Patrick And I go to Las Vegas/Shoot In A $15,000 Per Night Penthouse

Patrick And I go to Las Vegas/Shoot In A $15,000 Per Night Penthouse

So here's the story; Patrick and I had the idea for FStoppers and we knew that we had to create a bunch of videos to get others excited about creating their own. We had some free time and some money in the bank after a solid wedding season so we decided to go to Vegas. We did not do a good enough job planning anything. We had some ideas but we never really set anything in stone so by the time we got to Vegas we had a couple of models lined up but nothing else. We only brought 3 cameras, 3 lenses, and 3 flashes, and the flycam.

One night we go out with one of our model friends (Tatiana) in Vegas and she introduces us to some guys from NYC that happen to be staying in one of the most expensive rooms in all of Vegas. Long story short, these guys leave the next day but buy their room for one more night so that we can stay there and shoot in it the following day. Being able to stay and shoot in this amazing $15,000 per night room was the highlight of my trip. If the incredibly generous New Yorkers who bought us this room are reading this I want to thank you once again for this amazing opportunity. We really really owe you one.

Behind the scenes of our Las Vegas penthouse photo shoot from FStoppers on Vimeo.

Since this shoot was so last minute and we didn't have enough gear or assistants and we had to do everything ourselves. We didn't get the coverage of the shoot that we wanted and we didn't have enough time to do more interviews. Before we came back home Patrick and I went snowboarding and while we had some time on the long lift ride we decided to talk about the shoot while it was still fresh in our minds.

Vegas Recap: Discussing a Photoshoot from FStoppers on Vimeo.

You can view the same videos on youtube here:

View more photos by charleston wedding photographer Patrick Hall at and Lee Morris at

Here is some of the gear we used for this photoshoot:

Glidecam 4000 Pro Stabilizer: Great for steady moving shots like the tour of the hotel room

Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: We had a few of these to light many of these shots; they are great for general portable light on location

Lastolite 24" x 24" Ezybox Hot Shoe Softbox Kit with Mark II Bracket or CowboyStudio 24" Portable Softbox: Simple modifier to create soft light and fits in your suitcase

Manfrotto 680B Monopod : This our favorite monopod because it's so small. Great with softbox above

PocketWizard PLUS II Transceiver: Pocket Wizards, you gotta have them

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Best Wide Angle Lens for Nikon IMO. 2.8 for low light

Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 Vibration CompensationBest lens for video! VC and 2.8 are a must. Great video lens!

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom LensProbably the best lens Nikon has ever made!

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S NIKKOR Probably my favorite lens for portraits.

Nikon D300s Camera: You gotta have these to film video; I think we used 3 or 4 of them.

Written by Patrick Hall. Patrick Hall is the cofounder of and a wedding photographer in Charleston, South Carolina

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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Great video! Tks for Sharing! it seems like it really was a great day!

Thanks Ghislain, You are our first comment!

Great execution on the images, and the behind the scenes allows me to really get a sense of what you had to work with. It also allows the viewer to see what they would also have done differently as well. Brilliant concept with the website! Would love to see more selects from the shoot.

Solstice, just checked out your MM page. Your retouching is sick. Want to make a video for us?

wow man, looks like everybody enjoyed the shoot! and thanks for sharing this guys! very informative!

Good to hear from you Mungkey, we are expecting good things from you ;)

Make sure you guys check out the behind the scenes video included on the post of this page. Lee and I talk about the challenges with this shoot in depth

This was great! I love the new site...I see it as an awesome spot for newer photographers as myself to gain a lot of great knowledge in a way that makes sense...we are all visual and I love the way the videos feel as if we are learning beside you...thanks for a great idea!

Thanks Jeff. We will do our best!

Awesome site guys..good work! This video is amazing but I'm not sure that room can compare to a $200/night TI tower petite suite. Love the shot of XS in the beginning and just hope the slot machine shot was at casino royale!

TI is hard to beat. The slot shot was actually taken at the airport... You know how casinos are about cameras.

As Solstice mentioned, it would be cool if there was a way to below the video have a gallery of images from each shoot

That is a very good idea. We'll work on it

Oh, and I had a geekgasm when I saw the floor of CES. And don't lie... you made it upstairs to the other convention didn't you?

Will be watching you guys. But please don't try this hard to hide your lighting equipment, that's what I'd like to see most.

This is an awesome vid, guys u are very good. This shoot inspired me. Thanks for sharing !

Watch the additional video in the post to hear about the lighting. I think Lee mentions that he shot all natural light. I wish we had taken video of the curtains moving around since we used a lot of fancy technology to scrim and blackout the outside sun.

Coming back here (at the blog but particulary this video)  to listen over and over your advices man. "SHOOT FOR YOURSELF."
Thanks a lot.

Only one word: GREAT!!!

Awesome video and great website guys! Got 2 questions for you:

1) What where the lights and modifiers you used for the shoot? You mentioned only SB-800s? What modifiers?

2) What camera did you used to film the video?

Thanks guys and keep up the great work!


The onlly modifier that we had during this shoot was a small 12x12 softbox that we put over an SB-800. All of our videos are shot on the Nikon D300s. Thanks for the comments!

Nice project guys! I'll follow you on the next videos!
Great shots and location of course!

Keep going with the infos on the backstage and on the setups!

Great execution! luck bastards! ;-p

also shows you don't need one million dollars worth of gear to create beautiful glamour photos.


Amazing Location/Photo's just fantastic so jealous

You mention that you only wanted to do the shoot with what you could carry in on your backs. So... What did you use?

Let me try to remember Jim. I think we had 3 D300s cameras and maybe 4 lenses. I believe we had the 24-70 Nikkor, 50 1.2 Nikkor, 11-16 2.8 Tokina, and the 70-200 VR I Nikkor lens. We also had about 4-6 Nikon SB-800 flashes, maybe 4 pocket wizards, and probably around 60 gigs in memory cards. We also packed a Flycam 5000 (we had yet to buy the merlin) and a manfrotto monopod with small 24" softbox in our luggage. We also had a Panasonic Ts1 point and shoot camera which we used for the ski slope video the day after Vegas (check out that video if you have not yet).

So basically it was whatever both Lee and I could carry in our two carry-on backpacks and I think our assistant Reese brought her D700 too. It's a lot of gear but honestly most of the cameras were just there for video so we did not have to change lenses out. I shot primarily on the D300s with the 24-70 and a few of the headshots were with the 50 1.2 lens at f2 maybe. Correct me if I'm wrong Lee and I hope that helps. I really wish we were able to give more information about the gear and technical side while we were in the penthouse but check out time was 3 pm so we had to work fast.....I could not afford to miss the late checkout time :)

Thanks for the quick response! Sounds like a LOT of gear. I'm currently shooting the D700 and can't wait for a 1080 Nikon. I never have luck with my SB-800's and really need to figure out other means of flash. I guess I should say I was "Spying" your light work.

Thanks again

We are all waiting....Nikon is being very slow on this. We get so many comments and emails about being the only blog that has video using Nikons (that should say something about the market share right there).

What do you mean you have no luck? I use SB800s 90% of the time unless I'm doing studio work. They work great.

I simply don't like my results. I know its most likely me and my inexperience with them. I guess I lack that "SB-800 Confidence." I've taken many studio and lighting classes and even assisted with some heavy-duty lighting work but nothing with just the camera-mounted flash. My images tend to lack that "commerical" pop from the flash. A lot of Wedding photogs I've worked with ignore that and fix everything in Photoshop (which I don't believe should be the answer). I'd rather get it right first. Ya know?

Since they started putting video on the SLR's, I've been jealous. I was probably one of the first 100 people to download that D700 live-view video hack. I just don't like to be connected to use it (and no sound). I've had a lot more video people comment that they still enjoy Nikon's 720 over Canon's 1080 though. There is hope!

Thanks again

Coolest website ive seen in ages.

Exemplary work!

The interview bit between 3:20 - 3:38 looks amazing. Did you do something different for that [lens, camera settings, postprocessing]?

Great job!

Excellent video, what do you edit with and how do you handle the focus while shooting the video? And - cool site, will add it to my favorites.

Daniel, you can't fake amazing and I bought it that day! ha, no that was the same spot that the final images of Nickee were shot. All natural light coming from 2 walls that were floor to ceiling glass. People talk about not being able to shoot at noon but when you are inside and have windows like that, you can shoot all day. That lens was either the 50mm 1.2 or the 24-70 2.8, I can't remember.

Jonathan, we are editing with Premiere Pro CS 4 by Adobe. All our friends give us flax for working on PCs but that's how we roll (they are easier to customize when a new processor/video card comes out). We aren't pros at focus yet and pretty much eyeball it off the LCD. I've had to throw away a lot of footage now because of that though ha....probably need to invest in a small HDMI monitor

I ♥ this site - freakin' fantastic idea and really great results in Vegas guys!

Great job guys!

Awesome video!!!

I just found this website today and I am absolutely in love with it. You guys rock!

I added your blog to bookmarks. And i'll read your articles more often!

Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.

Hi guys! I happened on your website today for the first time. Great job with the LV photo shoot!! I especially enjoyed your "recap". I am just dipping my foot into the professional world of photography and the technical info. you gave was very helpful. Keep up the good work and I'll be keeping up with your site. Thanks.

I enjoyed your BTS videos, I am an Architect / Photographer, working in Architectural, Interior, and Documentary Photography in Egypt where I live.

I also liked so much the concept of this site, since I see everywhere photographers uploading their BTS videos to their Blogs which are getting better because of the era of HDSLR, I may dedicate someone from my small team to make a BTS vid for my next shooting which will be covering an International Hotel brand, and if good I might submit it to your contest.

Keep showing us the good stuff.

Thanks Nour, I have seen a bunch of BTS videos online and I have yet to see a good one on interiors. We would love to have you create one for the contest.

Great work & wonderful video. But, how did you get the ok to use the music? I would love to use music from know artists but I thought the licensing would be excessive.

I just discovered your website today, and it's very inspiring.

Very cool shoot in the penthouse. Excellent example of the amazing shots you can produce when you go with the flow and focus on the image not the equipment and you keep it simple, love it!

Hi Guys,

How do you secure the rights to Lady Gaga... or did you?

I know you are careful to protect your intellectual property. Do you extend the courtesy to other professionals?

I'll bet you would be concerned if Lady Gaga used your photos on her next production with our your permission. Did you get hers?

Just checking.


Looks like you guys really lucked out in Vegas, that place really is like no other. Thanks for sharing the knowledge, I think your site is fantastic. you guys should think about holding some workshops.

Loved the video. Great inspiration to go out and shoot stuff other then weddings, stuff that I'm interested in. So glad I found this site. Will check back often.


Thanks for the great video! Wear a helmet for skiing ;-)
Love the pictures. Greetings from Germany....

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