how the heck do i find a new location for my session??
if you're a photographer, chances are you know the struggle. especially if you've used the same 5 locations and wore them all out! i recently moved states, and i had to start from complete scratch. not only do you have to think of a gorgeous scenic landscape, but you also want to make sure it's not insanely busy so that your clients are comfortable.
i thought it might be helpful to put together a few tips that i consider when searching for new locations.
ask your clients what look they're going for
first, start with asking your client what they want the vibe of their session to be. some want nature, others want a more urban look. from there, you can narrow it down to an exact place. if your client isn't sure, or is laid back and wants you to decide, you can send them some example photos in locations you've shot at before. this will help them visualize the area and make a decision.
look for variety
i often like to choose a site based on the variety it offers. i want to make sure that wherever i am shooting will offer dimension for my photos. some examples of this could be mountains, trees, tall grass, buildings, botanical gardens, etc. if i am shooting somewhere that is mostly flat (like a body of water), i make sure that i am also incorporating some of the surroundings like rocks, waves and sand.
i often like knowing i have options in one area for different photo ops so the entirety of the session doesn't look too similar.
consider the lighting situation
this one is key in finding a location. in addition to wanting variety + dimension for your photos, it's also important to keep the lighting situation in mind. you don't want to have too much direct sun, weird shadows and reflections from buildings, etc. look for even, soft light that will compliment your clients and make it easier for you to edit!
okay, so now i know what to look for in a location, but how do i find one?
most of the locations i shoot at are results of me driving past it and thinking "i need to have a session there!" most of the time, you want to make sure you're seeing the location before you suggest it to a client and shoot there, which is why it's often easiest to drive around and explore them yourself before hand. you can even google some ideas before hand and then go check the area out.
when i first moved to charlotte, one of the first things i did was search hashtags like "charlotte photographers" "blue ridge mountains" "charlotte weddings" "engagement session" on instagram. it leads you to other photographers pages in the area, where you can find specific locations they shot at. you'll usually get a pretty good idea if it fits your style based on the photos. you can also just search for photographers close by, and even send them a message!
now, this one is not a personal favorite just because i'm not a huge map person. but if you are, google earth is a helpful tool in allowing you to view locations in 3D and give you an idea of texture in the location. it also has a "time slider" which will show you when the light hits the location throughout the day.
apps + websites
there are several apps such as shot hotspot, pixeo, 500px, flikr, and scoutt, that a lot of photographers use to scope around specific or general locations. some of these have communities where you can ask other photographers.
ultimately, every photographer's style is different. you need to remember to take this into consideration when you're searching for a new location, because you want it to match the style and vibe of your brand.
if you're not really an urban photographer, don't pick a location with buildings with a city landscape, because it won't flow with your other content, making it look inconsistent.
i hope these few tips helped! if it did, share it with a fellow photographer friend that might need it too!
until next time,