Hey, photography peeps!! I'm going to let you in on a little secret today... you don't need an extravagant location to produce stunning images. Yes, you read that right!! As photographers, we put so much pressure on ourselves to find beautiful locations that will aid in producing the stunning images we desire. But, those stunning images we want so badly are easier to obtain then we think.
I grew up in a small town of about 5,000 people, and in a town of that size, as a photographer, you really have to put on your creative hat and learn to work with what you have. After all, creativity is one of the reasons I love photography; teaching yourself how to make do with what's around you will allow your creative juices to really shine through your work. So, stop putting so much pressure on finding the PERFECT location and learn how to utilize surrounding areas efficiently. Today, I'm going to be sharing with you 3 ways to find and utilize great photography spots near you! Let's go!!
I recently did a photoshoot in Nocona, TX and, not really knowing what was around that area for conducting a portrait session, I simply went downtown and walked around the main square looking for spots that would be perfect for my subject. I found so many areas that would be great for backgrounds. I came across a brick building that didn't have any windows, pipes, etc.. - it was just brick from top to bottom, I found a pretty green bush that was a little taller than my subject, so it would fill in the frame nicely, I came across an alley that provided some linear prospective.. I could go on! So...
#1. Look for pleasing backgrounds that fill the frame
There's nothing quite like finding a wall, a corner, an alley, a nook or cranny, or a tree that would seem so mundane to the regular eye but would make a stunning background. My #1 tip is to look for simple, almost mundane backgrounds that DO NOT compete with your subject. These locations typically fill the frame quite nicely. Keep an eye out for abandoned buildings, taller/fuller trees, brick buildings/sidings, reflective windows, graffiti-like walls, alleyways, dirt roads with trees, open land, hills, stairs, etc. I seriously could go on all day! Here is an example of utilizing an area around the Nocona, TX square.
I found a long stretch of tall, business-like windows that would fill the frame without taking away from my subject. Also, if you come across reflective windows such as these, use them! They produce some very interesting photos!
#2. Look for spots that provide linear perspective
Finding spots that provide linear perspective is my favorite go-to tip. Linear perspective adds a little "something, something" to your photos when you are photographing at a "mundane" location. It gives the illusion of depth by utilizing surrounding parallel/leading lines. This technique can really up your photography game! Not kidding! Because it shows your ability in producing artistic/creative photos. It's something different. When you find yourself photographing a subject in a "mundane" location, look for a vanishing point or leading lines. Linear perspective allows for your subject to be the focal point of your photo by separating them from the background to the foreground. It really makes your subject pop! The first picture I included in this post is a great example of using linear perspective within an alleyway to give me the effect I wanted. Below is another example..
Here, I am using the vanishing point of the end of the building and the bottom frame of the window to create that linear perspective. As you can see, my subject is the main focus, but the linear perspective allows for my subject to really pop without taking too much away.
#3. Look for locations that provide multiple locations
Haha, I hope this makes sense!! What I'm trying to get here with this tip is look for areas that provide a variety of backdrops. For example, during our shoot in Nocona, TX, we went down to the main square. Just within a few blocks the square offered so much background range. As I mentioned previously, there were reflective windows, stairs, an alleyway, a gazebo, green/flowery bushes, concrete blocks, pretty front doors of businesses, a couple of benches, random cute chairs, the old style-type light poles, etc.! An endless amount of backdrop opportunities and we literally only walked two blocks.. So, find areas downtown that can provide versatility, that way your overall album for your client encompasses a variety, too!
I know location scouting can be intimidating - I've been there! But, learning to see beauty in the most mundane places can really allow for you to grow as a photographer. So, the next time you are driving home from work or wherever, just look out your window at some of the places you pass and see what mundane areas speak to you!
I'd love to hear some of your favorite ways of finding locations! Comment below with some of the ways you find cool locations for your sessions!