Many times when we schedule a shoot with a client it is at a location around town. Many of us do not own a proper studio so we make due with what we can. Clients always have an idea of what they want their photographs to look like and always give input or have the perfect location in mind. This can be challenging if you have not shot at the location before. What is the sun going to be doing there at the scheduled time? Do I need a permit to photograph there? Even if the place seems abandoned, is it? Who owns the property? These are just a small sample of the questions that go through my head.
I like to scout out the location ahead of time within a few days of the shoot around the time the shoot is scheduled. This will give me an idea of what to expect with lighting and traffic in the area. The location scout is very important and I recommend doing it if you do not.
While I was interning in Las Vegas for Jana Cruder she has a huge shoot booked at Caesars Palace. Her first assistant and I went a week before the shoot to meet their media people and get everything cleared through them. Most of the shoot was in the pool area so all of the equipment was going to be hauled through the casino floor and elevators. While in the elevator I starting wondering how I was going to get a 24 foot roll of paper in there. It looked like it wasn't going to fit. So we got it worked out to use the freight elevators and in the end, the day went flawlessly, on schedule and the photographs looked beautiful. This is a prime example of how a location scout helped the logistics of an all day session.
Commercial work and locations work differently than portrait sessions for me. When shooting a portrait I just want my client to be as comfortable as possible so that comfort comes through in the finished product. Emotions are more involved on their end than with commercial work. So the more comfortable they are the more comfortable I am. That is always evident in the photographs.
As for scenery and landscape images everyone says location is key. I think of Ansel Adams work in the west/southwest when I think of desert landscapes. Galen Rowell running up the side of the mountain as the sun sets to get that beautiful sunset.
I live in Kansas. When you think of the Kansas landscape chances are tornadoes, wheat fields and sunflowers come to mind. While those things are very common in Kansas there is a lot more to the state. You just have to find it.
Which brings me to my point, you have to find the right frame no matter what your locational challenges are. Just look around it will come to you. Leave no road untraveled, no corner unknown or any path unwalked. You never know what you might find.
I started thinking of all of this tonight while sitting at work. Yes, I have a regular job outside of photography like a lot of you do.
I love the sunsets here on the plains. The horizon as wide as it is makes for some beautiful ones and five nights out of the week I am here at work, missing that vastness. So I make it my goal to find someway to take a photo (iphone camera) of it in a new challenging way. It gets hard, but that's the fun of it.
If any of you are interested in seeing my sunset images from work, along with what ever other random images I put up you can follow me on instagram. My user name is @underaglassmoon. Its basically photos of my daily life that are all over the subject matter map. With my sunsets I use the hashtag #holysunset.
I think I just booked a wedding in a town I have never been to. I guess I need to start scouting.