4 Ways That I Find Photography Locations

Location scouting is a job you do, whether you know it or not. In this video, I discuss the four methods that I often use for finding the perfect photoshoot location. 
When you're the location scout for your own shoot, keep in mind that you are the eyes for the entire crew. There are many others who rely on your detailed information to perform their jobs. Take pictures of things that have little to do with the actual photograph too. Here are some examples:

  • Street Sweeping: This could affect your shoot day and the number of parking spaces available. Take pictures of the signs and do not rely on memory for these things.
     
  • Surrounding Homes/Businesses: Will your production affect a local business or nosy neighbor? Take pictures and collect business data where possible. 
     
  • Restrooms: A small bathroom break could eat up lots of production time if you pick a location without access. Is there a restaurant you can pay for this access? Maybe you get lunch from there, and you're able to use their restrooms?
     
  • Nearest Hardware/Drug Store: There are always items that are forgotten that you'll need to send a production assistant to for a last-minute pick-up. Make it easy for them.
     
  • Nearest Hospital: Protect yourself and others by listing the nearest hospital. 
     
  • The Sun's Location: Take a photo of where the sun's position was during the visit. Do you like it or are there shadows that need to change for a better photograph? 
     
  • Sidewalk Width: Think of rolling racks for the stylist, or a group of people there. You want to have space for all of them, including the local residents. 

Finding some of the important items listed above can really happen in a variety of ways, like online search or even driving there yourself. The video goes through four methods that I currently use depending on the project at hand.

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2 Comments

Some good advice here, I have learned a few things shooting on location.
There are apps the will show you the sun position for any time of any day, one is Photopills and the other is The Photographers Ephemeris. (there are more)They overlay the sun path on a map of your location.
When using Google earth look at the bottom and see what the date it was recorded. Some times things change in a couple years.
If you are shooting without a permit always have a couple back up locations in mind in case you get chased away.
if you get busted chances are you pissed of a neighbor by being obnoxious or interfering with traffic or another photographer called to complain.
There's very small chance the police will show up but if they do don't lie because they have a list of any permitted shoots. Ask for forgiveness and another 20 minutes wrap up the shoot, usually they will give you a break unless you have a big shoot that should be permitted. If you are shooting pretty models you will attract attention.
On your call sheet give all the crew the times, the addresses, the plan, phone numbers and as mentioned the nearest hospital or Doc-in-a-box

Excellent advice. Been there and failed to do that many times. My experience taught me and if I had had your advice then I could have done better sooner.