How to choose the best location for the photoshoot?
By Saleh Daxi – Photographer and film director / Daliatel Carmel – Israel
(This article revolves around people and wedding photography, not any other kind of photography)
One of the first questions I get asked by people wanting their photos to be takenis: “Where should the photoshoot take place?”Or“what is the best location for the photoshoot?” They follow by saying:“Saleh, take us to a special location! We want the pictures to be the best there is!”
The photographer and the models must understand that pictures taken at the same location will differ depending on time taken and on the angle from which they are taken. Pictures taken in the morning differ from pictures taken at the same location in the evening or sunset.Many locations may seem inappropriate to us, or “not beautiful”, but in reality, one can get great results in such locations, and completely different from what is expected.
This is where the photographer comes in place, with his artistic and professional experience, in order to produce a great picture and to commemorate the different models’ most beautiful moments whether they are wedding couples or any other person.
What may seem to us appropriate and beautiful when taking the picture does not necessarily translate into a beautiful result, because there is a big difference between what the eyes see and what the picture turns out to be. Thus, I will reveal some of the techniques and secrets I learned throughout my 10 years of experience. Either through studies in professional colleges around the world or by my personal experience,discoveries, and search of new photography techniques that will differentiate me from other photographers.
One of the questions I ask the models before choosing the photoshoot location is: “What time of the day will the photoshoot take place?” or “How much time do we have?” And later ask: “What colors will you be wearing or what type of clothing will you be wearing?” Of course, I always ask where the models would like to have the photoshoot.
These questions are type of a preliminary study to answer few of the basic photography rules before moving on.The time when we begin the photoshoot determines which locations to choose according to the sun’s place in the sky, for example, if the photoshoot begins at 2 p.m. I will start in spots with shade, since the sun is very hot and powerful and is not suitable for a photoshoot in nature, while at 4 p.m. the sun starts to mellow down and give warmer and softer light, thus becomes more suitable for a photoshoot in nature.
The photoshoot length is a very important variableand determines how to organize my time and number of locations I want to take pictures in as well as the distance between them, since we don’t want to lose precious time before sunset by choosing locations that are far from each other.
And finally, I am interested in knowing the color and type of the models’ clothing so that I can pick the best suitable location for the photoshoot in order to get the best results and be creative. This is a topic all by itself and we will discuss it more in depth in upcoming articles such as ‘Artistic and Fashion photography.’
Throughout the years I have learned that the photographer must be part psychologist, since he must understand his clients,respect their feelings,and listen to their requirements.Otherwise, he might take a professionally correct choice but one that the models may not like.
Naturally I explain the professional reasons for choosing a certainlocationand,when needed, persuade them to choose the right location according to the following rules:
- Time of the day and the sun’s place in the sky – taking people’s pictures outside at noon produces completely deferent results than taking pictures at sunset or at night.We should look for spots that suit the time of the photoshoot, or use tools that help us get better results, such as flashes, reflectors, and flatters, which are mounted on the camera lenses so to add shade to the powerful sunrays on the models’ faces.
- Matching clothing and colors with the place and spot of the photoshoot –I believe that coloration is an art all by itself, and this is one of the most important qualities that elevate the photographer to become an artist. Thus, giving the photographer the ability to foresee the final result before taking the picture. This is a large subject, and we will talk more about it in a upcoming article about “Fashion photography” since it takes a larger role there.
However,when photographing people or wedding couples we tend to deal more with the color white since white is still a crowd favorite in Arab societies and we don’t see much brides choosing colors other than white in their bridal party.
- Taking a picture accordingly to the sun angle in the sky or any other light source is very important – We can get a complete different and better picture by simply changing the camera spot accordingly to the model, this is where the photographer’s experience and knowledge in lighting is measured, and this will help him get the better result.
- Choosing the better lens according to the photoshoot spot or the specific picture in order to get the better result – If we want to highlight the model in a crowded background, we can use a lens to isolate him, like zooming lenses, which give us better results than wide-angle lenses, which highlight everything. On the other hand, if we want to photograph someone standing in front of beautiful mountains and valleys, we should use wide-angle lenses to get better results and give the background a major role in the final result.
- Using light sources to highlight the model and building a different result than what the eyes see – As photographers, we can use light from an outside source and produce a completely different result than what is expected. This is called creativity – highlighting what we want to stand out in the picture and dimming what we don’t want to show.
- Perfecting what we couldn’t perfect when we took the picture through editing according to professional photography rules – final touches to the picture can achieve far greater results and sometime produce even better and more beautiful results.Finally, I would like to say that there is no ‘betterlocation’ for a photoshoot, I took amazing photos in unexpected and strange places,which is something every photographer is ought to do (Thinking out of the box) and to be able to think artistically in order to get new and different results by remembering the basic photography rules, which every photographer should study.Going over the rules I mentioned above will help you produce better and more artistic results.