Photography 101 – Location Shooting

Shooting on location is a cheaper and often easier way to shoot, whether you’re just starting out or working on a uni project or portfolio. Here’s a few tips I picked up along the way.

DO make sure you do your research! You may need permission to use certain places, even some public areas. Get location release forms signed if needed and take copies of them with you incase anyone asks for confirmation.

DO visit and rekkie the location in advance! Sounds obvious but sometimes assuming a location is okay without checking it out fully can result in a dreadful shoot experience! Bring your camera, take test shots for space and lighting, make sure it’s safe with easy access and some sort of shelter nearby if you’re shooting models, in case it rains!

DON’T assume everything will go to plan. Have a backup plan for everyhing! Always have an alternative location and an idea to suit. Keep it simple, if your planned shoot falls through at the last minute you may not have time for anything elaborate.

DO be prepared for anything! Don’t assume that all you need is your camera. Get a large bag and use it solely for shoots. It doesn’t have to be full of fancy equipment. Starting out, I used a big bag and filled it with various bits and bobs, props, change of clothes, alternate clothes for models, backup camera, paper, release forms… My arm aches after every shoot but that trusty bag has been my saviour on more than one occassion!

DON’T expect your model to be as interested as you are. If you’re shooting people, that is. Landscapes and buildings tend not to care. Try to get your model to talk to you, preferably about something which really interests them. It will keep them animated, break the ice and make them feel a little more relaxed. Alternatively, tell them a crap joke or an embarrassing story. Once you get them laughing there’ll be an increased openness and easier atmosphere. Also allow them to take a break, grab them a coffee and have directions to the nearest bathroom! A cranky model on location can be very difficult!

DON’T stop planning until you’re at the location ready to begin! You will always think of something you forgot to do or could have done when it’s too late, that’s unavoidable! But constantly planning and thinking out scenarios means less can go wrong. You may even come up with an amazing last minute idea or addition that makes your shoot and images that bit better.

DO bring a backup camera. And make sure your batteries are charged. And bring your charger. And an umbrella!

Levi Miller

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