There’s something spiritually fulfilling about driving around for hours through remote countryside and urban areas in search of the perfect photo shoot locations. However, many times, you don’t have to drive for kilometres on end as more often than not the best locations may be right around the corner. That being said, before you set out to scout locations near or far from home, here are a few things to consider in order to achieve the right look and feel for your finished product.
The Power of Simplicity
It may be natural to be attracted to extravagant, over the top locations for a dynamic photo shoot, but many times they are too over the top and only distract viewers rather than showcasing the models, products, or other subject matter. Therefore, simple landscapes and areas typically work best for shooting locations. Ultimately, a photo shoot location should complement the subject matter, not pull the eye away from it.
Any serious photographer likely has quite a few unique potential photo shoot locations stored away in their mind or a zip drive. However, there’s a good chance none of these locations will work for a specific shoot, making it important to select spots with a universal appeal. When there are times none of your unique, specialised locations will work for a photo shoot, it’s nice to have a handful of universal or cliché locations such as open fields, urban spots, wooded areas, historic buildings, and train tracks to fall back on.
The More Shooting Areas the Better
In keeping with the universality theme, you should also choose locations that provide a number of areas to shoot in or at. For instance, old railroad track bridges are often popular shooting locations. While the top of the bridge showing the wooden or steel railroad tracks may be the predominate area to shoot, the river running underneath the bridge, the hills and wooded area around the bridge, and the bridge’s underside can also be used for the shoot.
Timing Is Everything
Due to the sun and a variety of other factors, certain locations will be better for shooting in the afternoon than the morning and vice versa. Thus, it is important to scout during the time of day you plan on scheduling the shoot. This will give you a good idea of the lighting, noise, traffic, and even weather to expect at the time of the shoot.
Consider the Elements
Rain, snow, sun, wind, and so on are natural factors that may positively or negatively affect your photo shoot, so you should check the weather forecast prior to and during the shoot. Some cameras don’t work well in moist, rainy conditions, lenses can easily become dirty in the salty air, and batteries don’t like the cold. These are all strong reasons to consider the elements when scouting the perfect photo shoot location.
Regardless of whether the photo shoot takes place on private or public property, there are times when you may need to receive written or verbal permission prior to setting up and taking any photos. Many photographers have been removed from their prime shooting locations for failing to gain permission to shoot, so plan ahead and get the permission you need well in advance.
Safety should be a huge consideration when scouting photo shoot locations. Even if you are the adventurous type and don’t consider yourself the safest of people, it’s critically important to consider the safety of a location prior to taking clients, models, and others to it. Run-down buildings and structures can make some of the best shooting locations, but you should inspect every element of these locations to ensure it is safe and suitable for a photo shoot. Regardless of how unique or interesting it may be, if your safety is in doubt, simply choose another spot. Ultimately, you need to be smart in your location decision.
As you can see, there are a variety of things to keep in mind when scouting potential photo shoot locations, but luckily, there are even more wonderful locations out there to shoot. By keeping these tips in mind, you are sure to find a great location for any photo shoot each and every time.