5 Keys to Setting Up Your Next Photoshoot

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

There is a saying in business, I'm sure you've heard it before: location, location, location. For example, opening a restaurant with delicious food in the middle of nowhere isn’t going to to drive you to success. Success is all about finding the perfect spot.

The same goes for photography too. You can achieve a certain level of performance in technical and interpersonal skills, but it's the locations you choose that have the power to charm your viewers and transform them into fans and customers. Here are a few tips for finding great photoshoot locations:

1. Be prepared

You know what they say, the best photos are those you didn’t take. You’ve seen the images in your mind; Great location, great light, great models, but you didn’t have a camera handy. 

Well, the easiest way for shooting in great locations is to always have a camera ready. And I’m not talking about your phone. Nowadays, people rely on their smartphones too much. These devices have become extmrely adnvanced throughout the years, and you should always have  a mobile with a good camera with you at all times, but photography is about light, and smartphones don’t relay enough light for professional quality pictures.

If you can’t pack a DSLR with you everywhere, think about a nice little mirrorless. You’ll have manual controls, good sensor, and most importantly, the feeling of a real camera, which will push you to take pictures like a real photographer. 

2. Take advantage of every situation

You may think a good location is hard to find, but it’s not. In photography, any location can become a good location. Think about how often you travel by train, plane, or ride the subway. Or how often you go shopping, or have lunch in a nice restaurant. Any of these spots can produce the perfect shot. You just have to be prepared to shoot. I took this photo in the airport while I was on vacation with my wife. I saw an empty boarding gate, asked my wife to walk in the lane,  and  shot a few photos. Simple as that. 

No model around? How about yourself then? Your camera has a self-timer.  Use it and get in the picture! Like I did, while trekking in the forest, on a nice, warm, autumn morning:

3. Ask for permission

Even if it’s perfect, not every location is available for a photoshoot. Remember to ask permission whenever you find yourself in a place with potential regulations regarding photography. You may think that the airport is a public place, but in some locations photography is forbidden. You may think the restaurant you often go to is nice and classy, but that’s a private property. Try to be aware of where you are, look around and ask permission from someone who can give it to you. Think before you shoot  so you won’t get into unnecessary trouble for snapping only a few photos. 

4. Scoop locations

Not everyone lives in a great, fabulous city, or has the time to shoot whenever they find themselves in an interesting place. If you’re one of them, don’t panic. You can still find great locations. You just have spread your antennas and look for them. Start with a park, it’s usually a relaxing place where you can photograph in peace and get more ideas.

If you have a budget, you can consider renting a hotel room or a photo studio. If you’re into sports and leisure themes, think of billiard rooms, bowling arenas, tennis courts, and golf clubs. But, as outlined in tip 3, always ask for permission to shoot before renting a space. You can even ask your boss for permission and use your workplace during the weekend when no one is around. 

The sky is the limit. And speaking of sky, you could also search for a nice outdoor location, like flower and wheat field.  I hear lavender fields go pretty well with sunsets. 

5. Explore

Walk, look around you, take test pictures and if you like it, go back. You won’t find good locations if you’re stuck in traffic all of the time. You need to get out of the car and walk the streets, observe the light at different times of the day and take notes. If you don’t have enough time for this, you can also hit the web and use “street view” to try different queries in search engines. The locations are out there, you just have to explore the world and pay attention to it.

About the Writer - Viorel Dudau, Photo Editor for Dreamstime  


Never in his life did Viorel think he would become a photographer. It all started as a small business, in a small town, for small money. He bought his first digital camera to shoot graduation photos for high schools. He began to take his digital camera everywhere he went and shot everything he saw. Photography soon became his passion, his career, and eventually, his life. Visit his personal page.

Main image courtesy of: Ants Media Asia

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