Primer made for metals is often industrial and may include substances not generally used in paints for residential use, like lead. So be careful about what primer you buy and that it is made for indoor, residential use.
Scrub the metal with mineral spirits (flammable) to remove wax and polish. Sand the metal thoroughly with 100 grit sandpaper to roughen and degloss the surface. Apply a coat of Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer.
When dry, apply one or two coats of Rust-Oleum Stops Rust enamel in the color and gloss of your choice. The primer and enamel are available in spray cans or brush-on containers
I am a brass bed painting expert.
(actually I just copied that from a home forum that I found.
Sounds about right, though. good luck!)
I had one I wanted to paint, Mark took it to work and had the shop boy sand, prime, and he painted it in the body shop's paint booth. We timed it when he was painting car panels about the same color I wanted the bed.
I'd call around to see if anyone does painting like that, any body men would be happy for the extra cash for this little on the side job. Don't forget beer is also a currency.