How to Scout for Portrait Shooting Locations

It’s only natural to look for amazing and extravagant areas to use as location photography spots. But a problem with these areas is that they are too extravagant, and while they may be unique to photograph on their own, they do not work well when used as a location spot. This is because they pull interest away from your model, who is the main subject. Simplistic areas tend to work the best for locations spots. These areas should have a simple theme or feel that complement your subject rather than pull away from them.

While you should always retain a fairly large number of potential location photography areas, you should remember that not every spot will work for every shoot. The majority of the location photography areas you use should hold an almost universal appeal that allows the area to complement virtually any shoot. If you only use specialized locations then you will inevitably come across a shoot that none of your locations will work for. It is good to retain a few cliche location photography areas, such as train tracks, a “downtown” area, an open field, and a lightly wooded area, but also to keep some specialized locations as well, such as an industrial area, a unique alley, a train bridge, and even a rundown building (not a condemned building, as that is unsafe and illegal.)

Multiple Areas in a Single Area
As you scout for locations this is probably one of the main points to keep in mind, as it lends itself greatly to the universality of a location photography spot. An area that you believe would work well for location photography should contain multiple areas that you can shoot at, all within the same general area. For example is a decommissioned railroad bridge. This location has a unique predominate area of an old wooden bridge with railroad tracks, but you can also use the underside of the bridge, the creek the runs underneath it, or even the light wooded area that surrounds the bridge as areas to shoot.

Safety, Seriously
This is a huge part of finding locations to shoot at, and should always be the main point kept in mind when deciding on a location. Make sure to inspect every aspect of the location to make sure it is suitable to do a shoot, and if it’s not, do not use that location no matter how interesting it is. A cool photo is not worth getting sued or going to jail for reckless endangerment (or potentially manslaughter). Be smart about your location choices, seriously.

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