Photography is indeed an art, a very complex and intriguing form of art. It doesn’t just require photography techniques and a good camera, but also the correct mindset. While a camera is one of the most important assets for a photographer, it takes more than just that and your skills to take a good photo. Any seasoned photographer will vouch for the fact that there are several external factors influencing the outcome in a major way, at any given time. The weather, the location, and the lighting are all included, and these aren’t even all of them!


Speaking of photo locations, in a photography journey, one of the biggest challenges that you might come across is scouting locations! You need to keep many things in mind before you choose a location. Firstly, choosing a location itself is a tedious task. Once you have your priorities set for your subject, you will have an idea of what kind of background you’re looking for. With choosing a location comes other factors that you must take into account. The time it takes to travel there, lighting and backgrounds at different hours of the day, clarity and quality of your location, allowances, fees or permit requirements, weather, humidity, and ambiance, are just some of the factors. Choosing a location not only puts emphasis on the real meaning of your subject but also how it will be portrayed in the eyes of the audience. What might be ‘gold and glitter’ for you, might not carry the same amount of meaning to your audience. 


Scouting the location, no matter how long you have done it, doesn’t get any easier with time. As a photographer, you always need to have a keen eye on any enticing location and make a mental note of it, and you never know when you might need it. Confused about what locations to choose from? Here are the top three locations that you can never go wrong with!


At home: Still life and still art can be found, literally at home, even in your room. Start with a layout to understand shadows, lighting, and the ambiance. The subject should be clear in your mind. Color coordination is an important aspect of the photoshoot. Objects with different opacities can help you understand the concept of lighting better. If you are taking wedding details flatlay photographs, it is most natural to do it indoors, whether it is the couple’s home, or in one of the rooms of the venue. 


Nature: Gardens, parks, mountains, beaches, etc. are a few spots that are considered great natural locations. Here, the most important thing is the angle. A few examples of angles are bug’s eye-view, bird’s eye-view, parallel view, foreground, and background view. Angles are important because it makes the subject more crystal clear as it helps you convey what you want through your photography. Natural locations are set to be a photographer’s safe bet, something that you can’t go wrong with as there are tons of things to experiment with, many elements to choose from, and due to the presence of abundant variations, the output tends to be successful.


Tourist attractions: Every city is speckled with historic buildings and age-old tourist attractions, making the city so special. Needless to say, when scouting for locations, tourist attractions make great locations, as they are not only guaranteed to be pretty and aesthetically pleasing, but they are also often situated outdoors, which means you get to take advantage of the natural lighting. Tourist attractions can be parks, museums, amusement parks, beaches, historic architecture, and many more, so the options are inexhaustible. However, being as popular as they are, tourist attractions also come with a great deal of inconveniences like large crowds, which might make your photoshoot difficult, and they might also come with photography restrictions, permit requirements, and hefty admission fees.


A well-prepared studio: It is indeed a model’s arena i.e human photography has been highlighted. Here, a photographer has quite a number of restrictions to face. The subject here guides the photographer on how to go about the whole session. This puts them under a lot of restrictions as they have to adjust according to the subject and cannot really make real changes to it, since it is a live object. This is the only location or area where the photographer requires the maximum number of equipment. 


That being said, the possible photoshoot locations are not limited to the studio, natural locations, and tourist attractions. In fact, this goes on to show that everything, in fact, has the potential to be a photoshoot location, if it fits the vibe. There are other locations that work, such as sports complexes, commercial buildings, a busy sidewalk, an abandoned railway track, an aesthetic graffiti wall, and everything in between. 


There are many factors you’ll have to keep in mind while scouting a location. Here are important things to keep in mind:

Know your road map: When you know your agenda, you know what to work with and need to search for. Every photo a photographer creates has a story to tell. The location of your photoshoot should go hand-in-hand with different elements surrounding your model or subject. The mood board images can be a guiding map to your story as well. In some cases, mood boards can be more conceptual like understanding textures, color palettes, desired light elements, etc. The photography should have a start, climax, and an ending, just like a story. A photo story is a series of photos or pictures put in chronological order in which the next photo has a strong relation to the previous photo as if it is trying to convey a story. A photographer has to bring in emotions to his output so that when the audience encounters their work, the feelings should be reflected on them. This can include making the location to the mood of the photoshoot and the story you want to portray. You can also scout a new location prior to the photoshoot so you get a sense of the trip as well as where to park where to meet your client and where exactly you can go for optimal photos. 


Getting location access: Choosing a location can be extremely easy when it is in your mind but implementing them or using the location in real life can be one of the challenges that a photographer might encounter. Being ethical and knowing your boundaries are very crucial when you decide to go to a certain location. Asking for formal permission to shoot at a particular location can show your ethics and it would make the job of getting your output easy. Do a swift prior check for any access limitations, fees, permits, or permissions to avoid any last-minute roadblocks. Many locations have extra charges as well as ‘photography restrictions’ as one of their privacy concerns. In such situations, do apply for prior formal notice to the authority of the location. 


Take note of the location’s lighting: It’s critical to keep a mental note of the lighting in a specific spot. The same place might look extremely different at different times of the day, so it’s a good idea to visit at several times of the day to figure out when the light is ideal. While scouting, take images to document how various regions are naturally lit. You can predict how the light will change during the day of your shoot based on those. It’s useful to know if the light will become harsher overhead or if it will be blocked by trees or towering structures. Later, you can employ these photographs as a starting point for structuring your shots for the day.


Scouting locations for your upcoming photoshoot can surely be an adventure of its own. It can be as easy as a walk in the park (quite literally!) or as rocky as a ride on the rollercoaster. However, the extra time that you invest in your project has the potential to make all the difference. 

Join Our Community

We have more than 2000 members around the world

Join Community

Follow Us

Get the latest news and photo inspiration.