Location scouting is just one more facet of the photographic process that takes time and money to carry out. It can get especially difficult if you are planning an out-of-town shoot. A lot of times this would mean arriving at the shoot location a day early. But there isn't always the time or budget to allow for that, as was the case for my shoot with Japanese metal band Boris last week. Lucky for me, Google came to my rescue.
I was recently given the opportunity to take a portrait of Boris, before their Cleveland show at The Grog Shop. The band normally don't take portraits, so I knew that for their shoot, more so than with other shoots, I needed to be quick and efficient. Cleveland is a 2.5 hour drive for me and I hadn't been to the venue in a very long time, so I needed to get a view of the location ahead of time, in order to create a plan of action and bring the right gear.
When I looked up the venue on Google, I saw the option to "see inside". I knew that while this wasn't a new feature, it had never occurred to me to use it for photo shoot scouting. I knew my time with the band would be brief. I also knew, by looking at the satellite view of the venue's surroundings, that there were not any good spots within a ten minute drive of the space, so we would likely have to shoot at the venue. I quickly navigated through the space to find a nice little corner to do the photo shoot. There was a nice red curtain, which would make a good backdrop, and it was out of the way out the stage, which was good since the other bands would be sound-checking.
The day of the shoot came and we headed up to Cleveland. We arrived at the venue 10 minutes before our shoot time (not recommended). Even though I would normally prefer to have a good hour to prep for a portrait, we were prepared. We walked in the side door, straight to the spot we had picked out ahead of time. It looked exactly like it did online, save for some extra benches that needed to be moved. Within 10 minutes, our spot was cleared, lit and ready to go. We had Boris for a total of 11 minutes, which proved to be more than sufficient.