Scouting Quality Photo Locations

Quality Photo Locations Scout Sessions 101: Choosing The Best Location For Your Photo Shoot

Location scouting for photography - free photography course

You’re a budding photographer, and you want people to know your name. And you think that one way for you to achieve that goal is by choosing the besta locations for your photoshoot. You believe that this will have a significant role in the outcome of your photos and eventually, in your career. But since you’re still starting in the industry, you know that choosing the best locations is never easy. There are a lot of things to consider and the fear of the location being “not good enough” for your audience is always there. While that notion can be true, you don’t have to let it ruin your career. Yes, choosing a location for your photo shoot might be difficult, but there are more ways than one to solve the problem – and let this article show you how.

When you’re still a novice, chances are, you don’t have any idea on how to get the job done. All you have is a goal in mind but getting there is still difficult – and coming up with the best location for your photo shoot is not an exemption. To help you with that problem, you may consider the points below to help you come up with the best location for your photo shoot.

Choose A Meaningful Place

When you’re a photographer, it’s not always about convenience – and the same goes when you’re choosing a location. You can always choose a location which is accessible to you, but this isn’t always the best choice. For instance, if you live near a park with lush green trees, you can always choose this as your location as it will save you time and energy as you no longer have to think about going somewhere hard to reach. While this can look attractive, it might not be the best option for you.

You should keep in mind that every subject is unique and has its own personality. This is also what makes people interesting so you should use this as one of your basis for the location. If your subject is a music lover, consider using a jukebox store as the location. If he/she is a teacher or achiever in school, look for empty schools or universities for your photoshoot. Not only will you be able to tell a story but considering your subjects’ interest can also serve as an avenue for your audience to easily connect with your photos.

Choose A Quiet Place

One of the worst locations for a photo shoot is in the middle of crowded places like cities and public parks. You should stray away from these kinds of locations as you’ll have to wait for people to move out of frame, deal with questions from every passer-by and your subject might feel uncomfortable. Everyone involved in the photo shoot will be stressed because of the hordes of people around them.

Contrary to popular belief, looking for a quiet location isn’t as difficult as it seems. If you’re currently living in the city, you can consider getting off the beaten track and move a few hundred yards away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. If possible, you can also avoid cities altogether and head on to sandy beaches, or grassy fields. All of these locations might require you to travel for a few hours, but your pictures will be worth it. These locations can provide you with a great backdrop, and since these are usually deserted, you can have complete reign to move around and ask your subject to try out different angles and poses.

Think About Permits

However, not all of the locations you’re eyeing for can be used anytime. You should remember that certain locations are protected by copyright and need special permits before you can do your photo shoot. Regardless of the case, you should be able to get your permits in order before planning any further. While some are easy to acquire, some can be more demanding. But if you think that you found the perfect location, you should be willing to go through the processes of obtaining the permits. You wouldn’t want your subject to dress up and end up not being able to access the location, right?

Don’t Let The Location Distract You

A suitable location is vital to the success of your photos but keep in mind that it’s not the only thing that contributes to your output. When you’re already in the location, and you’ve started to take photos, have the time to look at your shots and determine if your eye is more drawn to the scenery than the subject because if it does, it means that you’re putting too much emphasis on the wrong thing.

For you to avoid doing that, open your lens’ aperture up wide. This is a simple and effective technique which puts the background in a blur while restricting it from being too distracting in the photos. Doing this can also create depth in the scene and draw the audience’s eyes to your subject.

In conclusion

Photography is beautiful and an exciting hobby. When you get to take pictures of people or places, you’re creating memories which can last for years. But before your photos can do that, you should be able to a photo scout and choose the best location. And coming up with one can be tricky. But you should not worry because as long you follow the tips presented in this article, you’re a step closer to choosing the best location for your next photoshoot!

Steve McIntyre

Steve McIntyre is a writer contributing works to Photoshoot Locations UK from time to time. He extends a particular care for his readers that is clearly seen in the things he writes. He makes sure topics he discusses aren't only properly explained, but entertaining as well. As a photography enthusiast, he's currently trying to tackle street photography with his film camera.

Shooting in Black and White: Rediscovering the Monochrome Magic

Black and white photography can be intimidating for beginning photographers. However, you don’t have to be a veteran photographer to start shooting in black and white photography. Here are some ways that you can add black and white photography to your portfolio.

Why it’s Magical

Best Photo Lessons black and white photographyShooting black and white photographs can be an extremely effective way to convey emotions and to bring attention to details.  Black and white photographs can be a way to create an intimate and timeless frame due to its nostalgic nature. Black and white photography as explained by Guru Shots can create a magical and timeless image that can be extremely powerful in event photography, portraits, landscapes, and wildlife photography.

Due to this magical effect, it is important that you plan on when to use black and white. You should not just shoot color photography and hope that one of your photos may look good in black and white while you’re editing in post. Your photos will be far more effective if you plan on using black and white while you’re composing the shot.

While you are setting up the shot, it’s important to imagine the scene in front of you without the colors. Instead of looking at how the colors interact with each other in the photo, you need to look at how the hues and tones work together in the photos, as exhibited here with beautiful, tone-perfect images.

If you’re unsure about how a photo may look or are having trouble imagining it, a good trick to use is to put on a pair of sunglasses. This will help you see the potential tones and block out some of the distracting colors that you may be seeing through your lens.

How to compose the best black and white photo

The most interesting black and white photos can be taken when the contrast between highlights and shadows is extreme. While you can look for these specific times of day and light scenarios, there are specific cameras offering features that bring out the best in your monochrome work. However, that’s not the only way that you can create contrast in your photos. Contrast can be found in colors (light and dark) and with lines (architectural and otherwise).

However, in order to create dramatic contrasts in your black and white photos, knowing how to work with and create shadows is a must. This could create a space for dramatic storytelling.

If you want to use shadows to create a dramatic effect, it’s important to be shooting in a location where shadows are readily available or can be made. This can also greatly depend on the time of day. If you’re looking for the most dramatic shadows, noon is a great time to shoot for that is when the sun is the most high in the sky. If you want softer, but maybe more angled lighting/shadows, shoot during early morning hours or sunset hours.

If you’re not able to shoot during those times of day or if you don’t have a location with light, then you can always create your own shadows. You can do this in a studio space or in any location if you have an external flash or man-made light source.

If you have found the perfect light and the perfect scene, but there are no shadows in the frame, you can also create your own shadows. These methods can create unique looks and further your storytelling:

  • Use hands to create shadows. Use your own hands or the model’s hands to create shadows over wanted areas. For example, you can create interesting lines over a model’s face, using just fingers (theirs or someone’s off-frame)
  • Use a piece of lace or fabric. Place a piece of fabric strategically over your light source to create an intricate shadow pattern over your subject.
  • Some other common objects that can create dramatic shadows include: window blinds, fences, glasses, forks, whisks, etc.

What not to do in black and white photography

The most important thing to remember when shooting in black and white photography happens in post. When you’re editing detail in black and white photos, you want to be careful not to overdo it. You want it to look natural and don’t want the texture to be too extreme.

A feature of shooting in black and white is that it brings out details automatically, and they are more noticeable. While this is usually a positive, it can be a negative when it comes to close-up portraits. You don’t want the skin on someone’s face to look rubbery or fake. To avoid this, be cautious with detail and luminance while you’re editing your photos.

Lastly, avoid using black and white photography as a way to try to make photos redeemable. Some people tend to use a black and white filter on photos that didn’t turn out like they wanted them to in color. You may think that a black and white photo will hide your mistakes, but in reality, it usually only highlights those imperfections more.

Reviewing Tips & Tricks

  • Plan on using black and white in your photography before you shoot, not after.
  • Use a pair of sunglasses while composing your shot to help imagine what the tones and hues may look like in black bestphotolessons.com and white.
  • Shoot at noon for the most dramatic shadows.
  • Use or make shadows in order to create high contrast photos.
  • Don’t be afraid to create your own shadows.
  • Don’t use black and white photography to “save” your bad photos.

Key Tips On Taking The Best Basic Portrait Shots While Holidaying

You’ve browsed through your Facebook profile and stumbled upon your album from your last trip to Hawaii. There were a lot of pictures, but while you were navigating through all of these, you’ve noticed three things. One, most of them are selfies which means that you never got the chance to highlight the majestic tourist spots; two, your pictures are a blur; and three, you don’t have any pictures of the locals living there. You don’t even know why you’ve uploaded all of these in the first place - they aren’t good enough! And now that you have an upcoming holiday trip next month, you want to make sure that your portrait shots will turn out better. You promise yourself that your pictures this time will be worth bragging about.

You don’t have to worry because even if you have the most basic camera (or even a smartphone) and some basic photography skills, you can still take the best portrait shots. Here’s how:

Plan ahead: Since you know where you’re going, it follows that you should know what to prepare for. Research the most famous tourist spots (and not so famous) in your destination. If you’re planning to visit any establishments like museums or churches, call them ahead of time and inquire if tourists are allowed to bring their cameras inside and if they’re open during your preferred time and date. Create a schedule of when are you planning to visit these locations and stick to it. You want to capture the best portraits while travelling without stressing-out, and this is the way to do it.

Employ a local guide: If you want new ways to travel, employing a local guide can help you. These people basically know every area in your destination like the back of their hands so you won’t have any problems on your trip with them by your side. They can also introduce you to new locations which are not too “touristy” and shots taken here can be an excellent addition to your gallery! You’ll be the envy of your friends once you show them pictures like these!

Always ask permission: You want to take portraits of the locals in your new travel destination, right? Before you do, make sure that you ask permission. You don’t want the locals to be distracted by your camera’s flash. You also wouldn’t want to ruin cultures or observances that they have. Before taking their pictures, tell them your intentions and try to build a connection with them. Make them feel at ease with you as this will be obvious in your photos. You’ll not only have fantastic portrait shots, but you’ll also gain friends.

Book a hotel room with a view: Aside from taking pictures of the locals, you would also want to bask in the new scenery you’re facing. Sure, it might have the same tall buildings like in your hometown, but the entire view will be different, and you want to capture a portrait of that. Booking a hotel room with a view will also allow you to take the city’s breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. You’ll be able to capture scenery in a different angle. Every cent is worth it once you end up in a hotel room like this.

Highlight the background: There are always tourist spots wherever you go. It may be an old church, a huge statue, or a beautiful lake. But whatever it might be, take the time to visit some of these (much better if you can visit all!) and use these locations as your background. Make sure that your photographer stays away a few feet from you to ensure that the background becomes the highlight and you as the subject, is just an accessory. When there are buildings that are too high, tell your photographer to try out new angles to capture them. You’ll never know when you’ll be coming back here so go out there and enjoy every side trip.

Don’t bring too much gear: You don’t need to bring all the equipment like you’re going to a photoshoot whenever you take portrait photos while travelling. Aside from being too heavy to carry, it’ll take you too much time to set-up everything. As much as possible, you want to be ready to capture candid moments and bringing all of this equipment just won’t do the trick. Instead, use something that’s lightweight and produces good quality photos. Look for devices which can be water-proof too, to ensure that you can still take those portrait shots anywhere, even at the beach.

There are a lot of ways on how you can shoot that best portrait photos while travelling. Even the best Chicago portrait photographer knows that it’ll take some time for you to get the hang of this, but it will be worth it later on. For sure, you’ll have photos that can earn hundreds of likes on your Facebook account and they’ll be raved about by your friends for days. Your photos will be so good that they’ll make them wish they were with you during your trip!

Michael Schacht is a portrait photographer and photography educator based in Chicago Illinois. As owner/operator of 312 Elements Headshot Photography located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, Michael overseas the day to day operations and has had the opportunity to photograph thousands of corporate professionals over the last decade. Through his direction, attention to detail, and people skills, he's helped these clients to craft a narrative around their personal brand. It's his belief that the headshot is the modern dad business card and that a better headshot is essential for a better career.   Michael, his wife Meghan and his two daughters reside in Tinley Park Illinois where he is a community leader and active participant in the local business sector. Michael studied business at Ball State university and photography with world renown headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. It was Hurley that trained Michael in the art of human expression. Michael is now a Headshot Crew certified Mentor and active member of the Headshot Crew community where he was named one of the top 20 headshot photographers in the world.

Adding ‘meaning’ to your images

Here's a great idea to help you flex your creative muscles for photography.
 
Artistic photography and meaningTo really push the artistic side of your photography - choose a random word from the dictionary, a book on your coffee table, or from a 'word of the day page' (ie http://www.wordthink.com/). Really study that word and what it means.
 
Then go for a walk with your camera. When something catches your eye, spend a few moments thinking about that word - and then take some pictures of whatever has caught your eye.
 
The two may be totally unrelated things - but then that's what art often is, taking an object, scene, colour etc and adding meaning beyond the literal.
 
The more you do this, the more you should be able to add a different kind of depth to your photography.
 
Most of all, have fun with the idea.

Artistic photography and meaning - using shadows and linesAnd as another way to use this idea - when you do randomly find something to photograph - before hitting the shutter take a moment to think about what that 'something' means to you, what is it that caught your eye. The clearer you have that in mind, the clearer your photograph of it will probably be.

Manual mode – do I need it?

Assuming you have or are interested in a camera with manual capability - have you wondered WHY you might want to go to manual mode instead of letting the camera decide?

Here's the real deal - automatic modes work great with fairly even light coming from slightly behind you and the tones you're photographing are either middle tones or there's a good distribution of tones.

Tones being white to black and all the levels of grey and colours in between those extremes.

Expsoure in steam in fog - program vs manual modeWhere auto or program modes start to fail is when you have a mostly white scene - like a white puppy on snow, or being out in fog, which makes a camera think it needs to make the pictures darker and thus white becomes grey. Auto and program modes also have difficulty when the light comes from behind or beside the subject - imagine your child in a white shirt standing in a doorway and the sun is coming from the side (which would be a cool and dramatic picture - what part do you WANT to be exposed right? Do you expose for the bright part of the face or do you expose for the shadow side letting the bright side go completely white?

depth of field - shallow focus - manual modeThe other aspect is how much do you want to be in focus? Do you want shallow focus so that just your partner's face is in focus or do you want to have everything in focus? Auto and program modes default to more of the 'everything in focus.'

In the end - are you TAKING  a picture, ore are you CREATING a picture? If you want to get really creative you want to create each picture - make it look the way you envision it. That skill takes time and practice - and taking lots of pictures, and doing it in manual so that you have control over each aspect of the image.

However if what you're doing is documenting your life and not worrying about being 'artsy' - then program mode is fine and will do a great job.

As in all of photography - the purpose of the photos determines the methods being used.

Lens choices

As mentioned in the lessons - making a choice of lens can create very different looks in your photos. One of the biggest drawbacks with smartphone photography is the choice of only one lens type (wide angle.)

The basic approach to choosing the right lens length is that: if you want to isolate and feature a person, object or texture, you want a longer lens; if you want to keep proportions of a person's face when doing a fairly close portrait, you want a medium to long lens; and if you want to include the environment around your subject or distort your subject you want a wide lens.

But for a more in-depth look at lenses, Cathryn and her daughter - who are readers of this Best Photo Lessons -  sent me this link to a buying guide by Best Buy - we're not affiliated in any way with the retailer, but thought this was good enough to suggest you review what they suggest.

bestbuy.com/site/buying-guides/lens-buying-guide

What to DO with your photography

wallartMillions of photos taken daily never get seen again. I'll bet you're like me and have a ton of photos that you've shot in the last few years and they are sitting in an unused on your computer.

Here's a few ideas to bring out and be used. Not all of them are about making giant enlargements - but then again, why not? (See below.)

1 - Sort Them

I'm a big proponent of Adobe Lightroom. You can buy it for about $149 USD or you can get it on subscription for $10 USD along with Photoshop. By importing all your images to Lightroom you can classify, keyword and rate each image so it is easier to find when you're looking for an image that will meet a specific need.

But that's not the only way to sort images. Your camera likely came with a program that will do much the same sorting and rating – probably not as well but it will work.

Even if you just create folders on your computer such as: Cats, dogs, kids, friends, sky, etc you will then have something to go by when using the images.

There's other programs as well such as ACDSee or Corel AfterShot Pro - and many others. Do a web search and you'll find many options.

2 - Print Them

Load a bunch of your favourites and put them on a USB stick and head off to a lab to get 4x6 prints done of each. It's inexpensive and fun. There are labs, drug stores and even Costco can do great printing. There are also online labs but I prefer going to a local lab.

One of the coolest ideas I've heard to do with prints is get a big basket, drop all the prints into that and put it on the coffee table or side table where people can rummage through the images at their leisure.

You can also put them in albums - which don't get looked at as often but do keep them organized. Really great if you put descriptions beside each image of when they were taken and who was in the image. Great for family histories. Not as important the year they were taken but amazing keepsakes for families.

3 - Screen Saver

screensaverLoad up a special folder on your computer and let it display the images when you're not busy on the computer.

And many TV's can take a USB thumb drive and run slide shows - the biggest best digital frame you probably already own.

Or you can buy a digital frame and let images run that way - another great way to continuously show your images.

4 - Printed Books and 'Magazines'

booksmagsSelect a bunch of images of similar nature - maybe a trip you've taken or certain group of friends, or even your kids doing silly things. If you own a Mac you have Photos installed which lets you assemble and print softcover and hardcover books of your images very easily. I've found the image quality of the Apple created books to be outstanding.

But there are also online labs that can do that as well. Do a quick online search and you'll find lots of ways to print your own books.

5 - Print Them - Big

Make enlargements of your best images. Be proud of your images. One of the quickest way to make your image 'fine art' is to have it printed 20 x 30 inches or bigger in black and white. That looks fantastic on a wall.

6 - Slide Shows

In 2008 I did a project where I crossed Canada driving from Victoria BC to St. John's Newfoundland - all 7500 kilometers. Along the way I stopped every 50 kilometers and photographed whatever was there.  I then did about a year of slide shows for libraries, seniors groups and other groups who were interested.

If you've done a special project or have a good series of images that cover a subject that could be of interest - put together a slide show and get the word out to all your friends, relatives and business associates that you'd like to do presentations.

Conclusion

Doing photography is fun - showing your photography to interested people is even funner. Whether its 4x6 prints in a basket or a slide show for seniors, do something with your photos and you'll discover even more enjoyment in this great hobby.

How to take great flower photos

I know that many out there want to improve their photography in one aspect. Flower photography. With gardening as popular as it is this shouldn’t be a surprise. Flower photography while looking like one of the simplest forms of photography can quickly become one of the most difficult. Here are a few tips for you. (Keeping in mind that basic good photography skills are always used.)

PickASubject4
Photo By Neil Speers

1. Soft diffuse light. Today it’s very overcast outside, and if there were any flowers in bloom today would be the perfect day for capturing some great images. Soft diffuse light enhances color saturation, so if you wondered how or why pro photographers flower images seem so deep in color this is one of the reasons why. (There are exceptions to this rule. I do some flower photography is bright or dappled sunlight but I’m usually trying to get an effect of light passing through the petals.)

2. Slow film speed. 200 speed or less. The slower speed films have greater detail and for flowers you’re going to need to get close anyway and you want the nice sharp detail of a slower speed of film. I use 100 speed for my flower photography.

3. Tripod. Use one for this type of photography. Set up your shot, get everything in sharp focus, and then shoot. A tripod will keep your camera from moving on you and allow you to get the sharp detail you will need.

4. Look for great colors, a flower in full bloom next to a budArticle Submission, and don’t shoot on windy days. Keep contrast and color in mind at all times and try different compositions each time you take a shot.

Flower photography can be a lot of fun especially if the flowers are your own.

If you have some specific questions please visit my Photography and Design Forum at:http://kellypaalphotography.com/v-web/bulletin/bb/index.php and post your question there.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

Discover emotion in every photo you take

Paris emotion photography

Paris Photographer Ciprian LupanMany of us that like taking photos everywhere we go in order to capture best moments of a meeting or a date, or the funniest moments spent with friends. These are moments of life that will be never left behind from our memory.

The best element that can be captured in a photo is emotion. A beautiful photo, taken at the right time, can create an entire story in your memory, a beautiful sequence of events, feelings, smells and that simple photo can make you go in the past.

But how exactly can a photo do this? It is not about the photo, it is about the message of the photo and the transmitted emotion. When taking a photo you have to do your best to capture the essence of life, all the elements of the background at the right place, the beautiful smile of the loved person which reminds you why you love her so much. A wrong detail can ruin your photo and that is why you have to pay a lot of attention in order to get perfect results.

Emotion photographyBut, how can you “capture feelings” in a photo?

1. Capture moments. When you are a photographer and you are collaborating with different kind of couples then you realize that capturing a caress or a glance at the appropriate moment is more than a photo where everything is perfect placed or the landscape is dreamy. If it is necessary you can use some color effects to make your photo look amazing.

2. Be a good reader of the facial expression. The best moment to catch someone’s amazed face expression is the proposal time for sure. In that moment there are millions of thoughts expressed in a single look. A natural smile makes more than a thousand words, so try to get it.

3. Look for details. You have to know where to look. Not only the face and the eyes can share emotion. The gestures, the handshakes, in a couple, the way of walking together, even the laughing of the partners are a key element in capturing happiness.

4. Use Portrait Mode if available on your camera. Try to also make portrait – or vertical orientation – photo in order to capture another side of a person, the natural side. The portrait mode will allow the light to go into the camera in abundance. (editor's note) If you don't have a specific portrait mode on your camera, try aperture priority and set the fstop as open as the lens will go – lower numbers are better, ie f1.8, f2.8, f.3.3 etc.

When having a photo session, every element of the landscape or background must have a purpose. The colors must fit perfect with the mood and must create a universe.

5. Black and white landscapes. Sometimes, a picture in white and black shows more expressions that a colored one. Especially when you are a professional photographer and you have full control of the photos, and you can make any area lighter or darker.

6. Using continuous focus. Moments to surprise a real emotion are rare. So, in order to be prepared, you can set your camera on continuous focus, to have the best photos in every moment.

It is big deal to discover lots of emotions in a photo and everyone that considers himself a professional photographer needs to develop their talent and skill to do this. In that way, you can see beyond the capture taken at a certain moment and create a story. Because great stories use full range of emotions.

Emotion Paris photographyCiprian Lupan is a professional Paris photographer specialized in proposal, engagement, wedding and family photos. If you want to have the best experience and beautiful photos at the Eiffel Tower, just visit the website.

Don’t Let Bad Weather Keep Your Camera Tucked Away

Foggy weather photography

Here in the northern hemisphere, it's winter. And where I am right now - it's very winter. Miserable stuff that snow. Except when you have a camera in your hand.

Then it's a playground. The landscape takes on a very different look, colours become monochrome, crystals form, fog moves in on cat's paws (to quote a poem we learned in high school), rain creates incredible reflections and clouds create wonderful patterns.

When the weather stops being sunny, some of the best opportunities for great photos come around.

A couple of hints for you. Cloudy, rainy, snowy, foggy days all have low contrast and will fool a camera meter to make the picture darker than the scene actually is. Increase your exposure by about one and a half stops to compensate.

Night photos require longer exposures, grab a tripod or place the camera on a sturdy support. If you can set the self-timer you'll get even sharper images, especially with dSLR's because the mirror in the camera won't be moving at the time of the exposure.

 

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