Location - Step 3
If you don't think location makes that much of a difference, consider these images that we shot for this workshop. This is my daughter um out on location in urban setting. It's like lightly raining cloudy. This is the exact same little girl, the exact same outfit on location in a park. Very similar sort of poe's. This is the exact same girl in my studio with studio lighting, and these are the images together. Nothing has changed by the pose. The outfit. A little shift in lighting. Of course, we've got kind of perfectly controlled light versus natural light. Um, the only change is location. Do these images feel differently to you? Like, really different right there's a big difference. I feel, um, and this is not even mixing up anything in the way of angling or framing or posing or post processing or anything it's just really straight pretty much from camera direct head on shot, actually, little lower angle shot and the field, everything around them has a huge impact on the feel of the s...
hoot in this one, she looks kind of stylish and trendy in about town in this one she's like nature girl juxtaposed against the brush in the foreground and there she is just like studio nice, white, seamless get me right, like so everything kind of works very differently based on where you are and so I think when I have these images being produced if I know that I'm coming with clients that have a certain feel to them it's going to make a difference where we shoot um here are some questions that I want you to consider when you're thinking about lighting and location are susan we think about location on the first one will be lighting these are questions that I don't I don't ever go through in order okay let's start our checklist here is my first question but I will suss out based on initial conversation to help me choose the location that makes the most sense um one of them of course is what kind of lighting will you find where you are and what you have what you need to supplement if you don't find out I'm lighting where you go another thing and this is especially teo true of younger children is how close would you be to a restroom that is not only for potty training that's a big one for potty training on and I will just little side note I am not so concerned with the towel there fighting the potty I'm concerned with the fact that the parents will be so stressed out that they've taken ten steps backwards in potty training by the kid having an accident because we're in a stressful were location and then allows for a really stressful energy and just a little side note about parents and kids even if the parents have their backs turned to the kids or they walk around away and leave the situation if they are stressed out that bleeds to the children like osmosis the children pick it up I see in the children's faces what I feel from the parents all the time very, very calm it's very unusual to have a parent very kind of nervous and frustrated and anxious on the sidelines and a kid being like like it's too much of a symbiotic relationship often so I think that's a big deal um well you work have to work around other people in your shoot if I know I'm working with a subject that's very shy and reserved and quiet and even self conscious I don't want them to have to feel like they're being looked at and that's because that's going against b one more thing I have to combat um does the family naturally gravitate to a more rural look a more urban setting or a clean simple background you confined usually a lot of the times that the parents will tell you this or they'll show you sample shots that they like and they'll give you a really good indication or you might say where you guys live in the country it's we got a couple horses okay? I'm not gonna put you in an urban setting unless you want this great you know again this big shift from who you are and what you look like um and then will they bring pets that's a really big one if you're gonna bring pets urban locations are very tough very tough squirrel oh uh if you're gonna bring pets to a park our parks, our care pets allowed in the park or beach setting our pets more and more where I live in north carolina I do a lot of beach shooting more and more like dogs are not any beaches anymore I think there's like two beaches they could go to during these certain times um so just know that I have had shoot before where they brought a pet and we couldn't bring him into the garden location and then you've got to worry about like, well, hi, how hot is in the car and somebody has to leave the shoot and come back and it just makes for a lot of extra again stress I don't want there to be stressed in this, so if I can knock it out by all these questions in advance I'm happy um will they be up for a small hike if necessary? I already covered that earlier are they are not only do they have the right clothing and footwear for it but are the kids ones that are gonna complain and wind the whole time and I'm just going to make them wilt by doing this, uh, how will weather or change in weather affect the shoot? I don't know about you, but I have been on a dozen shoots where I'm looking at the app and it says, sonny and I'm looking at the sky and it's raining on me like a lot, so you need to be able to have some sort of rain plan even if you don't expect there to be rain because small shift in weather occur all the time, and then do you need permits or permissions? This is especially true for urban locations, but also for a lot of parks now there's two gardens areas around where I live in north carolina that were we have to belong to, is a member and pay three hundred fifty bucks a year to be a little shoot there, or else they will escort you out and it's really embarrassing? Uh, you need to apply for an annual parking pass to park in their parking lot as as a photographer, or especially if you want to shoot in like a crowded mall area. In fact, most of the malls won't let you shoot side at all ever anymore, just for security purposes, and if you want to shoot outside, you have to get a permit and you have to stay in a certain bucket. Area so there's just a lot to consider with that you can't just kind of show up anywhere anymore and that's changed a bunch in a dozen years many people think that changed dramatically after nine eleven so considerations you want to think about for location, other things they didn't mention on there is if you're going to be in a garden setting or a park setting things like bugs I am I have watched moods of my subjects plummet by every mosquito bite munched on them you know if you've seen that like okay well just smells blood you know and ticks I've had really rampant tick areas so the more you want to kind of make it a little bit crazy you just have to think about these things because you have an extra element with children with urban settings you'll see this on the urban shoot like we started out the shoot by clearing out cem you know, cigarette butts and packs of cigarettes and I've had to clean up grocer in certain alleyways um you just want to kind of think about that cause even though it's cool to show a kid against graffitied wall you've got to think about what they're stepping around just leave that there uh okay another thing about location um obviously you know the same image imagine just like I showed you this exact same image shot in a white studio do you feel the difference like the it's a whole whole different feel um so the other thing is location of shoot can have a significant impact on the family I've done a lot of family shoots in places that were really significant to them like in their home, the home they were going to move out of after twenty years where the location is massively important we're not just photographing the family in the home or making, you know, kind of a showcase of the home in their relationship to it I photographed a family that a re union that the family all got together around the memorial of their grand parents and we did a whole shoot around that and it was really emotional and quiet and soft and very sweet. Um I did one shoot that really stands out to me of a newborn was a newborn shoot in the home of parents who had waited and had that nursery for like five or six years, and when they brought the baby in and all sorts staff it was just all cry fast. It was very emotional, very beautiful and I couldn't imagine that same shoots if we did it in my studio I mean location had can have a really meaningful impact on the feel of these images if that location matters, I've done a family shoot on the spot where the couple who just had their vow renewal in that area like on the beach and all of her stuff I mean those things if you have a way of talking to your clients ahead of time often they won't think of it but if I'll say is there a place that's meaningful to you for some reason is there a significance on and they might send him not just any wherever you choose you let us know what's good like well, it just I didn't know if maybe there was ah, you know, if if it mattered to you to do something in your home or there was a certain park where maybe you and your husband had met or there's anything like that and they're like, oh, well, you know, we went to university of men back there in years can we do something on the campus with that? Is that possible? We still hang out and play frisbee in that fought all the time we do some absolutely and do something there and you see how right away not I'm doing two things one in peking location that matters and then being able to have a session that is a little more significant but I'm also really quickly getting a lot of buyin from my client it's on dh I'm having them attach a lot of meaning to this session and and that changes everything when it comes to sitting down and actually going through a sales consultation and so I'm thinking about those things ahead of time, so next time you're picking location don't just say yes my studio or you know, I'll just meet you in the park that I do every single shoot try to try to search a little bit more to see if you can have more of that meaning come into the shoot um I have in my studio I have a twelve foot wide backdrop with multiple roller rollers with all these different seamless color options that I can choose between and we just kinda pressed the button it goes up and down we've got all our lighting set up with that r c stands and our reflectors and anything we need and I, you know, can happily do a beautiful single lit portrait um or aiken dio family of ten all squeezed together on that shoot uh all that being said about ten percent of my chutes are in the studio and their ten that I kind of try to fight against um because I feel like we can get personally I live in north carolina where except for the summer and even in the summer to shoot very early or very late, you could be fine but accept this summer we have optimal weather all year long, I'm doing all kinds of winter shoots and I really appreciate that I love that I have that ability alberta what what do you what do your winner she's like what do you do in the winter? We don't do a lot in the winter um some of its indoor sometimes I'll go into a family's home yes or you wait for warm day um but I find winter, january, february or mostly when you do business planning or that kind of work so you just kind of set sheets aside to get through the negative? What degree weather um minus thirty celsius so it's going to be a captain in the head was that maybe I don't know what it is and that he's making twenty eight it's cold negative really called it does get cold got it? Yeah so you know, luckily I have a location that is very available to me at all times and a lot of a lot of different looks. So even though I can do everything controlled in the studio and this is part of getting to know your own personality when it comes to shooting my personality is such that if I have everything perfectly controlled and a certain set space for everything that happened I get restless I'm like okay, we got that let's go do something else andi I really believe that that's that's something that everybody should consider because creative burnout is huge in this industry creative burnout is really, really big in artistic professions, especially where you are trying to better yourself every day, if you have the same set of circumstances again and again and again you're going to get bored it's going to become wrote, you're not going to be in it, and if this is a profession that you want to dio for a very long time, I highly suggest you find new ways to challenge yourself frequently and by suddenly moving from this set controlled space, whether it's your studio or the same setup, you doing a client's home every time two going had expanded sam to try different lighting and try different locations I'm gonna mix it up his best I can you're going to keep yourself interested by default? Um, so uh, when I'm out and about and on location, um I like to find places not only that I've shot at before, but new places I've never tried before and then even if I have a really great set up where cash will give you the middlefield nothing's great with a light in front of them let's, try it with the light behind them let's, try that same thing from the left, right let's, try rolling down the hill it's just the idea of where can we be in some of the times I'll be out in a shoot and it's just like let's, try this. That was a failure that did not work. I really thought I had something there, but I did not. Uh, failure is a really consistent part of every shoot ideo I've never gone on one shoot and try to like, and every shot's worked so there's, always times, like, wouldn't this be awesome? If you go here, I go, here, I go here and then click. I'm like it didn't work, but what I say is, that was great let's, try the next thing.