Us photographers are always trying to find new and beautiful locations to shoot our photo sessions. A perfect location, has different backdrops, stunning natural scenery, and space for natural light without a ton of shadows for those light and airy images! When looking for new areas, here are 3 tips for location scouting that will help you find the best shoot locations!
01) Go For a Drive
Drive around your area and look for spots that might seem basic to the naked eye, but have unique elements that might go well with certain poses. Just make sure you look at the time of day when you’d shoot so that you know what the light looks like! For example, I always shoot in the late afternoon, so I’d want to drive around during that time so I can look at the angle of the sun in each spot.
02) Check Out Satellite Views
Head over to Google and look at the satellite views on Google Maps! Zoom in and scroll around in the areas you like to shoot. This will help you spot wide open green areas, rivers, places where there is more tree coverage, etc. This gives you a birds eye view of the area! You might find a spot you had never thought of or even knew existed!
You can also use Google to help you location scout by doing a visual search using the “images” section on Google. Just type in your “town/city photoshoot” or “town/city photoshoot locations” From there, you can narrow it down further by selecting words related to that search, such as beach, mountains, urban, colorful, etc.
03) Check Instagram
Last but not least on my list of top 3 tips for location scouting is to check Instagram! Scroll through your instagram and check out local photographers’ accounts. You can also do a hashtag search of your area. For example, I might use “New Hampshire Photographer” or “New England Photographer.” Likely, you’ll find the tagged location where they shot at, if they’re not the type to guard it! If you see photos or spots that catch your eye, you can then tap on the location tagged, and view other photos that were taken there to determine if you like the spot. Then you can go and check it out in person!
Send out a questionnaire to your clients to find out more about their personality, style, possible wardrobe choices, or places they had in mind. This information can help you find the perfect location for that client as well as new spots for future ones! Depending on your client, they may be more comfortable out in nature, maybe near the woods, or surrounded by flowers, but someone else may be happier surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, with a more urban vibe.
Location scouting is like a big adventure! It can be time consuming to drive around, research, and explore different spots, BUT when you find that new dream location, it will all be worth it! Also, be sure to keep a list of places you love to shoot at, places you want to look at, and places you have scouted and whether you liked them or not. This will help you keep track of locations, and add notes about each location that will help you later! Also if you find a location you love in person, take photos on your phone and put them in a separate album for shoot locations! Then you always have access to it and can easily pull it up and find it on the map! I hope these 3 tips help you as you scout for new locations!