As a professional photographer choosing a location for your client, you are setting out to capture a special moment in time in their lives and turn it into a lasting physical form of that memory. No matter what the occasion, there can be a lot to think about when planning for your session, but compiling a list of photo shoot location ideas is a great place to start!
You might be wondering how to go about selecting the perfect backdrop for your clients and you are not alone! Not to worry though, below you will find a checklist that will help you to narrow down your photo shoot location ideas, leaving you feeling confident in your selection, and your client ultimately in love with the finished photos hanging on their wall!
1. Photo Shoot Locations Near Me
Whether it’s family photos, an engagement shoot, senior portraits, or maternity photos, it’s always good to start thinking of a location that holds personal significance for your clients. Perhaps it’s a place where they love to hike, went on a date, or a park where their kids love to play. It could be anything, but what matters is that it matters to them and every time they look at the photos up on their wall they will be taken back to that beloved place. Once you have a place or a few places in mind, it’s time to consider the following more practical tips to make sure this location will functionally work too.
You can always Google “photoshoot locations near me” to get you started if you are feeling stuck.
2. Schedule During the Golden Hour for the Best Natural Lighting
Does your location have good natural lighting? If you have scheduled your photo shoot during the Golden Hour (the gorgeous time leading up to sunset) it’s not as much of a concern, but if not, you will need to consider a location that has shade. Shade is important as it will keep your photos from being too bright and will ensure that your clients won’t be squinting in all of your shots. Also, depending on the time of year that you are taking these photos, shade can provide for a much more pleasant session for both you and your client, especially if it is hot out.
Always double-check sunrise/sunset times before scheduling to optimize the Golden Hour: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/
3. Choosing Your Backdrop
When you imagine these photos, what do you see? Are you picturing raw nature or a more manicured look, a water source, cityscapes, stone, structures, etc.? Choosing a location that offers at least a few different settings all within close proximity, can help you to get a variety of backdrops in your photos. Depending on the location you choose, you may be able to have it all!
If you are needing some inspiration, try consulting Pinterest and maybe even try creating a board that you could share with your clients.
4. Look for Places with Nearby Shelter and Bathrooms
It’s always good to know where the closest bathroom is, especially for family photos with kids. Knowing that there is one close by can keep you from losing out on time from your session.
It’s also important if your clients are trying to change outfits. Some photographers will provide pop-up changing tents, but if you have multiple people needing to change, this again could be time-consuming.
Lastly, hopefully, you have looked ahead at the weather. However, if you live in a place where the weather frequently changes, it’s good to know where you can run to for cover or plan ahead and bring umbrellas so that you don’t get soaked!
Check the weather ahead of time with AccuWeather
5. Consider How Crowded Your Location Might Be
Some locations that you love may also be loved by many people. Choosing a crowded place might make it difficult to get your desired shots in without also capturing other people in the background. If you are choosing a popular park, for example, make sure there aren’t any big events going on that day.
6. Research the Photography Policy
Finally, make sure to find out if the location you have chosen has a professional photography policy. Some places, even outdoors, require advance notice or scheduling for professional photos to be taken or may even charge a fee. This is definitely worth researching in advance so that your session doesn’t get interrupted or canceled. However, if a popular location does require reservations, it could be helpful to ensure that you have the place more to yourself and it’s not too crowded.
After taking these various points into consideration, hopefully you have some photo shoot location ideas in mind and are ready to choose your perfect backdrop. As you continue to hold more sessions, keep a list of all the locations that you have shot along with any pertinent notes about them so that they are easy to refer back to in the future. The longer you work in a given area the more you will develop your preferred list of locations and be able to readily call upon them when clients ask for suggestions.
For examples of my work as a professional photographer, check out my website: https://jenniferzmuda.com