Fun, young couple smiles in the woods

What can make or break a photoshoot? Location. It is everything! Oftentimes, clients will come to me asking where they should shoot their photos. While I have so many recommendations in the Michigan area, when it comes to choosing the perfect location there are many factors to consider. 

A few weeks ago, I shared “3 Things To Look For When Location Scouting” on Instagram. I received so many questions and, overall, a positive reaction that I decided to create a blog post all about it today! The next time you sit down with your photographer to discuss where you should take photos, you will be the one sounding like a pro! 

Keep in mind choosing a location may seem stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! There are so many noteworthy locations wherever you may be. In fact, it’s amazing how many photo destinations you overlook each and every day. Sometimes it’s as simple as hopping in your car, keeping your eyes alert, and taking an afternoon cruise around town. Here are a handful of questions to keep in mind when you are scouting out a spot.

Family takes photo on a park bench in Michigan

What is the style of the shoot?

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a location is what the purpose and style of the shoot is. What story are you trying to tell? Maybe you want a boho style for your shoot and you just so happen to live in Arizona. With this in mind, you’ll want a location that is warmer and gives off earthy vibes, like a desert. If you’re in the midwest, like me, you have tons of options. Do you want a free spirited vibe? Consider taking photos in a meadow. Romantic? A forest or gazebo will do!

Is your location easily accessible?

Like I mentioned before, I will typically take an evening drive to look for different locations. I also recommend taking nature walks. You will be amazed at what surroundings you will stumble upon while driving or walking. Take note on how easy your location is to get to. If you’re taking sunset engagement photos and you’re shooting in a park that closes their gates at sundown, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Make sure you are allowed to take photos in your spot, check the safety of the location, and look at how easy it is to get to. A secluded bridge in the woods is all fun and games until everyone has snagged their clothes on branches…

Is there shelter nearby?

Shooting outdoors is preferable when the weather is nice. The natural light is stunning, the air is refreshing, and the views are incredible. But sometimes, the weather has other plans. You can’t always predict rain, or even snow, so making sure there is shelter nearby is something I look for constantly when scouting out places. I also am always on the lookout for nearby power outlets and restrooms. Not every client thinks about this in advance but it is oh so important!

What time of day will you be shooting?

Something that is easy to overlook is the time of day you will be shooting. Your location may be gorgeous at sunrise but by noon it is full of harsh light. If you are a photographer, notice how the light hits your location at different times of the day. I usually figure out the time we will be shooting by factoring in sunlight, other obligations, and naptime for the younger ones. Once you know if you’ll be shooting in the morning, afternoon or evening, you’ll be able to limit down your list of locations. 

Maternity family photo shoot

How busy is the location?

If you are shooting in a public place, it’s always important to factor in how crowded it could be at the time of your shoot. While there isn’t too much we can do about crowds and people walking past, especially if you choose a park or more populated area, this is a question that you’ll want to consider. If you aren’t comfortable with the potential of people walking past and possibly seeing you – I get it! We’ll just work to find a spot that is more secluded so you can be yourself and be comfortable. Keep in mind, weekdays tend to be less busy at public places so if you have the time to shoot during a Wednesday rather than a weekend, that could lower your chances of people popping up.

At the end of the day, it’s important to ensure your location isn’t a distraction but rather it helps you tell your story and is a meaningful spot to you and whoever else will be in the photos. If finding a location is a daunting task for you, know you can fully trust your photographer. We have an eye for seeing what works best for our sessions and will take care of you! Feel free to drop any questions you have about locations in the comments below or shoot me a DM over on Instagram! I can’t wait to see all the beautiful places you shoot!