October 27, 2019

Making the most of a location

Portrait

Working with mediocre locations can be daunting.

Overlooking familiar locations is easy. This is because we are use to only paying attention to things that are interesting and unique.

Doing this, however, can often be at the expense of a potentially great visual idea. It isn’t always about finding places that are unique, but rather making something unique of the common; seeing beauty in the ordinary. When it comes to searching for new locations to shoot portraits, try to see places through the context of a still image.

When it comes to working with locations, I find the end result is often made up of a balance between not just the physical location, but the way light and colour are manipulated by the photographer to elevate the location, and subsequently the final image.

It’s not always the obvious choice either. While a section of your location may visually look the best, try and instead focus on the sections with the most interesting balance of light and shadow, or the most unusual combination of colour. Try everything. 

I've often found that the photos I quickly took at the end of a shoot, or the photos I took ‘just in case’ the others didn’t turn out are the ones I end up using and liking the most. By using every part of the location, even those you wouldn’t have initially considered, you’re not only able to learn about and develop your own style, but you might even surprise yourself when it comes to editing the images.