Choosing a photo shoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn't have to be difficult. A location usually drives some of the other decisions you will need to make about your shoot so it’s important to choose the right place.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide on a location.
What kind of theme do I want?
If a particular building or natural backdrop would work well with your theme, look around your area for spots that meet your requirements. Think about what kind of family you are; are you city dwellers who enjoy the fast paced life? Or do you prefer the calm and quiet of nature?
If you don't know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It's easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard. Ask family and friends for ideas, or your photographer may have a list of quality locations you can scope out ahead of time.
Are you allowed to take pictures there?
Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it's not public property or available to the public, you will need to get permission first.
Certain locations may not appear accessible if they require a permit. Your photographer should have access to this information and be able to obtain the permit or get the details for you. Make sure you follow the rules/guidelines put in place at locations you are requesting permission to enter to ensure a smooth session and avoid additional charges for fines. Respect goes a long way for everyone.
Is it accessible?
Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round or you might not be able to get to them at all. Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way. It's also best to think about those being included in your session; can grandma and/or grandpa walk the distance needed to get to you preferred spot? If not, have a back up location if other arrangements cannot be made. You can always include them in the beginning of the session in another location and then make the move to your selection location for the remaining time.
How do you get to your location?
Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? If you will need to change at some point during your session and your location doesn't have a spot to change, check into a portable pop-up tent/changing room. You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it, especially if you have young children!
Will the photo session be in a public place?
If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others. If not, you might want to rethink your choice of location. Timing of your session will also be a factor here. Really want a city session but don't want crowded streets? Opt for an early morning session when traffic (vehicle and foot) is minimal.
Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Most public places will be accessible; however, if you're considering a store, restaurant, coffee shop or similar be sure to ask permission first.
Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.
Drop me a comment of your ideal portrait location. I'd love to hear from you!
Ready to plan your portrait session?