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Most photographers think that clients have already picked the location for their photoshoots. While this may be true on some occasions, there are clients who rely on photographers to choose the right spot.
When selecting a place, you need to consider aspects such as the shoot’s theme, colors, time, and weather. To save you hours of frustration, we’re sharing tips on how you can choose the right locations for photoshoots.
Along with the quality of your photos, clients are hiring you for your expertise and your ability to give them a great experience. When they look for recommendations on where to shoot, it’s your job to ensure you’re suggesting places that you know will work well for that specific session.
Use the following tips to make it easier for you to secure a place for your client’s photo shoot.
To help you and your clients select a good location, you must first ask the client if they have a theme for the portrait session. In this way, you can narrow down possible areas that are suitable for the style.
For example, does the client want a boho or a fairy-themed shoot? If the client doesn’t have an exact place in mind, you can suggest places with earthy tones or a park filled with natural plants. Understanding the client’s overall vision for the portrait session is key in picking out the right spot.
Some clients will immediately tell you their preferred locations. In some cases, it could be the school where they studied together or an event venue where they first met. By using a site that is special to the client, they will feel more relaxed during the portrait session.
Every client is unique, so take the time to get to know about your subject. Ask them if they would like to incorporate hobbies in the shoot, or they have a favorite place to spend time together.
As a technical tip, if your clients have an indoor location they really want to shoot at, be sure to take time beforehand to scout it. Indoor locations are generally darker, and it’s important to know if you’ll need additional lighting, or if you’ll be able to use natural light by changing your exposure settings and boosting the ISO to let enough light into the camera.
With these details, you can work on possible suggestions:
- Urban/High Fashion: Choose a downtown area or busy neighborhood with lots of buildings, metal accents, reflective windows.
- Homey: It can be the client’s actual home or another place where they feel at home. It may be a warm location like a field or coffee shop they frequently visit.
- Nature/Ethereal: Parks with lots of trees, flowers, green grass, and even a pond. Another option is an open field with little to no distractions in the background.
- Vintage: Old architectural buildings like heritage houses, historical landmarks, or museums. Structures with big arches, massive columns, or wooden doors that give off a vintage vibe.
- Beach: This is ideal for clients who love to bask under the sun and relax while looking out at the blue water.
There may be clients who have two contrasting ideas in mind and want to shoot at multiple locations. Depending on the length of the shoot, it will be up to you to determine if this is a possibility or not.
When deciding that a session can be held in multiple locations, be sure that the spots are different enough from one another. For example, if both places are gardens, consider if it’s actually worthwhile to spend time driving to the second location.
Oftentimes, clients will want multiple locations because they are afraid one spot will not give them enough variety in the photos. This is where it’s your job to make sure you are suggesting locations that you know you can get several different looks from.
While photos with a lake in the background might be pretty for a few shots, is the surrounding area something you can feasibly work with to create multiple looks? If not, think through if that spot is actually worth shooting at.
Although some places are open to the public, you have to check whether you need to pay for a fee or request a permit. Consequently, you must inform the client about this, particularly if the invoice must include the fee.
If you’re opting for an urban setting, you can pick a busy street with other people and buildings serving as the background. Since it’s usually free to shoot on the streets, you have to be mindful not to block the sidewalk or take too much space.
On the other hand, you can scout for a people-free zone if you think a public area will be too distracting for the photoshoot’s style. In addition, some clients don’t like posing when there are too many people around. Hence, you need to consider whether they are more comfortable in a public or private space.
Green environments, like a park, are good for fresh and lively family shoots. Blue skies and white sandy beaches set a romantic feel for couples getting an engagement photo session.
Colorful buildings or theme parks radiate a youthful vibe that is suitable for senior portrait sessions.
If the background has monotone blacks and grays, your subject can wear striking tones to make them pop out of the image. For locations with trails of pastel colors, your subject can also play with tones complementary to the background.
Families who want a playful shoot in a greenfield can wear soft, neutral colors.
Overall, you have to consider whether the time is suitable for the clients’ well-being. Some families need to maintain their babies’ nap and feeding times so that they all have the necessary energy for the portrait session.
If you’re shooting outdoors, the strength and color of natural light changes throughout the day. Early morning is a beautiful time because there’s enough light and the temperature is still cool.
Midday is the worst time of the day to shoot outdoors because the sun is overhead, making the light harsher and shadows harder to control.
Meanwhile, you can wait for the golden hour to get warm tones. If you’re in an urban setting, tall buildings can provide shade even when the sun is up. As you can see, time can be a major factor when choosing a location for photoshoots.
Weather is another huge factor in helping you pick the right location. Rain can postpone or cancel a scheduled shoot, especially if the place is outdoors. When this happens, make sure to have a backup area or confirm if the client would be willing to reschedule the shoot.
Aside from that, plan the right gear to bring when you’re unsure whether the location will be shaded or exposed to full sun. Check if you have the appropriate reflectors or strobes to light your subject.
Likewise, remember that your light source will be diffused if you’re photographing in a shaded area.
Each client is different, and choosing the perfect location is important to provide them with a memorable portrait session. Remember to work together with clients to visualize the right place for their photoshoot, and give them a personalized experience.