Tel Aviv is a magical city in Israel, bustling with a mix of cultures, ideology, languages and locations. You have the beautiful beach on one side and the amazing large parks like Park Hayarkon on the other side of the central district. Shooting there can be a little hard because… there’s so many gorgeous spots to shoot!
Tel Aviv has plenty of sunlight, and even in the winter months, the sky can shine blue and the trees will still remain fairly lush. This is a great alternative from working in London or New York if you’re planning a commercial outdoor shoot.
The scene is littered with coffee shops of all kinds, all quite hipster, bespoke and with well thought out design and layouts. Many of the coffee shops are fairly small, so you’d likely be going toward the sidewalk for shooting if you have to.
There are lots of parks and walkways, a very large long beach that stretches through the length of the city, but it will likely NEVER be empty. If you need an empty beach, going further north or south to other cities like Rishon, Natanya or Ashdod might be better, though it still might not be that empty.
There are not so many shopping malls or high rise buildings, but that’s the charm of the city. Whether you want something family friendly, easy for kids or fashionable, you’ll find it in Tel Aviv.
Generally, the Tel Aviv council are easy with people shooting as long as it’s not in large groups and without big equipment. You don’t want to obstruct people’s walkway, and trust me, you WILL get shouted at if you’re in their way. You do need a permit to shoot on the beach, because that’s private property. Video shoots are a lot trickier, so ask your local council officer before you go ahead and shoot.
I have a whole other section on my experience shooting on the beach. You can find it on my other blog post here.
I found many shops, restaurants and coffee shop owners pretty easy going with me shooting a few models in the foreground. They didn’t even blink. As a gesture of kindness I would suggest either sending the shop owners back some photos taken in their location, as digital copies or prints, or helping out their local business and buying a few products, maybe to share with your modelling team.
I’m sure you’ve heard of all the people in Tel Aviv looking like statuesque gods and goddesses, well, they’re not far off. You have a beautiful mix of people there. The recent history of the country where so many nations came to call one place Home makes for an absolutely diverse atmosphere. You will find many brunette and caucasian mixes. There are also beautiful Ethiopian, Filipino and Thai communities you can tap in to.
There are a number of top modelling agencies there. Alternatively if you need something more low-key, try reaching people through Facebook groups. There are many enthusiastic people who would be up for modelling for a day, regardless of their day job.
Israeli people are very warm and emotional, so it doesn’t take much to bring them to smile. They will smile and laugh and crack jokes with total strangers. It’s very contagious and it works great for commercial style shooting.
We always discourage shooting for free, because everyone’s time is valuable. If you’re trying to do a low-key shoot, try to calculate what the average hourly salary would be for a person in his mid 20’s. Last time I checked it was about 35 shekels. It could be more now. I always increase the hourly rate by about 30-40% because they also need time and money to travel to your shoot. So the models would get on average about 50 shekels per hour. A whole day shoot would be around 400 shekels. Professional models of course will be much more.
I always make sure to offer the models free food and drinks as well throughout the shoot day. Good energy affects everyone, so treating all the staff fairly and with proper compensation and bonuses will make your shoot that much more better.
Here are a few images we photographed there. If you’d like to purchase any of the images you can buy them at Getty Images here: