Please “Vegas” responsibly.

I recently returned from Las Vegas photographing a Summit for Realtor.Com.  It was a great gig (which I’ll get more into later) but I wanted to talk about the pitfalls of travelling to Vegas for work.  I had a client that would send me to Vegas roughly three times a year.  When I first started going it was exciting.  Photographing a Trade Show during the day and playing at night.  At some point they would throw a big party and typically have a pretty famous band (or a formerly famous band) play a show.  I would capture the party, show and sometimes a meet and greet.  

Foreigner at The Hard Rock Cafe

The downside to all of this is that the rules were loose and the party never stopped.  I found myself gambling away my day rate and staying up way too long for my morning call time.  I continued to work for them until 2008 when budgets were slashed and priorities were changed.  

Since then I’ve travelled for work but had not been back to Vegas.  Over the summer I was contacted by an event planner I worked with a number of years ago.  She left that company and is now with Realtor.Com.  She asked if I could submit a proposal so that she could convince her bosses to bring me to their summit.  She needed content for next year’s show.  After getting approval we met briefly to go over what exactly she was looking for.

With my shot list, schedule and equipment in hand I got to work as soon as I checked in.  We were at The Aria Hotel and while Vegas sets a pretty high standard in luxury I still managed to be impressed.  I got the lay of the land, grabbed some empty room shots I knew I wouldn’t be able to get once the attendees checked in.  Once that was done I immediately proceeded straight to the blackjack tables…

…Oops, I meant my room.  That’s right I was going to “Vegas responsibly” this time.  I had to set up my portable editing station, double check battery life and format memory cards.  Having a wife and two kids at home also meant that I was free to watch whatever I felt like on TV.  It doesn’t sound exciting but it is when you have an eight and three year old dominating every domestic minute at home.  The next day was registration, main stage presentations, break out sessions immediately followed by a party and then again the day after that.

Like before I was left to rely on my own self discipline.  Luckily, I brought it with me in my carry on and managed to come home with what the client asked for and no lost day rates on the casino floor.