Photography Photo-shoot Locations…The Dilemma of Location?

How well I remember always feeling confused about where I would do a photo-shoot. That too-familiar feeling of where to go? What will it be like when I get there? What time should I set up the shoot? What lens? What settings? Props…do I need any? How often I would try and play out the scene of setup, position the client(s), etc. Of course there were plenty of questions running through my head, and today, they are often resurrected…if I allow them to be. If I do, I am going to struggle with my shoot.

But for this post, I simply want to talk about the anxiety of location; where will I do the photo-shoot once I book it. Though considering location for a photo-shoot seems to be one dilemma and one dilemma only, it actually comes in a package; there are mini-dilemmas within the “Dilemma of Location”. I call these mini-dilemmas “stress-demons”.


Below is an example of a simple location…the raw shoot compared to the final edit. This is to give you and idea of how simple it can be to select a generic location and rely on your talent, skill, and instinct to reach the final result!

Photography should be performed, not practiced. Like an avid martial artist, there should be no mind…only opportunity.

Shooting a portrait between two lanes of a busy boulevard. I call this location, “The Forest of Middle Earth”!
Shooting with Canon t6s with 85mm Prime lens – f/2 – ISO 800 Exposure tweeks in Adobe Lightroom

So when to choosing locations trust your instincts…you’re a photographer, a performer, an artist!

When preparing for a shoot, you have two options, and two options only when it comes to location.
1. Location you choose
2. Location your client chooses

Each is determined by answering the basic questions we learned in elementary school. Who? What? When? Where? and Why? Notice where the “Where” is…after the Who, the What and the When. Answer the first four and the “where” will present itself.

Keep it simple. Use your instincts. You’re a Photographer, a performer, an artist…

The location I choose is usually based upon shoots that I solicit. The location client chooses is usually based upon the client’s request for my services. With any scenario, I always have the choice to choose location. This decision is usually based upon familiarity or simply cost of time and travel. It’s about the who, what when and where. You already know how. If not, you will if you accept this simple truth. Believe that mistakes are necessary for future success.

“A Girl and Her Violin” Canon t6s – 85mm prime…f/1.8…ISO 100 Shot on tripod triple bracket exposure.

Confused? Here’s the bottom line.
I can do a quality photo-shoot with awesome results anywhere I find myself at any given time. I can open my car door, walk twenty steps with my camera and tripod, drop a mirror in the grass and take a shot like this shot below of a young fairy princess admiring her beauty in a pool of water. It’s about the light. This was early morning sunlight!

Shot in early morning sunlight!

Besides, portrait shoots are not about the scenery…it’s about the client! Scenery can create a mood, an atmosphere of joy or excitement, this is true. But as a photographer, I am not just taking pictures. I am creating a stage, and atmosphere, an emotion, simply by my presence, my camera, and my excitement for my client!

I am a photography, a performer, an artist…

The client can’t imagine the results, but I can. Yes, my camera and lens are the first view into a new creation of expression on print, but I have an editing process on the back end. I can create whatever genre I wish…fashion, fantasy, classic, black & white, fine art, and more! So location is a simple thing for me. ¬†Once it was a struggle, but through mistakes, experience, and time, I learned different. Once again it includes the basic questions…Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

These questions are for you, the photographer, to utilize. Answer them for yourself…fill in the blanks. Then you will clearly understand.

How do I put this all together into creating a quality shoot, where my client is thrilled with the results? Answer the five questions, and YOU will be thrilled with the results. You are your own best critic. Then you will answer the question of “How”? How you ask? With passion. Passion is our driving force to achieve.

Remember, trust your instincts…
You are a photographer, a performer, and artist…

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