I love to travel and some of the trips that I look forward to the most are our photoshoots away at exotic and unusual locations. So much work goes into every collection from it’s first conception through to producing the pieces, so its really exciting seeing the pieces come to life on location. When we get the backdrop right with a particular vibe for each shoot the jewellery really jumps out of the page when we see it in print for the first time.
So our team of talented photography duo Natalie Bayliss and Max Tetlow of New Pixels Photography and gorgeous model Grace Tuffnell were all ready to join me to jet off once again to create photographic magic in Las Vegas!
OUT ON LOCATION
We normally head for tropical beaches and mountain ranges where we can find peace and quiet to shoot, so it was a complete change for us to be taking on an urban shoot this time. We knew this time had to be different to get the shots we wanted for the new pieces in our Icon collection. This range draws on elements of modern life and city living for a high end, luxury look, so we wanted the bustle of a metropolis in the background for these inspirational pictures. So the first day saw us in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, with Grace literally stopping the traffic as people crowed to watch the shoot. The reults were amazing and a unique experience for us as it’s not everyday you shoot on location in the middle of the strip!
Later in the trip saw us move to the Downtown district of Las Vegas to get the right look for our Fallen Angel collection’s new pieces. This place was the original Las Vegas where the first hotels were built and is now the kooky, vintage part of the city. As this range of jewellery is much more edgy and striking we loved shooting against the 60’s hotel backdrops and the colourful walls of the graffiti district. It provided just the vibe we were looking for and when we spotted a wall with gorgeous painted wings we knew we were in the right place for our “Fallen Angel” Collection!
Of course everyone knows what Las Vegas usually has to offer; casinos, gaming and amazing nightlife, but if you’re willing to venture away from the crowds there is another side of the city to experience. Definately take time to visit the Downtown area as the historic centre of the city. As well as retro stores, hotels and cafes you’ll find at Freemont Street, there are sights like the Mob Museum and early Vegas artifact at Golden Gate.
Also worth a look is Lake Las Vegas, an Italian style resort built around a lake complete with authentic restaurants and apartments with stunning views. If you can tear yourself away from the centre of Las Vegas the natural scenery of the surrounding desert and nearby Hoover Dam is worth the trip.
Even in a city as famous as Las Vegas there are still some lesser known treasures tucked away. Visit the Neon Museum where you can take a stroll through the Neon Boneyard (the vintage signs from the gone but not forgotten casinos) These huge retro pieces are amazing and an alternative way to spend a few hours. If you love nature it’s not far to Red Rock Canyon where the scenery and views are spectactular (we’ve shot there before and couldn’t get over the beauty of the scenery).
STAY + EAT
Instead of the hotels on the strip (which is the obvious choice) we usually hire a villa a little way out of the strip. Mainly because of the early mornings neccessary for location shoots (we are up at 4am to prepare the shoot and catch the early light) and a private villa means we don’t disturb any other guests and we get privacy when we get home at the end of a hard days work. Of the hotels though the best are the Venetian and Bellagio for luxury and sights.
No trip away would be complete for us without exploring new and exciting places to sample the local cuisine. The best we found was The Park on Freemont. A secret garden dining experience in the middle of the city…away from all the noise and bustle this was an oasis of calm. The garden is beautiful and filled with colourful and eclectic decor. We found the stars of the menu were the Avocado Egg Rolls and Grilled Halloumi Salad. Dont forget your passport though as there is no entry without photo ID (even if you are obviously older than 21!)
Our dining treat after wrapping the shoot was to visit the Top of the World restaurant at the spire of the Stratosphere Hotel. This place is amazing for the high end cusine but mainly for the spectacular views. It has 360 degrees glass walls and it rotates slowely meaning you get to see every part of the skyline during your meal.
For unusual purchases try the quirky stores in the downtown district, or for speciality boutiques take a stroll along the Grand Bazaar outdoor mall on the strip. If you’re an art lover like me then a visit to The Arts Factory should be the plan.
The fountain display at the Bellagio. Trust me, I didnt really see the lure of this until there one night being carried along by the crowd, music and general party atmosphere. The display is much more impressive than I was expecting and with a different display every 15 minutes you can be part of the throng on the street or enjoy from the balcony of one of the bars or restaurants at the hotel overlooking the show with a cocktail in hand.