How do I do it?
I think it's interesting diving into the brain of a creative to see how and why they make the choices they make, so here it goes!
I'm not really the type of Photographer that has a couple favourite places that they ALWAYS shoot at, and that's for a few reasons; nobody likes having their photos looking like everyone else, plus it doesn't leave much room for creativity and uniqueness. BUT you CAN make the same location look drastically different depending on how you set it up :). So I pretty much always choose location based on the Client, so this is kind of my process...
#1. First comes first, WHAT am I shooting? This is most important because it dictates the type of surroundings, background and light I want. Also, I like to have an idea of how many other people will be there, as some Clients are private and don't like an audience (I mean, who does?), so am I shooting a Maternity session? Maybe a family? Or, my favourite, a Fine Art Session? Let's go with Fine Art.
#2. Now that I know WHAT I'm shooting, WHO am I shooting? Is it a toddler, or an adult, boy, girl? If I'm shooting a 3 year old, I likely won't choose a location right near water, as that's a hazard, I also won't choose a location that involves too much walking, especially on rough terrain, cause little legs am I right? All of these things need to be taken into consideration. So let's say we've got a 6 year old boy, awesome, now what?
#3. Next step, what is he wearing/what is the vibe we are going for? SO whether it's a personal project, or a paying Client, there is going to be an overall tone/ vibe to the shoot. The 6 year old boy in this example loves getting fishing, getting dirty and being barefoot. Perfect! SO with the family (usually mom), we will construct the outfit (that's another blog!).
#4. Okay, I now know who and what we are shooting and what we are wearing, now finally the location! Naturally, I will go over locations I have shot at in the past to see if it will work, taking into consideration the season and time of day. Which brings me to my point, timing and lighting! Let's say this Client is only available weekend mornings. So I need to make sure that the location I choose has the appropriate lighting, and as we know, lighting conditions change throughout the year as the sunrise and sunset times change. I find the perfect location, but that time of day there is WAY too much bright direct sunlight because of the tree line, okay time for plan B. This part of the process often involves a lot of time an KM. Me, being obsessive like I am, I need to physically see the location in mind at the exact time I plan to shoot. Unnecessary? Maybe, but its all in the details!
#5. Specifics! What EXACTLY am I looking for in a location? Light. Especially when I'm doing Fine Art Sessions, I want a location where there is ample beautiful soft light. This often means a variety of spots where I can shoot where the light is soft. I usually avoid wide open spaces, and usually opt for leafy trees as they filter light much nicer. I want to make sure that the background is interesting but not distracting, refer to image #1 down below; you can see there are some beautiful leafy trees that are filtering the light nicely, nothing distracting that catches your eye, so the focus is on the girl.
The next thing I look for is leading lines, which is often an old wooden fence! Or a wooden bridge, because who doesn't love those things! Refer to image #2 !
You can often create the most beautiful images from the simplest, most mundane looking spots, its all about changing your perspective! Stay tuned for my next blog that dives a little more into this ! Often this is called "What you see VS what I see "