Whether you are photographing people, cars, or the scenery itself, finding the perfect place for your shoot is without a doubt of the most important considerations that will ultimately affect the final results.
For some people, it may be difficult to spare the time to head out on a mission to find great places to shoot, however there are a few things that you can do to make this task a little easier whenever you’re ready to pack your camera and hit the road.
There are usually two scenarios:
1) A location is provided for you
2) You have to find a location yourself
In the first case, where a location is provided, depending on the size of the area, I will take as much time necessary to do a walk through.
During the walk through, I try to figure out a convenient and productive path that I will take (usually with people, or a photo crew).
I make notes of all the spots I think we can stop at, and in the end, I will chart out the easiest and simplest course with considerations to any time limits.
In other words, I will try to make a course that will be easy to walk through, will keep everyone from getting bored or tired, and if the shoot is scheduled to be 90mins, I won’t go to a spot that takes 40mins to get to or else it will take away from all the other shots we could get.
I will usually scout with my cell phone, taking snapshots of every notable area, and at the end review what I have and decide what to do from there.
In the event where you have to find a spot, a good start is to first think of the photo/video shoot.
What is the theme of the shoot?
What wardrobe/clothing/accessories are available?
Does the time of day/sunlight matter?
These are just a few questions you may ask yourself, and you may or may not have an answer.
Regardless, with any details you have pre-determined you can then select your location to complement every other element in the shoot.
One thing I personally do is I will take cell phone photos of places I naturally go to in my daily travels.
I take photos of places I think will be great shoot locations, and simply keep a folder with these images in it renamed to the major intersection that it’s closest to so I can easily remember where it is.
Whenever the opportunity arrives and I have to provide a location. I access my folder and see if there is anything in there that can help.
Location scouting can also sometimes be an urgent matter, and you have to come up with a place ASAP, or even in a city or town that you have never been to. What then?
For this I take on technology and use Google Maps and Streetview to help find areas that could potentially host a photo shoot then the day of take a walk through 1 hour before the actual photo shoot begins.
Location scouting can be a major contributor to great digital imaging. Find the right place and your work will come to life!