A brief history of 1st Option, the London Location Agency

1st Option have literally hundreds of high-quality shoot location houses for hire in London. Why do we have so many? When we first started the company 22 years ago, there were only a handful of properties available to hire, in fact we can remember back to a time when there were only really two, Richmond Road (which we still have to this day) and the apartment at the Lanterns Studio in Battersea. The apartment no longer exists as a location for hire but we do have the two houses next door, the fabulous Blake House and Lightbox.

When we first started the company we did so because we felt there was a huge need for unique spaces for clients to use for their photo shoots. Up until that point, if a client wanted to organise a shoot for their fashion or beauty story or Ad Campaign, really the only existing option open to them was to book a standard photographic hire studio at places like The Worx or The Lemonade Factory. We saw a gap in the market and 1st Option the London location agency was born.

The name ‘1st Option’ was chosen for several reasons. Firstly, it was an established term within our industry - when booking models, photographers, hair & makeup artists, stylists and even studios, clients would have a date in mind and ‘option’ potential members of their crew and their favourite shoot spaces for their preferred dates. If the person or space was available, they’d be given a ‘1st option’ to take up the services, which would be confirmed at some point afterwards when they were ready to go ahead.

This system is still in place today and is used for booking shoot locations too. Secondly, we wanted to and have always worked extremely hard to be a client’s ‘1st option’ to go to when looking for a great shoot location, lastly it’s a pretty catchy name and easy to remember!

Once our company was set up, we actively went in search of great location properties, both residential and commercial, that would be large enough, bright enough and versatile enough to accommodate crews looking to do shoots in somewhere a little more unique. We knew that not every property we saw would work, some were either too small or just too impractical for a photographic crew to be able to effectively function in, in time though we were able to put together a fantastic selection that began to appeal more and more to discerning clients working in the London area and beyond.

Over the years, the trend for shooting ‘on location’ has grown and grown to the point where nowadays the majority of photographic shoots are done in houses and commercial properties that are used for location hire. Over that time too, more location agencies have sprung up to jump on the bandwagon and the result is that there are now more locations available to hire than ever before. At 1st Option though, we still like to think that were not only the original but are still your 1st and best option when looking to book a shoot location in London and beyond. We're always available and always more than happy to help!

Who are 1st Option Locations?

Based in London, 1st Option are one of the leading shoot locations agencies in the UK. Established in 2001, we have over two decade’s worth of experience in the industry. We represent the very best residential and commercial shoot locations in the country and have worked hard to build a great reputation over the years for being knowledgeable, professional, efficient, caring and extremely nice to work with.

What is a Shoot Locations Agency?

A locations agency acts as the intermediary between a client looking to hire a location for filming or still shoots and the property owner. The agency will do the heavy lifting when it comes to sourcing the perfect property at the right price so that everyone is happy. As our client, we make it easier and less stressful for you to find a great property for your shoot and as our property owner, we help to promote your location and get you bookings while taking care of all the details, paperwork and invoicing.

Why choose us over the competition?

We come from a photographic and filming background, which means we understand what makes a great shoot or filming location from the perspective of the filmmaker, photographer and client. We understand the importance of light and space, whether the property is being used for stills shoots, film or TV and pride ourselves on showing the best properties available. We always consider practicality when taking on a new location for our portfolio, so no matter how lavish a property is, if it isn’t shoot-friendly you won’t find it on our site.

What you will find are lots of amazing shoot locations including houses, apartments, warehouses, factories, bars, restaurants, beach houses, photographic studios, events and entertainment spaces and much more.

We’re also available 24/7, so if one of our clients or home owners needs to get hold of us urgently, there will always be an emergency mobile number available on our answering machine.

How can we help you?

We take pride in the fact that the level of customer service we provide to our clients and property owners is second to none. We always strive to offer the best help and advice, as customer satisfaction is our priority. Don’t just take our word for it though, this is what one of our owners recently said: “Fantastic agency to work with over the last few months - 1st Option Representation have not only supported our business in the early days of operation but always have our best interests at heart when dealing with bookings. 5 stars is an understatement!” – Woodmill Studios

We want to make sure that we find you the right shoot location for your needs. Not only do we have a vast in-house location library but by having close working relationships with other reputable location agencies, if by chance we don’t have the one you’re looking for, we can usually find it for you with one phone call.

Location hire, London & the UK

Location hire both in London and the UK is our business and we like to think we’re quite good at it! So, if you have an enquiry then give us a call, we’re always very nice and will do our best to help.

Customer satisfaction is very important to us, so for your peace of mind you can always get hold of us via the office number during working hours, 020 7284 2345, or on our mobiles out of hours.

Whether you’re a client organising a photo shoot, film shoot or event, or if you’re a potential owner considering offering your property as a shoot location, whatever your shoot needs, feel free to call us here at 1st Option, we'd love to talk to you.

Take a look at some recent shoots that were done at our locations...

  • The Old Queens Head - Fabulous Magazine The Old Queens Head - Fabulous Magazine
  • The House - British Vogue The House - British Vogue
  • Rural Retreat - Primark Home Rural Retreat - Primark Home
  • Bell House - The Sunday Time Style Bell House - The Sunday Time Style
  • Kempshott Road - QVC Kempshott Road - QVC
  • Carlton House - NET-A-PORTER Carlton House - NET-A-PORTER
  • Friendly Place - In The Style Friendly Place - In The Style
  • Archer - Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Archer - Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
  • Blackwood House - MoStack - Shine Girl FT Stormzy Blackwood House - MoStack - Shine Girl FT Stormzy
  • Petersham Common - House Beautiful Magazine Petersham Common - House Beautiful Magazine
  • Clapton Tram Shed - The Evening Standard Magazine Clapton Tram Shed - The Evening Standard Magazine
  • Spratts Factory - M&S Spratts Factory - M&S