In my previous blog post about “How To Scout for the Perfect Photoshoot Location” I gave you all of my tips on how to find locations that may fit the need of a photoshoot you are planning. I received a few messages saying you would love to know more about the things to “Keep In Mind” I briefly mentioned in the last post, so here we go! Here are some of the questions I ask myself to see if this spot will be a winner!
PUBLIC OR PRIVATE?
I went into more detail on this subject on my last post, but I will reiterate again - knowing whether or not the locations is public or private should be your highest concern!
TIME OF THE YEAR
This may seem like a given, but the amount of change one particular location may experience from season to season is crazy! While during fall and summer a spot may have ample leaf cover in the background to help block the direct sun, the leaves may be gone or just tiny little things in the winter or spring. Just this variation can cause a drastic change in how you must take the photos and position the clients. While one spot may be bone dry in the summer, it may be thick with mud in the winter in spring. Be sure that although a location may have worked for you in the past and would be ideal one time of the year, that it will still work for the time you are planning your next session.
TIME OF DAY
Even if you are not a photographer, more than likely you know the rule of the ‘Golden Hour’. This is my absolute favorite time to shoot! It is either the hour before sunset, or the hour after sunrise. The timing of your shoot during Golden Hour is very important, because the lighting is the absolute best it will be all day long during this time frame. The sun is at the perfect height to make colors look vibrant and bold, while minimizing the harsh glare of the sun. The light is even and glowy, and looks phenomenal on all skin tones! So while you should ideally aim for Golden Hour during your shoots, be very aware that the actual time of golden hour shifts ALL THE TIME. While in summer I may not begin shooting until after 7:00 sometimes, in winter I may begin my session around 3:30 - the time the sun sets and rises is always fluctuating, so do your research on what position the sun will be in during your photoshoot!
DIRECTION OF YOUR LIGHT SOURCE
Knowing where your light is going to be coming from during your shoot is such a must! As a rule of thumb, just know that the sun rises in the east, is at its highest point and directly overhead in the middle of the day, and sets in the west. Knowing the pattern of the sun’s movements will ensure that the background you want will be lit correctly during the time of your shoot. For example, since I am such a huge fan of shooting right before sunset, I want to make sure that my locations will be mainly focused facing the westerly direction for that dreamy glowy backlight! I avoid the harsh overhead light at all costs! The sun being directly overhead will cause harsh shadows, blow out your background, and make editing a pain in the neck!
This also should go without saying, but check the forecast and track it right up to your photoshoot! Not only should you watch out for rain, snow, and other yucky conditions, but check the forecast of the sun availability. If it is going to be mostly sunny and gorgeous, prepare for a backlit shoot. However, if you are expecting overcast skies, you may have to flip your subjects so they are FACING the direction of light - clouds easily diffuse the sun, so it makes for even lighting if you have your subjects positioned correctly!
This consideration may not be at the top of the list, but it is definitely something to keep in mind when planning your clients sessions. If they are planning to wear cowboy boots and a sundress, the better option may be to shoot in a natural, rustic landscape rather than a downtown scene. You want to make sure the wardrobe and the location are cohesive, so your shoots can emulate the vibe your client was going for!
When picking a location, try to make sure the views that will be captured in your photos will not contain any unnecessary distracting objects. This may include cars, buildings, powerlines, or even people! If the spot is too good to pass up, there are ways around including those objects in your photos. You can body block them out by placing the subject in the line of view of the object or person, so you cannot see them. You can also adjust your angle to your subject to crop the object out! And if it comes down to it, many background objects can be easily photoshopped out.