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Location, location, location

Regardless of what area of photography you work in one key part of the trade is finding the best location to photograph.
Model – Marilyn Rose

Choosing a location can come with challenges of it’s own that every photographer must consider however with careful planning and preparation you can be ready for even the most difficult circumstances.

When a photographer decides to shoot on location they run into several problems.  The biggest thing to be prepared for is how are you going to light the shoot.  If the location has no shelter then the sun could be too strong for the type of photographs that are going to be taking, if it’s too dark then strobes may be needed.

Climate is something else to keep in mind.  If you decide to shoot near the beach there is often considerably more wind, which could blow away your gear or could blow sand into your camera.  If shooting in the countryside or in the woods then bug spray is essential.  Even shooting in the city presents its own challenges; the sun bearing down on asphalt can create a very humid environment that could negatively impact your subject.

There’s also nothing worse than showing up for a shoot and being told you can’t photograph there without a permit.  Different locations have different rules and just because you’re out in public doesn’t mean you’re on public land.

So what’s the key to ensuring you are best prepared for a location shoot?  Scouting.  Going on location beforehand will get your mind ready for what you’re about to undertake.  Even if you go to the location a few days before your shoot and without a camera you will be thinking about different scenarios that could occur.  By seeing where you will be shooting beforehand, you will be able to prepare yourself and your gear for the upcoming shoot.

When scouting locations one thing that most people don’t consider is shooting in places that are familiar to you.  Whether you are shooting while traveling, or shooting in your home city, familiarity helps eliminate a lot of the problems photographers run into.  Every day when you leave your home, or even your hotel, you are passing by possible photoshoot locations.  You get to see them at different times of the day, under different lighting, and various climates.  By choosing a location that you are familiar with you are inadvertently finding a location that you have scouted almost every day.

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The best location to shoot at is one you’re familiar with.  This photo was shot in my backyard.

Model – Lace Grainger
Makeup Artist – Stacy Lockhart

There is also another option when you want to shoot on location, and that is bringing the location to you.  If you have a little room you can bring aspects of the location you want to shoot into your own studio.  Adding small things from the outside world into your studio can change the entire dynamic of what you’re shooting.  If you have a large space you could even build a set and create your own location all together.

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You can even make your own location in your studio.

Model – Luxci Cortez

Makeup – Anita Mann

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Incorporating aspects from the outside world into your shoot will add a new dimension to your photographs.

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Also if you chose to build your own location you have more control of the lighting, and climate of your shoot.

Model – Luxci Cortez

Makeup – Anita Mann

So whether you chose a location in your own backyard or travel to a foreign land be sure to familiarize yourself with where you’ll be shooting.  Familiarity and preparation will ensure that your shoot goes by smoothly.