I’m just going to come right out and say it: I LOVE location scouting! “Oh really? Do you want to marry it?” Yes, yes I do!

It’s a really fun part of the creative process of portrait photography for me. So, very often you’ll find me out and about doing just this–or at the very least it’s constantly in the back of my mind.

Here are 3 things I’m always looking for when location scouting:

1. Locations with good light. I don’t always start here, but good quality of light, created naturally, is of the utmost importance. “Good light” can mean many things, but in general, for me, that could mean: open shade, (in the shadow of a building or tree, you can always find this on the north side of any building); potential for reflected light (light is reflected or bounced into the area I plan to photograph my subjects); or potential to include images that are backlit (a location with a background that is clean and also has sun or other light source behind the subject).

2. Locations with clean backgrounds. A “clean” background does not necessarily mean void of everything. To me, a clean background is without distracting elements, including: poles that could pop out from the behind the subject’s head; light or shadow that will detract from the overall image; and any other aspect of the frame that will detract and not add to the overall composition).

3. Locations that make sense. I look for locations that have meaning for the subject, or that will contribute to the overall theme or vibe of the shoot. In general, I don’t just seek out locations that are cool and hip, for hipness’ sake (clearly this is true because if I were, I wouldn’t be describing this by saying things like “for hipness’ sake”)… I first discuss with my clients what they like and are into. For an engagement session, I find out information about how the couple met, how they got engaged, and what they like to do for fun. I ask other questions that help me to put together an overall theme for the shoot and begin to go through locations I’ve previously scouted that might make sense to go to. If none of those locations are right, that’s when I get to begin that fun, creative part of the process. Sometimes I base my location on the theme we’ve come up with for the shoot, and sometimes the theme come out of the location I find). In either way, I try not to box myself into a literal translation of where the couple spends their time, etc. Though, if the specific location is really important to them (for example, if the couple is really excited to be photographed in the place they were engaged), then I start with that location and find places within that location where I can create beautiful images of the couple.

Of course, the location is just the canvas from which I begin. Once I have the location chosen there are many more aspects to creating a beautiful photo shoot.  In the next few weeks  I will share with you the rest of the process!

Sometimes I think I’m explaining things well, but turns out it can be more confusing…if you need further clarification, I’m happy to answer your questions! Feel free to comment, or email me:

{♥ ♥ ♥}


p.s. If you’re a couple who is engaged, what is important to you to include in your engagement session? If you are a photographer, how do you scout for locations? …leave your comments below!



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