Location, location, location.
Not all photo shoots are nestled within studio walls. It behooves any photographer to find the best location to produce the best images. Here's a list to help you find your way in scouting for a location.
• Have a goal in mind
The world is huge. There's no question that you'll find several locations when you scout. But don't just wander aimlessly. Have a goal in mind. What's the photo shoot about? What’s it for? Landscape photography? Street photography? Black and white? Fashion? Who is it for? Do you have a list of criteria? There are other factors to consider overall. Stay focused. Narrow down your options. This will help you make better decisions, and maximize your time and effort.
• Know your client
Be it an organization, a family, a couple, or even yourself; tailor the photo shoot to your client. Think about the vision and how you'll execute. Some families prefer the open fields, while others love the beach. Each story is unique. Every setting is different.
• Shoot while you scout
There are numerous benefits to shooting while scouting. Documentation, of course, is top of the list. You can show those photos to your clients and help them envision the shoot further. You'll also find out if it fits their preference or not. It’s an opportunity to gain more insights about them.
In addition, shooting during location scouting will force you to pay more attention to details and know the area better. You'll get the chance to understand the lighting of the area. Plus, compose your shots so it'll be easy to insert your subjects during the actual session. It's good practice to improve your photography in general. Furthermore, you'll be able to produce a library of locations for future use.
• Low-key locations
Great locations don't always have to be fancy. It's all based on the purpose. For most photo shoots, the subject is the star. The location is a supporting element that enhances the image and makes the subject stand out even more. Even if it's inside the house, you still need to know which part of the house is best for the shoot.
• The unfamiliar
Get lost. Literally. Exploring unfamiliar grounds gives you a fresh new look at the surrounding. There's an element of surprise at work that offers a different perspective. Think outside the box. The road less traveled might just be the best option for you.
• The universal
On the other hand, you can also go a different route and look for more relatable locations. Search for sites that have a universal appeal, a sense of familiarity that draws viewers in. Some examples include fields, forests, beaches, parks, and gardens.
• Other considerations
Don't get too caught up with aesthetics. Inspect the area to assure that it's safe to hold a session. Don't put your subject's safety on the line for the sake of beauty. Safety first. Check if you have access to electricity or restrooms. How about parking? Is it an easy ride to the location? Is permission needed? These are small bits of information that can have a great impact.
• Use technology
Technology has made many aspects of living easier. Location scouting is one of them. There are available apps you can use: Photographer's Ephemeris, ShotHotspot, and Street View among others. You can get inspiration and information by browsing through Flickr, Pinterest, or other photographers' websites.