Photographers need to know a wide range of venues to suit different types of photoshoots. The same is true whether you are a general photographer or specialize in a specific service such as wedding photos or taking school portraits.
Finding and picking the right location shows the photographer’s creativity and expertise. By doing the photoshoot outdoors, photographers have to be quick as the amount of time available is limited. Plus, the light can change depending on the time of day and the weather.
Client requirements and preferences can also vary. Engagement shoots, for instance, provide couples with an excellent opportunity to let loose and try something unique. Couples can go for a more traditional route or go crazy with a fantasy theme.
If you are running out of ideas for an upcoming shoot, here are a few tips to help you unleash your creativity and find new photoshoot venues.
1. Break your routine
Do you always take the usual route to and from work? Change things up by taking a different route. It may take longer to get home, but you may come across a location that you’ve never been to before.
Take your time while driving through this new route and observe the area. Perhaps you will come across a field of flowers, a park or area with stately, beautiful trees. The foliage can provide your subjects with some shade and subtle shadows.
Along the way, you may also find some distinct man-made structures that you can use as a backdrop for your images. It could be a bridge, a barn, an old garage, or even a swing. These objects may look ordinary to the naked eye, but how you use these landmarks can create a distinct background for your photos.
Take some sample photos as reference and write down notes on a journal or a piece of paper. You may not be able to use it for your next shoot, but by keeping snapshots and notes, you can have new sites that you can try out for your future projects.
2. Ditch the car
Better yet, leave your vehicle at home and ride a bike or walk around. The slower pace can clear your head and force you to be more mindful of your surroundings. Plus, by ditching the car, you can stop anytime during the trip without having to worry about finding a parking spot or blocking the path.
Biking or walking also gives you more time to think and brainstorm ideas for your next shoots. When you explore, don’t forget to bring a journal and a camera to note down your discoveries.
3. Change your perspective
Don’t settle for looking at things from a distance. Get closer; take photos up close to capture the details. The aim is to see the area from a different point of view.
Shoot from above or lie down and shoot up. By photographing from several angles and directions, you can get ideas on what you can do in that area if you do hold any of your shoots there.
4. Consider your clients
Learn as much as you can about your clients during the initial consultation sessions. They may reveal details that you can use for the shoot. By using a location that is significant to your clients, you can produce photos that hold more meaning for them.
There is also the added benefit of comfort. In most cases, when you take a photo of your clients in their favorite place, they feel more comfortable. This feeling of comfort and possibly even nostalgia will show, making it easier for you to take great photographs.
For instance, couples may want some of the shots taken at the place where they first met. It could be a place as unassuming as an old diner. Families may wish to have their photos taken inside their home or by a lake nearby. Whatever the case may be, these unique spots can also encourage you to be open and flexible.
4. Look for shelter outdoors
When doing a photoshoot outdoors, you can never tell how the weather will turn out even with using apps and weather charts. It could suddenly rain while you are taking photos outdoors. As such, look for alternative venues nearby that you could use if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
If you are planning to shoot outdoors, look for a bridge or any structure with a roof. If you are holding the shoot in the city, look for a cafe, a church, or any establishment that will allow you to use your cameras inside. By having a backup venue, you can provide some variety in the photos, and protect your equipment from getting wet.
Finding the right venue for your shoot can be a challenge as there are many factors to consider. By following these tips, you can flex your creative muscles and find sites that you can add to your list of potential locations.
Stefanie Descheemaecker is the Studio Manager at Stu Williamson Photography at The Palm Jumeirah – Fairmont in Dubai. She has been with the company for almost 3 years and is the driving force behind the success of the business. A keen amateur photographer, Stef combines her natural creative eye with a strong business acumen to help Stu Williamson Photography become the most trusted and successful photography business in the UAE.