Ever Shot on Location and Felt Stuck? Here Are a Few Tips to Help

Ever Shot on Location and Felt Stuck? Here Are a Few Tips to Help

I shoot for a clothing boutique and we shoot outside at the same area weekly. To say I have overused the available locations is an understatement. Sometimes I find myself on the side of the road, next to a rundown building I’ve shot at 20 times already, and think to myself, how in the world can I make this different? I’ll bet most of us have been there at some point.

Here are a few tips that help me:

1. Pause and Look Around

Maybe this one seems super obvious, but when I am shooting I can go non-stop, moving quickly through each shot and look. When I stop for a moment and give my brain a moment to let the creative juices get going again I always come up with something new. It’s amazing how just stopping for a second and re-evaluating your environment and what is happening around you can change your perspective. In this particular moment the model was putting on her shoes in the sun to stay warm when I stopped and looked at her. The sunlight was illuminating her face and her pose was natural to her. I loved the way the moment looked, but the following iPhone image was my environment. My next thought was how can I use this?

2. Shoot at a Different Angle

Sometimes I catch myself shooting in a default way. Meaning, I have my way of doing things, and sometimes I catch myself doing what I usually do because that’s what I do without even thinking about it. Follow? This was one of those moments when my first inclination was to shoot the subject straight on. The problem with that, as you can see in the above photo, is that the background isn’t very interesting. At all. There’s a lot going on and it’s very distracting from the subject. When I stopped and looked at the model in the moment described above, I was standing above her while she was adjusting her shoe. At that angle I could easily crop out the distracting elements and keep the focus on her. I don’t always like to shoot down at subjects but in this instance it worked for me. Sometimes I’ll try shooting from below or even through objects to get something different.

3. Use Sunlight

Shooting in direct sun can be challenging. This was shot at about 1pm in the harshest time of the day. If the model had looked directly at me, she would have had raccoon eyes. By having her look directly towards the sun it eliminated this problem. When shooting in direct sunlight, you have to expose for the highlights when adjusting your camera settings. This will make your image more moody and contrasted, because the darker parts of the image will be even darker. I don’t always shoot this way, but shooting in direct sun can be a great way to change the image up and make it more interesting. You could of course bring your own lighting or use a reflector, which I will use when needed,  but I prefer minimal equipment to shoot fast and on the go.

iPhone Image courtesy of Amber Lizette

Model: Katie Belle

Kelly Lane's picture

Hello, I'm Kelly. I am a fashion photographer based in Atlanta, GA.

I started off 10 years ago shooting weddings. This taught me how to shoot fast and keep my set up simple, which I've adapted into my fashion shoots. I love helping other navigate the world of photography so feel free to reach out!

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Feels even more stuck now...