How To Take AMAZING Photos at Any Location
Have you ever showed up to take portraits for a client and they were very adamant about location or time? Even though you stressed that the location might not be the best? Or even the lighting was horrible? The good news is that you are not alone. As photographers we are essentially at the mercy of our clients. We can recommend certain times and locations all we want but realistically we are at the call of what works for our clients.
I would like to share some tips that have helped me take beautiful images in any situation.
Find the beauty!
I like to let my eyes do the work for this one. When I first show up to a new location that I have never been to before I will take a few minutes and just look at the landscape. Try to imagine the group of people standing in front of different backdrops and try to imagine what would compliment the image the best. Really at this point you are working with a blank canvas. You are the artist. As a photographer one of the best things you can do is trust your inherent creative abilities! You chose this profession for a reason! Take a moment and start to visualize what your artwork will look like.
Below is a scene where I showed up to take some family pictures. As you can see there really isn’t much going on. I typically love scenes with a lot of different textures and shade to work with.
On top of the lack of “portrait worthy scenery” the sun was blaring from the west. When I positioned my clients with the sun hitting them it caused a horrible orange tone on their skin. In person it looked great but post processing it took extensive editing to normalize. But out in this barren landscape I did find a beautiful old tree. I typically do not like shooting into the sun and blowing out the sky but in this instance it actually worked quite nicely!
Look for complimentary patterns!
Another key aspect to incorporating the landscape with your subjects to create a beautifully constructed image, is to notice the little things. The tiniest details can make the biggest difference. I like to typically look for lines and shapes that point toward my subjects so that the landscape draws your eye into the image.
Notice how the grass and trees in the background compliment her shape and positioning. Feel free to “construct” your background if necessary. Walk around and flatten grass or remove sticks that might be in the way. It gives you a moment to think and relax and your clients will appreciate the care you are taking. Ultimately resulting in more trust!
Here is another example of how the use of foliage and light draws your eye to the subject. The dark green leaves give way to highlights of sun which then lead to the subject.
And remember! Make sure nobody has a tree growing out of their head! I have seen too many novice photographers place someone in a beautiful landscape only to have a giant tree right directly behind them. The landscape is part of your blank canvas. You can paint whatever you want! Make sure the picture is beautiful from the littlest details to the biggest.
Location, Location, Location!
Those are a couple of quick tips on how to create beautiful images in almost any setting. Remember, even if you have photographed that location a hundred times before there is always a new way to view it! It doesn’t matter if you usually photograph in urban settings, nature, lifestyle or different genres like conceptual art and abstract photography.
If you stare at a location long enough and relax, something there will catch your eye. Once that happens, its on! Use everything you have to your advantage and you will create beautiful works of art!
Below are some more examples of the topics covered to analyze and see how the location fit within the image. ALL of these locations used were imperfect and/or bustling with people walking by. Each shoot ended up great!
Please feel free to share and comment on your own success!!