dune is another good place to shoot, about 2 hours northwest of Vegas…but these dunes are open to redneck traffic, so be advised. More info here.
- The Mesquite Dunes near Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley, about 2.5 hours from Vegas, are amazing to shoot at. There is a motel nearby in Stovepipe Wells, or you can pay to camp nearby.
- Dumont Dunes is where they filmed the original Star Wars movie (they stood in for Tatooine). This massive dune field is about 2 hours to the south, but you have to pay to get in, and these dunes are crawling with rednecks razzing around on loud, smelly “toys.” It’s a fun place to hang out, but not very good for shooting.
- For an insane assortment of farther-out locations I have shot at, click here.
- If you want to shoot outdoors but stay in the Vegas city limits, options are limited. We don’t really have any cool parks, and the Strip is choked with drunken idiots and Looky-Lous 24/7, making shooting nearly impossible. There is an area of open desert in Sunset Park which is minimally scenic, but overall it’s worth the 30 minute drive to get outside of town into the real desert if you want to shoot outside.
- As far as shooting on the Strip itself…I do have a few tricks for getting the lights of the Strip in the background of nude photos. This one was shot on the roof of the Treasure Island parking garage, run-and-gun style.
Overall, you can get AMAZING shots in the desert around Vegas…you just have to know where to go. And you need the kind of model who will help you get there!
Or, if you found this information useful but don’t want to hire me… consider donating to my PayPal tip jar 🙂
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