business series | what to look for in a location
September 20, 2017

Today marks a start of a new blog series, hooray! I’ll be sharing a bit about running my photography business and will cover everything from contracts to client communication. I’m excited to pass along some of the lessons I’ve learned, and to share my favorite tips with you. 

One of my favorite things to do on fall afternoons, or when I’ve found myself in a part of town I don’t know well, is to location scout. I feel incredibly lucky to live in a metropolitan area that is truly rich in beautiful textures and holds a general abundance of glorious, undiscovered spots.

I think most other cities and areas are like this: there are plenty of areas to shoot in, maybe a few diamonds in the rough, and of course the few popular spots that are generally busy (and that your clients will ask you to take them to).

So, what do I look for in a location? Here are a few things I like to keep in mind that have helped as I’ve built up a map of area options to send to clients.

  1. Relatively close to where they live. I mostly photograph young families and children seem to do best when they’re not taken incredibly far away. I have about 2-3 favorite locations in each section of the metro. Once I know where a client calls home I can steer them in the direction of a place that’s close.
  2. Less popular. I don’t want to give my clients the same product that others do, it’s just my preference. Therefore, I’m less likely to take them to the few, saturated spots in town where most people have photos taken. It’s not to say those places aren’t lovely (they’re popular for a reason), and it’s not a hard and fast rule. I want to give my clients something unique and that means off-the-beaten-path locations.
  3. Easy. I love being outdoors and hiking etc.… however I don’t want my clients to have to kill themselves to get to spots. I lean towards smaller parks or city areas where parking is close, the walk is short, and pit stains are kept to a minimum!

{A small, generally uncrowded beach. I like to arrive early so I can pick up litter before my clients arrive.}


{A colorful aisle at a neighborhood bodega}


{A parking lot, I can’t resist a vintage truck}


{The uncut grassy yard of a neighbor}


{A grassy bit of land behind a chain hotel}


I think sometimes as photographers we get in our head that locations need to be perfect, vast, and dramatic. However, the beauty of the lens is that we can create our own realities. I have shot images in areas that would otherwise seem totally ridiculous: a porta potty shelter (seriously), alleys, and the undiscovered courtyard.

I really believe, you can shoot anywhere. You don’t need a huge, fancy studio or foliage thick park. You need to find the spaces that you feel comfortable in, that are easy for your clients to get to, and that deliver the results you love.

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