Whether you have an engagement session, wedding, or family portrait coming up, it’s normal to start wondering how to choose a photography location that’s perfect for your shoot. Choosing a photography location can make or break your photo session – the right location can make epic images and the wrong location can leave you feeling stressed and uncomfortable. Knowing how to choose a photography location is so much more than just doing a google search for photography locations, you need to consider a few key elements.
How to Choose a Photography Location
#1 – Do you have a deeply meaningful location in mind?
As a documentary-style wedding photographer, my job is to photograph folks being their authentic selves. Authenticity comes from being surrounded by things that make you genuinely happy, excited and emotional (in a good way!) If you have a location that is deeply meaningful to you, I urge you to consider that location for your wedding photos or engagement photography. A deeply meaningful location can be where you first met, a memorable date, a neighborhood you once lived in, or where you got engaged – just to name a few. When it comes to knowing how to choose a photography location, take a minute to reflect on where some of your amazing moments as a couple have happened and discuss those spots with your photographer as possible locations to use for photos.
#2 – What’s the vibe you want?
When it comes to knowing how to choose a photography location, you need to consider esthetics as a major factor in your decision-making. If you love architecture and dramatic images, then don’t choose a park for your photos just because someone suggested it to you as a nearby location. The esthetics of your surroundings are going to greatly impact the vibe of your photos.
Another thing to consider when it comes to vibe and esthetic is your photographer’s style. If you hired them because you adored the images you saw them take in parks and green spaces, then consider that as your photography location. But if you hired them because of their dramatic lighting, moody styles, and rich, vibrant tones – then being in a big open green space in mid-day lighting isn’t going to get you that look. As always, when you’re unsure what to choose, ask them for their advice!
#3 – Consider what time you’re shooting
Timing is everything when it comes to choosing a photography location because timing = light! If you’re choosing mid-day when the sun is high in the sky, the last place you want to be is a big open field or park. This is because harsh mid-day sun is one of the least flattering kinds of light and one of the most difficult to work with. If you have no choice but to shoot in the mid-day sun, prioritize a location that has plenty of shade and covered spaces – or even an indoor photography location!
#4 – Consider your ability to reschedule
Some types of shoots can be rescheduled due to inclement weather – others cannot. If you have the ability to reschedule your shoot, then you have a bit more flexibility with your location choice. If you can’t reschedule your shoot, then you need to know how to choose a photography location that is weather-proof!!
A weather-proof photography location is, ideally, an indoor photography location. It can also be an outdoor location that has considerable covered areas but this should only be considered as a last resort as covered locations are often small, not great for larger groups, and leave your photographer out in the rain in order to take the images!
#5 – Consider the level of creativity you want
The last tip – and truthfully, I think the most important one, is thinking about how creative you want to get with your photos. Photography locations that are versatile often lead to the most creative. A versatile photography location is one where there are different kinds of light (direct light, light coming through a window, etc.) as well as one that has a variety of options for sitting, leaning, and standing. A lot of couples aren’t aware of how important it is to be able to sit comfortably during a photo session – you don’t want to be standing the whole time! Finally, a versatile location is one that has a variety of backgrounds and areas to shoot in that don’t look repetitive (ie: a park is always going to look like a park, but a historic site will have a combination of architecture and greenery, etc.)
Our last bit of advice…
When it comes to learning how to choose a photography location, you absolutely need to keep those 5 tips in mind but I’m going to share a wee bit more of advice for those of you who made it all the way to the bottom of the article. A photography location is only as amazing as a couple’s willingness to participate in the session with their whole heart. It’s understandable that you may feel intimidated with the idea of a professional photography shoot since a lot of people haven’t had pro photos taken outside of graduation and school photos, but you need to be able to find ways to push that aside and truly be present during your session. If you’re nervous about your upcoming photography session, chat with your photographer and bring up those concerns – I can guarantee you that we’re always happy to provide the reassurance necessary to help you rock your session!!