I did a session with the @vaitkusgirls in Yorkville, Toronto, as soon as quarantine lifted and was shocked at all the different backgrounds we worked with. It had been so long since I had photographed people outside, and I began to notice all the gorgeous photo locations we have around us that I so often overlook. I've been meaning to do a blog post on location, and thought that these girls were the perfect example of how we work together to choose a location perfect for their style and aesthetic.
It's time for a Q&A about photoshoot locations! How do you choose your location? Who chooses the location? What's better, indoor, or outdoor? Can we do multiple locations? You've got questions, and I've got answers!
Q: Who chooses the photoshoot location?
A: It's a bit of a collaborative effort! Obviously if a client emails me with a screenshot of Mint Room Studios and says "I want to shoot here!", we know where we're going. But if you don't already have a location in mind, I ask a few other questions to nail down some options, and then I send you a screenshot of a few different places we can look at.
Q: How do you choose where the shoot is going to take place?
A: I start off with seeing where the client lives, and how far they are willing to travel. If they want an in-studio session or outdoor plays a big part in what is available as well. If it's a studio session, I'll sometimes ask what colour your house walls are, so that we can pick something that'll look great when framed. Or, I'll ask for favourite colours. For outdoor sessions, I'll look into the type of dance(s) you do - if you wanted a session focussed on Hip Hop, I might not choose a pretty lavender field as our first pick. If you're a big acro dancer, we'll need to make sure that the location we choose is safe/clean enough for you to lie down in.
Q: What's better, indoor or outdoor shoots?
A: I wouldn't say any one is better than the other - both have gorgeous qualities and make beautiful images. Indoor shoots are a lot more predictable though, so if you have a big group coming or aren't flexible with dates, etc, indoor is probably the way to go, as we can shoot rain or shine. If you don't like getting dirty, I'm not going to choose a quarry for you to dance in. Depending on what you are using the photos for, that can play a part in choosing an indoor/outdoor location. If you're using the photos for auditions, companies typically want to see clean backgrounds and non-distracting locations. If you're using them for social media, a bit of variety in backgrounds (like outside in a city) goes a long way.
Q: Can we do multiple locations during our session?
A: Yes - but the session definitely needs to be longer than an hour at that point. The nice part about outdoor sessions is that we can walk a few different spots and get a great variety of backgrounds, so it can sometimes look like multiple locations. I've also had clients who book a studio session and outdoor session back-to-back.
Q: I want a unique outdoor location but don't know where.
A: Gone are the days where the perfect photo location is either in studio or an empty field before sunset. You can take photos in any location - providing that there is decent light for me to work with. Get creative and look at what's around you! Do you have a long driveway? A cottage up north? A nicely decorated bedroom? Does your aunt own a ranch with gorgeous fields and horses? Think about what you already have access to and most likely overlook regularly. The best locations are the ones that reflect you.