Choosing a photo shoot location.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jnm, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. jnm
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    jnm New Member

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    So a classmate from my MBA program saw some of our pictures and liked what he saw. Long story short we're doing a family shoot (him, wife, son) next weekend. I think his expectations are realistic and he knows this is just a hobby of mine and that I'm not a pro but I want to do the best job possible. I'm not charging (of course!) and using it as a learning tool for me and will be renting some pro glass for sure.

    The big question I have is how do you guys go about choosing your locations? He is okay with coming up to my area where we could use the Stanford campus (which is beautiful) but it gets very crowded on weekends with tourists and often weddings. Unfortunately a lot of the parks in town are big fields that usually have soccer games or big bbq's going on. I'd love it if there was some more private areas but I just can't really think of any that are even somewhat interesting.

    So what do you guys usually look for in selecting a setting? I'd love to know!
  2. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    It really depends more on the light, than the location...unless, of course, you able to make your own lighting.

    For outdoor portraits, one of the best beginner tips is to get out of the sunlight. Look for shady spots.

    If you can't find 'private' spots at a park, use a lens with a large max aperture so that you can throw the background well out of focus...and shoot close so the image is about the subjects and not the background.
  3. jnm
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    jnm New Member

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    ya i think im going to rent the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8.

    sunset is about 5:00 here now so we're going to start around 3:00. will definitely look for shade and areas that are consistently lit. if we use Stanford there's enough large buildings where we would be that finding neat little spots that are fully shaded should be easy enough. from that perspective i suppose it may actually make it easier than a park where there would be uneven light coming through trees and such.
  4. GeneralBenson
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    GeneralBenson New Member

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    Shade is boring though. The lighting will be flat and directionless. You would be better off shooting on an overcast day, where the light is softer, but still has direction. The shoot tight, and keep trees, or some other kind of interesting background. Shoot on the long side of the lens, get close enough so that the family/person fills the frame, but doesn't fall out of it, and position them far enough from the background that it is completely out of focus.
  5. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Choosing locations is an ongoing process.

    I am always looking for new locations. As I travel around town I note various locations that might be suitable.

    I keep a notepad in the car, write the location address down, note the direction the location faces and what time of day would work best for that location.
  6. Hardrock
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    Hardrock New Member

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    Interesting! I will give it a try. Usually I just go to the arboretum or botanical gardens which both are flooded with people and cameras.
  7. flightless_beaker
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    flightless_beaker New Member

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    Ditto, minus the notepad part. Somehow I remember all my spots and even can gauge the best time to go (gotten some amazing shots :) ). But a lot of times I just drive around and take note of places and times I feel the light would be best based on my vision of the photograph. Otherwise, my locations can be entirely random and I make up exposure and all that on the spot. For example, I just woke up one day and decided to go to this reservoir down the highway. The only planning I did was which cameras I was taking. Got some amazing shots.

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