Location, location, location
Photography, in my opinion, is made up of these factors:
There might be more, but right now, I think that describes a photo well.
I’ve covered some of those aspects, and today I think I will go into... location!
When I read popular photographers FAQs they’re often asked, ‘Where do you find your locations?’ and I think that’s because it can really really influence a photo. I rarely think a photo that I’ve taken is good if I’m not happy with the location.
Sometimes you have to work with the location you’re given, like when you’re taking a picture of someone in their environment, but a lot of the time you have free reign to find your own location to shoot the photo.
It took me a while to figure out which locations work and which don’t for me, and I think it’s different for everyone. Sometimes I’ll be driving with a friend and I’ll see a location and ignore it, but they’ll go ‘there’s a spot!’ and I’ll think... really? But I think a photographer works well when they can visualise how the photo will work in that location.
So this week I'll start on finding your location.
My first tip would be to drive around a lot looking for them, or if you don’t drive, walk. Just keep a constant look-out for things that look photo-friendly. It can be as simple as a fence covered in vines or a broken down house.
Figure out if your model is going to be involved with the location or just standing in front of it/in it.
Here are some examples.
If your model isn’t particularly confident then sometimes it’s better to have them interacting with the location to give them something to do. E.g. they could be leaning on a wall, sitting on a park bench, peering through a window, etc. Or sometimes it just makes your model more comfortable, or makes things look less posed.
In these photos we just got the model to sit on a park bench, swing or in the case of the third one, brought along a hammock and set it up over the stream!
If your model is comfortable just standing or sitting without anything in particular to do, then you can always try the ‘standing in front of’ option.
One problem I encountered at first was seeing a landscape that I thought was nice, and then trying to put a model in front of it. The landscape would have been beautiful as a landscape picture, but as a portrait, you can hardly see the landscape, especially if you’re standing back and zooming in on the model.
You really just have to consider how much of the landscape is going to be seen.
In the case of this photo of Zoe, it doesn’t matter if you can only see a portion of the landscape, it just sets the general mood. As long as you can see that there are misty trees in the background then it works nice and well.
As this photo of Olivia, alleyways can work really well because the walls on the sides of the alleys will lead you into where the model is standing.
If anyone is keen then I can go more into landscapes if you'd like another week!