How to find an outdoor location:
A good location can sometimes make ALL the difference when it comes to a photoshoot. The backdrop, lighting, amount of space, and weather all play important roles in a successful photoshoot. But first, a note on location scouting. Not many people know this, but location scouting a big part of my job. As a Los Angeles and Orange County wedding photographer, I have to make sure that my couples have a safe and comfortable place to be themselves without any distractions. And sometimes the best location to shoot isn't where everyone goes, it's usually a hidden spot that I've stumbled upon randomly. I've compiled some tips for you to help you find locations on your own! I've also made a list of locations that I've been to around Southern California, mainly photoshoot locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. Some are popular, some aren't. Keep in mind, these spots fit my style, which may not be for everyone. I gravitate towards locations in nature and that are open enough to move around a lot. Definitely look for places that fit your style, as well as the needs of your shoot! If you're interested in this info or locations, ask me how we can set up the perfect session!
Here's my process of location scouting:
- Search on Google Maps to find what you're looking for. I usually look up parks or trails "near me." It can get you started with a list of locations to look at. Usually other people who have visited will post pictures of the area as well.
- Google Earth! Super accurate and you'll get a better view of locations. This will help with getting a more accurate perspective of the topography as well.
- The best possible way to find a location is just by driving around. If you keep your eyes open, you'd be surprised how many great locations are near you. Many people think that you have to travel far to see beautiful places, but someone with a good eye knows that beauty can be found in the most mundane places. Try looking at your city through the eyes of someone who has never been there. It's more fun that way.
- Visit the location during the time of day that you'll be shooting. This will give you a better understanding of light and you can plan ahead better. The position of the sun can make a location look drastically different throughout the day. When I plan for a shoot, I visualize exactly how I'll position the subject according the the light and the backdrop. When you're confident throughout the entire session, your clients will feel more taken care of. This adds to the overall client experience.
- Ask locals. They're probably the best people you could ever talk to about finding locations in a city you've never been to. Sometimes Google just doesn't cut it and the location is too far for you to visit. Locals always know the best places to go that not many tourists know about.
- Rent a location. Peerspace or Airbnb's offer some INCREDIBLE private spots for photoshoots that are affordable and diverse. Check out this blog on unique Peerspace venues in Los Angeles! I complied a list of some of my favorite locations that have different vibes.
"Do I need a permit for photography to shoot at this location?"
Research your location and make sure you have permission! You can check the park websites to see the rules and how to apply for a permit to avoid getting a ticket.
What defines a good photoshoot location?
- Easy access for my clients.
- Plenty of parking- preferably free.
- Good lighting for the time of day of the scheduled shoot.
- Public access, but not too crowded or near too many people.
I've included a list of locations that I've found using these methods of location scouting. Over time, I've compiled a "go-to" list that I use for all of my shoots if my clients ask me. I highly recommend keeping a list ready for any shoots!