Choosing a location for your photo shoot can be easy or daunting, depending on how you look at it. There are many choices available now that many photographers shoot on location instead of in a studio. All of my photography is shot on location so I will not include studios in this discussion.
Currently, I shoot mostly in Indiana, but the ideas here could be applied to other locations. I will mention specific locations in and around the Indianapolis area for those who are local.
When choosing a location as a photography client, your photographer can be an invaluable resource as they have had experience shooting at various locations with varying conditions. They know what to look for and what to avoid. However, many clients want to choose their location with personal tastes playing a role.
I hope this post will arm you with the knowledge to select the perfect location for your next photography shoot, whether you are the client or the photographer. For the rest of this article, I will be addressing the client.
Choosing the right location can be a very personal decision. The location could be one that has sentimental value to you. Your favorite park to enjoy nature, a special childhood place, a place you volunteered, or even your backyard!
This particular spot held sentimental value to this couple. They had participated in Friday night swing dancing at this Fountain Square Theater.
Potter’s Bridge in Noblesville was the perfect fit for the wedding party photos. It was located near the church they were married in.
The family farm near Spencer, IN was a great backdrop for photos.
Look for a location that will offer various backgrounds. It is nice to have one location with different choices to avoid wasting time driving from place to place. At the same time, selecting multiple locations that are close to one another can achieve the same goal as one location with minimal driving time.
Also look for spots with minimal distracting elements such as trash cans, light poles, parking lots, and cars either parked or driving by.
Decide what type of environment you would like. City, nature, inside, outside, or industrial. This is a personal preference depending on the type of photos you want to achieve.
Eagle Creek Park was a perfect choice for this spring maternity shoot.
Lockerbie area is by far one of my favorite locations to shoot. The quiet cobblestone street with unique homes, tree-lined streets, beautiful gardens and easy access to Mass Ave. make it an easy choice.
When selecting a location make sure to ask about their photography policy (or ask your photographer). Some locations require a photography permit, a few weeks’ notice, an approval, and or a fee. When I have a client suggest a new location to me, the first thing I do is jump online to find out their photography policy. This way there are no surprises for either of us the day of the shoot.
Do not let a photography fee or permit discourage you from using a location. Many that charge a fee have a variety of areas that can really add to your photography.
For example, the Indianapolis Museum of Art has many acres of beautiful gardens and sculptures. They charge a $50 fee for a photography permit. However, this permit is good for the entire day. If you or your photographer were to book multiple shoots throughout the day, the fee could be split among the groups, making it more affordable.
Plenty of green space is available at the IMA, making it easy to capture intimate couple photos.
This teen had volunteered at the Zoo during high school. It made the perfect location for her senior photos.
The Indianapolis Zoo also has beautifully maintained gardens and a butterfly house that make for excellent photographs. Plan a visit to the zoo and have your family photos taken the same day. Making the price of admission two-fold. The same could apply to a state park.
There are plenty of free locations available that also offer excellent backdrops. Scout around your local area to find your perfect location. Local parks, city green spaces, downtown, small towns, your favorite pub, quaint neighborhood streets, a family member’s horse farm, your favorite lake and the list goes on. With so many options available, you can rest assured your photos will be unique.
Have fun with the selection process. Get out and explore your local area, you never know what you may find.