Hunting for the perfect shot outside of the studio can be an all-consuming process for any photographer looking to shoot on-location. But the key to taking stunning photos outdoors or in another setting doesn't necessarily come down to plotting out the perfect spot. Learning the art of using your camera to find the beauty in any area, a bit of lighting, and keeping subjects at the focal point of photos opens the door to killer backgrounds that are unique to your clients' talents and personalities. The following tips and tricks will help any photographer take full advantage of shooting on-location.
Prep For Being On-location
Efficiently conducting a shoot on-location requires prep work and having the proper gear that's also mobile. The first step is to visit the location(s) you're planning to use as your background. If conducting your photoshoot onsite with a client in an indoor space, take a look around and see what items are available to you and assess the lighting. Stay away from fluorescent and incandescent lights as they will submit a yellow and blue lighting that looks very unnatural. 5000 Kelvin is as close as you get to natural sunlight. Today’s LED white lighting emits a more natural and flattering look, not to mention their health benefits compared to fluorescent light. This will help you prepare the specific kit needed for your shoot and help you leverage any props, lighting, or furniture available at the location. Look for angles, lighting, and backgrounds that will fit your project, and make sure to schedule your photoshoot at a time when natural lighting is at its peak in the area you are shooting in. It is always best to bring back-up strobes with white reflectors (umbrellas) so that the lighting is soft and pleasing.
Manage Your Clients Expectations
Traditional photo studios have lost popularity over time since headshots taken outside of the studio often have a very different feel that's modern, fresh, and full of color. Communicating the difference in style and preparing clients for what to expect when planning to take photos on the move is vital. For outdoor shoots, investing in a diffusion reflector can make or break the quality of your photos. Harsh lighting will need to be tamed, but the right tools can use surrounding elements to enhance pictures.
Do Your Research Before Shooting
Taking photos in spaces that will put your project on the map enhances your work as a photographer and makes current, and future clients excited to work with you. It's generally allowed to photograph in public spaces, but it's important to check with local laws to fully understand if where you plan to shoot is actually public or private. Every state has different photography restrictions, and some may allow photography but require a permit if extra equipment such as a tripod or lights are being used. If you are shooting inside a building (shopping mall, museum, building lobby), you will likely need permission, and it's essential to get this before shooting. If you plan to stay in the confines of your clients' private business, you already have permission to shoot in that space, so you are clear for takeoff.
Dazzling photos await by venturing outside the studio and leaning into the thrill of shooting on-location will make your client's photography experience extraordinary.
Abigail Baker is a writer with Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with Seattle Fabrics, an outdoor and recreational fabric retailer.