Can you take professional photos inside the top hotels on The Las Vegas Strip? Yes. Maybe. Probably Not. How Badly Do You Want It?
Las Vegas hotels on The Strip (The Wynn, Encore, The Bellagio, The Venetian, Palazzo, Mandalay Bay, The Cosmopolitan, The Flamingo, Paris Las Vegas, New York New York, The Stratosphere, Planet Hollywood, The MGM, City Center, Aria, etc.) have a well-earned reputation for being very unfriendly to outside professional photography. Very.
Any professional photographer in Vegas who has tried to take their bride & groom or other clients into a Strip hotel while using off-camera professional lighting can tell you about the Vegas Shuffle, where security approaches within a minute to throw you out. While being tossed is a little embarrassing and inconvenient, it could be much worse.
I understand their position completely. They are private businesses each with extraordinary investment in interior design that they’d like to control, and they have in-house photography franchises that have first dibs on all professional photography within the hotel.
So how did I arrange for this gorgeous couple to get professionally lit professional photography inside The Wynn?
The groom did.
Joseph – who bought out the back of one of The Wynn’s restaurants for their reception – made it happen. While I don’t know all the details, I do know that he made repeated attempts over a period of weeks, made many many calls, was told by people without authority that he had approval when in fact he did not have actual permission until about one hour before we took these photos.
Did a little baksheesh change hands? Were a few palms greased? I honestly do not know. But after living in Vegas for five years I can say that I have seen the Green make things happen.
So while I honestly do not know how Joseph managed to get official permission for us to openly shoot using professional lighting (security guards watched from a few feet away as we made the photo immediately below), I do know that some or all of the following things may have contributed to his success:
- Persistence – he attempted to gain permission repeatedly over many weeks
- He did not take “no” for an answer
- Seeing Joesph throughout his wedding day I am pretty sure that he kept his cool, never went Divo on anybody
- He eventually spoke to the right person, a person of influence, probably someone in Security or the Press / Communications Department
- He rented out a sizeable part of a major restaurant inside The Wynn for his reception
- He has gravitas and charm to spare
- A little extra green may or may not have crossed palms – I honestly do not know
Can you get permission to shoot *inside* one of the spectacular hotels on The Strip?
How badly do you want it?