The right location is a crucial component of achieving those fabulous photos you want and deserve.
So, it makes sense to dedicate sufficient time and energy before your photoshoot to finding somewhere that ticks all the boxes.
That’s why I work extensively with my clients on this very question during our preparatory calls. Although it may seem a little overwhelming at first, there really is no need to panic – just bear in mind these seven simple steps, and you’ll be guaranteed to have a fabulous day!
A photoshoot is, ultimately, all about you.
The vibe or ‘feel’ of a place is extremely important – in my opinion, the most important – aspect of choosing a location that suits you.
Ask yourself “where do I feel most alive?” and “where am I most myself?”. The places that spring to mind are a great place to start. Remember that if you feel comfortable and happy, your authentic spirit will shine through the photographs, allowing clients and collaborators to instantly connect with the real you.
A beautiful, soulful place – whether that’s a stunning beach, luxurious apartment, or your favourite cosy corner in a cafe – has the power to uplift you and evoke all your passions and emotions, which enables me to capture you at your best!
Once you’ve got the vibe down, style is the next item to consider.
It’s a non-negotiable that you need to feel good – and once that’s sorted, we can turn our attentions to creating a compelling and juicy story around you and your business.
Who are your dream clients? Where do they love to hang out? What set-ups will inspire and attract them? Where in the market have you positioned your business?
Once you’ve answered these questions, delve a little deeper into the detail and consider your overall brand style – is it based on more natural, earthy, muted tones? Or are strong, vibrant, urban colours more your thing?
For example, if your key client demographic is overworked corporate-types longing to start their own business, using a beautiful location to evoke feelings of freedom and independence in your photos will work wonders.
Likewise, if you love to work with high-flying powerful women who love urban life, shopping and cocktails, choosing a luxurious city apartment or hotel lobby will be more appropriate.
Any photographer worth their salt will tell you the most important component of a great photograph is light. Us togs live and breathe this stuff, and it’s crucial to get it right.
Unless you want a very styled, studio shoot with dozens of lighting panels (if so, I’m probably not the photographer for you!), then natural light is crucial to obtaining beautifully balanced, soulful images.
That’s why I aim to incorporate outdoor time in every shoot I put together, and it also means any indoor location you’d like to use must have buckets of good natural light, such as large windows, rooflights or french doors etc.
Whilst much can be improved by positioning and using lamps or overheads, there is a magic and clarity inherent in natural light which cannot be replicated artificially. That’s why a location with loads of natural light will always be top of my list!
I recently restructured my packages to ensure my clients and I get a full day together to capture gorgeous photos. Not only does this mean things are way more relaxed and less rushed ( bonus!), it also enables us to include a multitude of different looks and setups.
Thus, the more variety available at a location, the better.
So, if you are shooting in a town or city, is there a locale which offers a beautiful park for some natural shots, a cute cafe round the corner for ‘coffee and laptop’ setups, and a few quirky boutiques up the road for lifestyle pictures?
Or, if you’re embracing the natural outdoor look and want to shoot on a beach, can it offer wide open expanses for those inspirational images, a cute beach hut for interior shots, and some beautiful sand dunes for magic hour close-ups?
Most photographers are experts at turning untidy, small or uninteresting backdrops into something gorgeous, but the more raw material we have to work with, the easier the day will flow and the more beautiful your images will be!
For better or worse, we live in a country whose weather is often unpredictable and can vary from one extreme to another in a single day.
Therefore, choosing a location that offers options for all eventualities will mean we can keep shooting – even if there’s a freak snowstorm (hasn’t happened yet, but it might!).
Whilst it’s always of benefit to have a couple of truly ‘indoor’ options, sometimes just some sheltered areas (such as large trees or a lean-to etc) can give us alternatives to work with.
Many of my clients choose to shoot away from home, taking advantage of a wider range of exciting and beautiful locations. However, convenience and uniqueness are always a balancing act – whilst I always encourage clients to think big when it comes to locations, we’ll need to ensure we figure out the logistics well ahead of schedule.
Doing so not only ensures the day runs smoothly, but also that we don’t waste large portions of it travelling to and from different places.
So, if you want to use that rustic cabin in the woods (sounds awesome!), we’ll need to incorporate the 80 minute hike there and back into our schedule.
And if you’re not shooting close to home, I’d advise you to book accommodation the night before so you don’t need to get up at 5:30am for the three hour drive, arriving frazzled and tired for your photos!
Many – in fact most – of the locations I’ve used with clients over the years have been completely free. But if you’re hankering after a carefully styled set-up in a high-end hotel, or exclusive use of a public place, there could be a price tag attached.
Often it’s not as a high as you think, so it’s always worth asking. I also have connections to professional location agencies who can not only secure preferential rates, but can often find similar, less expensive alternatives if your original choice is just too pricey. But please bear in mind your own budget whilst selecting your dream location!
ONE EXTRA (SECRET!) TIP
Hopefully these pointers have given you some guidance around how to pick the ideal location.
One final tip I would offer is this – allow yourself time to mull this over for a few days, making notes of anything that comes to mind. It might not feel like much at that moment, or it might seem waaaayyyy too grand or crazy to work… but pop it down anyway. There’s always a way to create what you want, even if you have no idea how it will come about! Use Pinterest for inspiration, and keep noting everything down, ready for brainstorming with me on a deliciously fun branding call!
If this guide has got your juices going and you’d like to discuss the possibilities for creating an incredible, fun and authentic photoshoot just for you, do get in touch – I’d love to chat!
‘Til next time,