As a photographer, I am always on the lookout for great locations to use in a photoshoot. Finding the perfect location helps to solidify your session and make everything look cohesive. Your location should have good lighting, but it should also mesh with you/your vibe. In addition, it needs to compliment who you are and what you are wearing.
I am a photographer in Shelbyville, KY. I photograph sessions in Shelbyville, but also in all of the surrounding areas, including Louisville, Kentucky. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you what I look for when selecting the ideal location for your photography session.
Background and Lighting Possibilities
I am always on the lookout for pretty backdrops (i.e. trees, lakes, waterfalls, fields of flowers), but the most important thing for a location is lighting. As a photographer, lighting is key. I look for directional light (for example, the sun) and soft light (which makes every look gentler and more subtle). I would much rather shoot on an overcast day versus a sunny day (though I can do either) because sunlight diffused by clouds tends to look better and doesn’t cast as harsh of a shadow.
Since this isn’t a perfect world and the sunlight isn’t always where I want it to be, I take strobes outside with me on every shoot to create the light I want. I look for open shade and use a strobe to cast a hint of light on the face, yielding a gorgeously lit photograph. I coordinate the existing sunlight with the background in order to match the pretty background with the pretty lighting.
Texture, Props, and Seasonality
I love to incorporate texture into my settings. Sometimes it is a really cool tree with dense bark on the tree trunk or an awesome aged fence. Sometimes it is a rustic feel, like a rusty metal background, guard rail, railroad trussel, bridge, etc. I also love to incorporate greenery and flowers for texture. The beautiful color of flowers, along with the wide spectrum of colors that exist in nature, looks extra lovely in outdoor photos.
I love to incorporate natural props in a photography session. Think doors, fences, large rocks, trees, benchs, things that you can use to lean against or sit on. This allows for natural posing plus it helps to add texture to your photos as well.
I also take into account the seasons. A location that might look dull and bare during the winter may blossom during spring and become a beautiful site. On the other hand, a weedy, overgrown location during the warmer months may thin out and be the perfect location for a session during the winter.
Lakes and Waterfalls
I love the look of water in pictures. When we can incorporate water in your session, we will do so, as long as you’re game with it. Running water cascading down from a waterfall is so incredibly beautiful, as are the reflections cast in water. Oftentimes, the body of water is in full sun however, so it takes a little extra effort to scope for some shade to help with lighting.
Absolutely worth it though.
I enjoy the look and feel of taking the unexpected “not so pretty” background and placing my subject there. This takes pre-planning and requires the correct execution and composition, but it’s fun to incorporate unexpected things into the background.
I certainly don’t take all my shots this way, but it’s a bit of the unexpected and I always manage to get a little of this in. The clients usually don’t see the vision I see when I am shooting it, but absolutely LOVE the outcome and finished product. That’s what happens when you work with a photographer that you know you can trust. True magic.
A client often requests a special location. Whenever possible, as long as it’s on public property, I go ahead of time to scout the location and look at our lighting options. This helps me to plan out in advance great spots to capture. I also work on the fly and if I get a good feeling about a certain spot when I’m shooting, I shoot there. I do go into every session with a plan, which ensures I know what to expect and what I will get.
Do I have to do this? No, absolutely not. I can certainly go into any location blind and make it work. But I prefer to have a feeling of the light and what the best spots in that location are in order to help you get the perfect photos.
I am always location scouting and snapping cell phone pictures of potential spots when I am out and about. Sometimes I drive to an area just to check out locations and I keep these in mind for when I meet with a client. Once I get a feeling for what they like and want, I suggest locations to fit their needs and style. It keeps it fun and fresh for the clients and me. I like variety and I am always on the lookout for the next cool spot.
Have a perfect location in mind for your next photography session? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and let’s make it happen!
Thank you for subscribing to our blog! You will receive approximately 1 email a month linking to our most recent blog posting. It's free and full of good information! You will find valuable information related to weddings, and high school seniors and tips on photography along the way. Thanks for stopping by! Stephanie Petersen, CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) Petersen Photography, LLC www.spetersenphotography.com email@example.com (502) 437-4423