How to Scout the Perfect Spot for a Photo Shoot

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Scouting for locations has always been one of my favorite parts of blogging.  It usually means a weekly drive out to some new spot with Moxie in tow and discovering some really beautiful sites.  Of all the questions I get about my pictures, “How did you find that place?” is probably the most asked.  I’ve made up a short list of the things I always look out for when I’m hunting for the right spot and I hope you find it as useful as I do!

dsc_0043-2Have a theme in mind.  Think about your style and what types of settings work best to show it off.  I tend to wear a lot of vintage and vintage-inspired clothes, so I love to shoot at old mansions and estates.  I also tend to have a little bit of a fairytale flavor in my outfits, so I play that up by shooting in forests and meadows with lots of color and great lighting.  If vintage isn’t your thing, why not try shooting in the city?  Alleys and urban sidewalks could be great options.

mox and socks modcloth dog dress (4)Match your outfit to the setting.  Of course you don’t have to follow this rule exactly, but I almost always make sure that what I’m wearing makes sense with the location.  I seldom wear heels in a forest; instead, I like to visit mansions when I’m a little more dressed up.

mox and socks modcloth blue bird top pink gingham skirt gray sandals bag (2)Take time to visit beforehand.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of a place where I wanted to take pictures and just went there without planning it out first.  More often than not, I’m disappointed that the site is super busy or doesn’t have a good place for me to set up my tripod.  I’m not saying to never go where the spirit takes you, but it certainly helps to get an idea of your location first.

mox and socks thrift striped shirt modcloth denim shortsThink about the lighting.  If you’re planning on shooting at sunrise, but the spot you have in mind faces west, your pictures are going to be backlit–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (see above!).  Make sure you’re always aware of the position of the sun.

DSC_0587Make lists. In my blogging notebook, I have two long lists: the first is of the places I really liked shooting at and the second is of all the ones I want to try out.  I’m always scanning the Forest Preserve of DuPage County’s directory and looking through nearby towns’ park district websites so I can always find someplace fresh to visit!

What about you guys?  How do you scout locations for your pictures?

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17 thoughts on “How to Scout the Perfect Spot for a Photo Shoot

  1. These tips were great – I really needed them! Your pictures are beautiful and I can definitely see that all the hard work finding locations pays off! I normally scout for location when I’m on the tram or the bus through the city – and I often try to look for places that people wouldn’t normally think of! Will have good use from this blog! xx

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  2. I really like these tips and I definitely need to take more of them into account! I’ve just started making a list of places I like to shoot. Once the weather cools down (if ever!) I am very excited to go out and explore some more. I really need to find some cool mansions to shoot at sometime!!

    Lee – leethrifts.com

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    1. I always like the settings you use, but I’m glad you thought my list was helpful! I hope the weather chills out a little so you can do more exploring!

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