How I find locations for my photo shoots in 5 basic steps!
Nothing revolutionary here, just a few basic tips that you can apply for almost any type of photography or at least if you plan on working outside a studio.
1/ My number one tip is simple, it involves getting out of your house, apartment or hôtel or whatever place you are staying in and go out to explore the world. You have to be curious and make scouting a fun part of your creative process. You don’t necessarily have to travel to a remote exotic place to make amazing pictures. You can find beauty at the step of your door.
2/ The tourist office, is my number one source of information. They will quickly tell me what are the most touristic, interesting, crowded, and less popular places in the city I am in. If I know I am only in a city for a few days, I email them or even call them to gather all the infos I need to choose the places I want to use for my pictures. Most of the time they save me time in googling by giving me the names, numbers and email addresses of the people in charge of some of the biggest monuments in town. Obviously not the best way to shoot in original places. But giving a fresh perspective on a famous location is an interesting challenge, and knowing what city as to offer is always a good start to reduce your searching fields. Really consider shooting at these “Famous” places, if you are working there for more than a week, this will show people that are following you that you are actually working in their area and who knows, they might book you for a shoot.
3/ Don’t overthink it and reach out to the people that may help you. If you have done number 2 you will have a list of people to call and email… Just do it! Keep in mind that some locations require a credential for access that can take up to several months to get (it happened to me!), so don’t waste your time, and just reach out to these people, present your work and project and see what you can do with them. What are you risking?
A/ No B/ Yes, but you must rent the place C/ Yes lets meet and see what we can do together.
Obviously, your success rate is low, and renting is not cheap, so be used to be rejected and to move over, that’s part of the job.
4/ This is not an easy one…Building one’s network. You have to meet people, for real. Don’t just stay behind your computer. Attend as many events as you can, related to photography or not. Go to photo walks, exhibition openings, and shows… Show your work and specify the importance of finding inspiring locations to the people you meet. You never know, you might meet someone who will be able to help you, or who knows someone that can. Plus, I personally remember people much more easily when I meet them in person, so you will quickly gain more true followers this way.
5/ the most basic tip I will give here… The importance of web search. Reading some comments on other blogs, forums, social medias, I sadly noticed how lazy people are. Don’t expect anyone to do the work for you. Sometimes most of the information you are looking for is already on the web. Googling should actually be my number one tip. When I don’t have time and need to find a place to shoot, I check out the most famous photographers of the town I am in to evaluate which locations are overused. Then, I see what’s relevant for the type of images I want to create. Apply Step 2 and 3 right after and hopefully, you have found a place to shoot.
You can also use google maps, street view and satellite view if you really don’t have time to check the place for yourself (Although you should always check for yourself before hand as Google is not always up to date).
To summarize the whole thing, to get somewhere you got to work for it!
This is how I do it, what about you? Would be glad to read your suggestions.
Video filmed by Marlène
Birocratic – Overexpressed
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