When I first started photography shooting strictly on location, a couple years back, finding a location for photo-sessions seemed to be such an obstacle for me. Where can I shoot that’s really interesting and eye-catching? I asked myself. A few years later and much more knowledgeable, I can definitely say the background is not as important as you may think. It’s all about drawing the eye to the subject/subjects with minimal distractions (usually). Now I don’t mean to take some of the fun out of it, finding a suitable location and adding a personal touch is really a great thing. Aside from the obvious (parks, clients’ home, etc.) here are some really great places to shoot that I have had luck with:
• Downtown: Live near a city or a trendy spot people like to hang out in? Just take a walk downtown sometime and find the many cool places you can capture in one 30 min-1 hr long session! (Parking garages, brick buildings, funky doorways/window frames, benches, capture your subject walking down the sidewalk…the list goes on!
• Want to add a bit of grit or contrast to your image? Visit your local junkyard and ask for permission to use the location for a shoot (make sure they sign a release!) This can add contrast if you had a female wearing a formal cocktail dress or a bathing suit and really adds a bit of grit to your images no matter what your subject may be wearing.
• Forget about the parks, they are so overpopulated and well, expected! Surprise your client and take them on a short hike through a nature trail. Nature trails are so great because you will usually stumble by a lot of interesting parts of nature to play with in your photos. You may see a riverbed, maybe a lake, a beautiful part of the forest (if you are shooting a couple, have them carve their names in the tree and take a personalized portrait). Maybe you will find a fallen tree and use it as a bench, steer away from the norm you usually find at parks and surprise your client.
• Again it’s all about your client: the less distractions the better. One of my favorite places to go is this field nearby with tall grass (in the autumn everything is golden and adds a nice warm touch) and wide open space with not much around to distract the eye. Now you can step it up a notch and play with this a little or a lot. By placing a couch, chair or trunk in the photo, you will find it easily adds a rustic elegance and provides your client with a prop to sit/lean on, trust me they will absolutely LOVE it!
These are just a few places I have had success with and definitely a great starting point for on location photography. After shooting more sessions you will feel comfortable with exploring on your own and finding other favorite places to take your clients and impress them with your photography skills!