There’s nothing better than using the outdoors for photo shoots in summer. Long days and plenty of light, make for the perfect setting for engagement and wedding photo shoots. A photo assignment in summer gives you the opportunity to try different things and take photos in natural light. Although summer is perfect for outdoor photo assignments, the challenge is that natural light is something you can’t control or tinker with. And this is why finding the right “location” for your photo shoot becomes important. For your photos to turn out the way they’re meant to be, you’ll need help with scouting locations! This blog will go over some tips and tricks to help you find the right place to take photos of your clients.


1. Understand the area 

When you’re on a photo assignment, chances are your client has already thought of a location or decided upon a place to have their photos taken by you. Before the day of the assignment, ask them to share the name of the location. Since your clients will be from the same area or city, you’ll know where to go and what to expect. As you won’t have the name of the locations a couple of weeks prior, the advice of visiting the location and checking it out is not something you’d be able to do. However, all is not lost.

Once you have the name of the location before the photo assignment is to take place, look it up on Google Maps. Do some research and try learning about space. This will help you prepare for the day of the photo shoot. Additionally, it will help you to create a timeline of photos and compose the ideas of photos you’d like to take.

Note: If possible, you can visit the location prior to the photo shoot. This applies only if you have the details of the location of the photo assignment and you’re allowed inside the venue of the photo shoot. In general, you can rely on online information to check out the venue.


2. Think About the Light 

One of the reasons why photo shoot location scouting is important is because as we mentioned earlier, you cannot control natural light. For example, if you have an outdoor engagement photo assignment, one of the key things to remember is if your clients want the photos in one location or if they have a couple of locations on their minds. If your clients have one location in mind, your work is pretty easy. However, if they want to take photos in different locations, then you’ll have to work a little extra and get an idea of the space and the timing of the light.

See, when you’re working with natural light, some tools like portable screens and light diffusers can help you. However, the primary thing to take note of will be the early morning glow, the golden hour, and the afternoon sun. The light changes as the day progresses. Our advice will be to wait for the early morning light or the golden hour to take the “big shots.” And use the afternoon sun to take detailed photos. Or you can use the afternoon light for photography with props.


3. Keep an Open Mind

A dynamic environment is always an amazing way to make the most of your time with a camera. Even if you’re not familiar with the location, and you’re not aware of the places and spots you can use for your photo shoot, it can be easily remedied with a calm mind. When you enter the venue, be sure to take a quick sweep of the area, this will give you an idea of how the light of the summer day plays with the components of the venue. Also, as you’re walking with your clients, be careful. Keep an eye out for opportunities.


4. Look for Summer Beauty 

The best part about summer is that everything is in bloom, and you can use it to your advantage. If you’re not sure how to position your clients and take photos, you can simply look for flowers or flower beds. Also, if you’re in an urban setting, you can use reflection photography, natural light in summer makes for an amazing tool. If you’re taking wedding photos, you can use the outdoors of the venue to take amazing photos. The point here is, as a photographer, you’re used to looking around and making the most of what you’ve got on your plate. Be sure to keep that in mind when you enter an unknown venue or location.


Bonus: Work on in the Off-Season 

When we say “work on it during the off-season” we don’t mean to work with the light. Obviously, you will not have the luxury of playing with the warm glow of summer all year round. Even if the season has passed, and you’re looking to upskill, the best way to do so is to put yourself in uncomfortable positions. Since most of the time, you won’t have the information about the venue beforehand, and even if you do, you won’t be able to visit the location in person. It is best that you start by preparing your mind.

During the off-season, you can try to get a grip on learning how to scout locations. To do this, you can visit different places in your city, randomly picked. And take photos of different spots, work on understanding natural light, and find the places where you’d like to take photos in an unfamiliar environment. This will help you create a mindset of scouting locations no matter what time of the year, and what venue.


More Tips: Some Handy Tips to Help You Scout Locations Better

Although location scouting in summer is fairly easy and fun, it is not exactly as “clear-cut” as it would seem. The sections above help you to understand the basics of location scouting, which will help you to improve your photo sessions with clients, regardless of the season. Here are some additional location-scouting tips that you can use to look for more locations in summer:


1. Location Scouting Apps: Use All of Your Resources

One of the best ways to get the information you need for any location is to use a location-scouting app. Most photographers, videographers, and cinematographers use these apps to understand the landscape of the area. Depending on the app you use, the information can be different. You can also use location-scouting websites to find better locations!


2. Check the Local Newspaper: Always be on the Lookout! 

Another interesting tip for location scouting is to check the local newspaper. Flip the newspaper page-by-page, this will help you find nooks and crannies in your city or location. Additionally, you can use the local newspaper to keep tabs on any events happening around the area, this can help you take better photos. Although your clients will probably have the location picked out, you can still offer them a suggestion or two. And if your clients are on-board with adding a new location to their engagement photo shoot, or any other kind of photo shoot, you can take your clients to the spot.


3. Google Street View: The Perfect Help

We’ve already talked about using Google Maps and smartphone apps, but how about adding something more to it? If you’re looking for the perfect photoshoot spots for your photo assignment, after the preliminary research, think of inputting the coordinates into Google Street View. This will help you understand the bare bones of the location and will help you to frame the compositions in your mind.


4. Gear and Bit-n-Bobs: Protect your Gear

Although most of our blog, so far, has been shedding light on simply looking for the perfect outdoor photoshoot locations, which can lead you to forget an important thing. Location scouting is not only important because you’ll find the best spots for photo shoots, but also to prepare you for the day of the photo assignment. Once you select photo shoot spots for your assignment, you’ll know what camera equipment to pack and what to take along for the day. When you’re searching for locations, remember to make notes on which equipment to take.

Also Note: When you’re making notes, a day before or on the day of the photo assignment, check the daily weather forecast. This will help you know what to expect during the day, and help you pack some extra things, depending on the weather.


5. Patience and Quick Thinking: Don’t Let the Day Overwhelm You

As photographers, you’re probably used to making the best of any situation. However, when we’re going through things, it is easy to forget the obvious. Since you cannot control natural light, work around it. Don’t let the natural light make you lose your confidence as you’re taking the photos. You can use some tricks to take photos in natural light. However, if things don’t work out, don’t stress out. Remain calm and look for better spots in the venue, from shaded spots to under the leaves, from near a water body to near a flowerbed, everything and anything can become the perfect spot for photos.


The Takeaway

Scouting locations for photo shoots basically means you’ll have to look for spaces to take photos of your clients. It refers to looking for the perfect area or spot where the backdrop is as impressive as the light streaming into the area. Also, location scouting refers to looking for nooks and crannies in a venue picked out by your clients that will serve as the perfect spot for the photo shoot. For this, you’ll need to pay attention to the time of the day and what the venue has to offer. And this brings us to the point of this blog, it is easier to find a good spot when you get into the mindset of looking for locations. We hope that this blog helps you look for spots in a venue or otherwise effortlessly.

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