Location scouting is chock full of hidden opportunities!
If you’re an “on-location” photographer (i.e. you don’t shoot in a studio) you’ll come to find that you spend a LOT of time location scouting. The location can often make or break an image, so finding a great one for your clients is a big deal.
But location scouting can get a bit tiresome, even boring at times. You just need one small shift in mindset, and suddenly it becomes way more awesome…
Turn scouting into a photowalk!
A photowalk is simply walking around, taking photos. Aren’t we photographers so creative when it comes to naming things???
Anyways, location scouting is a perfect opportunity to whip out that camera, and take some shots. Best of all, it’s going to make your location scouting, and your photography, stronger!
When you’re activitely shooting during your location scouting, you’ll force yourself to slow down, walk it out, and pay attention to the details. You’ll end up finding more opportunities, and know the area better because you’ve taken the time to shoot it already. This will translate into better photos of your clients, since you’ll be more confident with your location!
Get Better Compositions
Even when you’re taking portraits, you need a strong background composition to create an engaging image. If you can practice those compositions without the subjects, it will be super easy to just pop them in when you’re actually shooting!
Learning composition requires a lot of simple practice. Get out there with your camera, and find a way to create an interesting image out of apparent chaos.
So shooting the spots during your photowalk, and finding the great compositions at that time, will make it extra easy and awesome when it’s time to throw in your subject!
Know The Light Better
A great location starts with great light. Often when you’re scouting you might only guess that the light will be nice, but aren’t totally sure. Or you might just forget to consider it all together.
If you’re forcing yourself to actually take photos during your scouting, you’ll have a far better understanding of how the light will actually look on camera.
A key here is to try to scout at the same time you’ll be shooting. Light is so variable throughout the day, you’ll want to give yourself the best idea of what it will really be like during the shoot.
Bonus points here if you’re scouting with someone, and have them stand in for you. Then you’ll really know how the light looks on a person!!
But wait! There’s more!!
Yes, there are even more benefits from shooting during your location scouting.
Create A Library
When you actually shoot all the locations you’re scouting, you’ll create a pretty awesome library for yourself! You can reference it when you’re trying to come up with a spot to shoot a new session. Just scroll through all your location scouting images, and you’re sure to find something that works!
If you don’t shoot, you’ll probably end up forgetting a TON of the spots you’ve found. So shooting during your scouting is going to end up saving you time as well!
Take Cool Photos
It’s almost an afterthought at this point, but you’ll actually be taking some really cool photos in the meantime! Even if you never end up using that spot, you’ll have some great images to enjoy. Always a bonus.
A photographer can never have enough practice. No question.
So taking the time to shoot during your scouting is going to help you improve your skills as a photographer! You’ll get great practice with composition, as you try to organize the details. You’ll also have great practice seeing light, and finding the good stuff.
And last but definitely not least…
Yep, shooting during your location scouting makes it WAY more fun. Location scouting can get a bit tedious after a while. If you make it into a photo walk as well, you’ll get a lot more personal enjoyment out of the experience!!
So next time you’re out location scouting, bring a camera along. It doesn’t necessarily need to be your main camera, anything will do. We took these with the Sony NEX-3, but an iPhone would also work! Anything to just get you taking photos.
Because, as you’ve seen, there are a TON of ways that simply taking photos while you’re location scouting makes the experience precisely 100X more awesome!!
Do you have any more tips to make location scouting more awesome? Share them in the comments now!