One topic that is one of the most important parts of a session, yet most people often overlook it, is the location of your session. So many times I get asked where and when to be some place, as if the place where you’re getting your photos done doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. In terms of picture quality, that may be true. I could do a shoot inside a McDonald’s if you really wanted me to. What I’m going to be talking about today is how location can change the vibe and meaning of your entire shoot, and why it’s important to pick a place that complements your life aesthetic.
When clients want me to pick a location for them, I always ask the same first question: urban or natural? These two distinct types of locations help me narrow down what kind of look you’re going for in your session, not only in the locations I choose for you to pick through, but also the way I actually photograph your session. Urban locations have more of a glam, modern edge to the way I compose the photograph, while more natural areas I utilize the surroundings more, and give it more of that timeless feel that the forest brings naturally.
In this session, the senior used both a natural location as well as an urban location, and looking at both pictures you can see the difference in composition as well as the vibe and feel of each location.
For the natural location, Brooke chose Priest Pointe Park because it had a personal connection to her growing up. I love when clients find places that have meaning to them as well as being beautiful, because I feel like it adds a certain magic to the shoot. Notice how soft her expression is, and how we utilized the surrounding vegetation as not only framing but backdrop in this photo.
For the urban area, we went out to downtown Olympia, Washington. The dock area of the city is so beautiful, especially at sunset. As you can see, the posing, the facial expression, and the overall composition of the picture is completely different due to the location. The rough edges of the city add a certain sassiness that is not portrayed in the natural location.
Your location depends entirely on who you are as a person. If you were born and raised in a rural atmosphere, it could be off-putting to have your session in a urban setting. The best thing to do is to really think about the feel and style you’re going for with your session, and choose a location that will pull your personality through.