View from the Top


Hollywood Loft (above)
Los Angeles, California
$1,200 for 10 hours

Commercial photographer Michael Lohr opened Hollywood Loft 20 years ago and its 2,000-square-foot rooftop is popular among celebrity and fashion shooters. “People can go up on the roof and get a variety of different types of looks—we have clear sky all around, there are no buildings that look down on us, and it’s a nice setting, too,” Lohr says.

Last year, Lohr picked up a business partner, Bradford Willcox of Natural Model Management, who invested $100,000 in renovations. The rooftop of the four-story building now features a cedar deck, planters and couches. 

The key benefits of Hollywood Loft—which is opposite the Hollywood Sign—haven’t changed. Lohr still lets people “do their thing;” folks have brought up a pool and even trampolines. Photographers get simultaneous access to both the roof and the 2,500-square-foot studio inside. And, clients continue to be treated well. “We believe that location is important,” Lohr says, “but the service and taking care of people is more important.”

Siren Studios (above)
Hollywood, California 
Starts at $3,000 for 12 hours

When Siren Studios built its four-level Siren Tower @ Sunset building in 2010, it split the top floor between a 2,500-square-foot daylight studio and a 2,000-square-foot rooftop deck. Clients can use both spaces when they book the floor, and shoots there have ranged from magazine covers of celebrities to a commercial for a grill manufacturer.

“It’s versatility that we try and provide here,” says chief operating officer Jay Lieberman Ilardo. “You’re able to really create and say, ‘Wow, I can do a shot outside, I can do a shot against this beautiful blown-out light window.”

A 15,000-pound freight elevator can transport equipment to the rooftop, which features unimpeded views of Los Angeles and clean aesthetics. “The rooftop is not only a space where you can get the gorgeous skyline and all the landmarks,” says Chris Panizzon, vice president of brand marketing, “but it also fosters creativity and forward thinking.”

Stage 3 Productions (above)
Warren, Michigan
Starts at $1,100 for 10 hours

Ten years ago Stage 3 Productions founder Andre LaRoche built a complex measuring 42,000 square feet inside with an 8,000-square-foot rooftop deck. “We thought there was an opportunity to create a studio where it was really efficient to work, where the design of the studio actually helped to photograph instead of hindered it, says LaRoche, who himself photographs automotive. 

LaRoche had exclusivity in mind, too. The rooftop allows clients to shoot vehicles without attracting curious eyes – the closest tall building is a half mile away – and to capture a nice horizon.  

The roof is about 35 feet from the ground, and cars reach it via a 12,000-pound capacity vehicle lift from inside the building. Those wishing to aim down on a rooftop subject can use a cherry picker, which sits on the side of the building and can lift to 45 feet. Cars aren’t the only stars to grace the roof, however. It’s also been the location of choice for fashion shoots and music videos.



PDN August 2016: The Fine-Art Photography Issue



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