Scouting Locations for Photo Shoots

After identifying an object of focus, the next job for a photographer is to determine the right background. Backgrounds provide the proper contrast and allow the cameraman to showcase the object of interest. The shoot location is the common denominator that makes the difference after shooting a similar subject in various places.

There are many tools to change the background of the focused object on an image nowadays. However, the location will determine the success of any editorial work. Where you take a photo will determine the vibrancy and quality of the final output. It is the reason photographers are keen on selecting the ideal place for a particular shoot.

The location of an object will determine the possible number of different angles you can achieve. Outdoor photography makes it easy for you to capture many angles compared to indoor locations.

The Intent

The reasons for the photo session will influence the location for the shoot. Is it to mark a particular milestone? Is it a cover for a magazine? Is it to introduce a new product in the market? The objective must be clear to help the photographer develop unique ideas to attain the intended purpose.

Photos give a story about a place, evoke emotions, or tell the photographer’s personality. Depending on the type of message you want to convey, location plays an integral role.

The story behind the reason for photography allows photographers to select a preferred location that best captures the emotions. The background or object of focus helps to bring out the creativity and produce the required feelings.

For wildlife lovers, capturing events in a split of a second allows us to learn more about what happens out there. For instance, images will help us understand kleptoparasites which is parasitism by theft of prey, better than words in a book. It can only be possible to tell such stories if one is strategic about being out in the wild to wait for the perfect moment.

Images help educate, inform, document, or push for legislative action in advocacy for human rights. Picture of desolate and abandoned places will help communicate the impact of bad governance or war on industries or economies. The right location will help photographers make our world a better place by showing our communities’ adverse effects of vices.

For lovebirds who want to capture important memories in their lives, location is a significant factor. A meaningful photo session will be at a location with sentimental value to them.

If the idea is to produce a vintage piece of art, historical houses or old architectural buildings will do. The beach will be a perfect place to capture the sunset or vacation mood. Areas with lots of greenery will help to bring a natural feel to the photos.


Images communicate to different audiences depending on the photographer’s personality or object in the photo. The personality traits will not only influence the posture but the locations of the photograph.

Most sports lovers have adventurous, fun, and daring personalities. You are likely to find photographers in this category in tournaments, marathons, and adrenaline rush activities. The intention is to capture the exact moment players show off their athleticism.

Board games, puzzles, and card game photography assume an indoor setting. Otherwise, different outdoor games determine the location of photography. Water games such as kayaking take place in rivers while surfing and snorkelling happen along the beaches.

The personality type of your clients will determine the location of photos. For instance, introverts tend to love places that are more secluded to express themselves comfortably. On the other hand, extroverts tend to love sites with many people to attract attention and conversations. Knowing the personality type of your customers gives you a clue on possible places for a photo shoot.


I cannot emphasize the value of correct timing for photography. It is more than just capturing an athlete in mid-air or a cheetah at the brink of capturing a gazelle. The right time will help you to get the best shot you envision.

Many photographers agree that the “golden hour” is the best time for any photo. The golden hour refers to the moment of the day when the sun is a bit low. This situation happens twice a day during sunrise and sunset. The longevity of the hour may vary from place to place, depending on the earth’s rotation.

During the golden hour, the sun has a soft light that reduces the intensity of direct sunlight. This scenario has little contrast and even light distribution making it easy to capture vibrant photos. The shadows tend to be softer and longer for better image dimensions.

Although the golden hour helps to produce beautiful portraits, you need proper preparations and calculations for it. There are mobile apps such as Magic hour that will help you calculate the period for the golden hour.

Time of the day will determine the extent of shadows and lighting effect on the object of focus. Always know where the shadow falls and let it mask unnecessary parts in your frame.

The noontime has harsh un-diffused light that produces flat-looking images. Nonetheless, it is ideal when working with reflective surfaces such as glass or water bodies. At night when there is little or no light exposure, it gets challenging to capture images. However, you can get creative and produce good portraits with the right source of light.

Different places produce various qualities of photos at multiple times. It is crucial for you as a photographer to scout for the right location based on your customers’ schedules. The various timing will help you advise on attire, makeup, and accessories depending on the spot. It is worth noting that the photo session time will determine the kind of camera settings you use.


The accessibility factor is a top priority when scouting for a place for photography. Whereas indoor photography may not be very challenging, outdoor shoots can be complicated.

The nature of a shoot will influence the extent of privacy required at a given location. Public places are accessible to many and make it hard to get secluded scenes for specified shoot themes. Conversely, private areas make it easy to adopt particular shoot themes, especially for couples and models.

Means to get to the location determine the possibility of the shoot or not. Impassable places with rough terrain will force you to look for alternatives areas for the shoot. It is crucial for people on a shoestring budget to establish the feasibility of the site based on accessibility. Distance to the desired location will influence the channel and cost implications of the travel.

Restricted areas can give you the worst life experiences if you have no permit. As soon as you remove your tripod, the authorities will be on your case. Such situations will result in run-ins with security guards and heavy penalties.

Getting special permits will allow you to capture images in restricted areas. You must beware of your rights as a photographer in the country, state, county, or city to avoid landing in further problems.

As a photographer, you must comprehend that not all places open to the public are indeed public places. Shopping malls, airlines, and train stations may be subject to property owners’ rules and regulations.

It is not always that your identified place for photography will be available. Always ensure you inquire beforehand and, whenever possible, make a reservation. This action help avoid frustrations and embarrassment of getting to the place only to find it is closed or at total capacity.

Access to amenities is vital for you and your clients. It is good to note whether a place offers free parking and has a restroom for a change of attire.


At all times, safety should supersede your ambitions of getting the perfect shot. It makes no sense when you go to a dangerous place only to endanger your clients’ lives and yours as well. Photography equipment is expensive, and getting it damaged from poor decisions is a grave mistake.

Before you decide to visit a new place, always research the safety of the site. A dangerous street could make you lose your life or invite gangsters to rob you. Stash your equipment where it is hard to get damaged or stolen. If your instincts caution you about a particular setting, choose an alternative place where you are comfortable.

If you are visiting rather adventurous places, ensure you have appropriate safety gear. For example, using sunglasses will protect your eyes from direct sunlight. Strapping the camera avoids damage in case you trip.

As a safety tip, ensure that you know your asset. An asset, in this case, refers to someone familiar with the place than everyone in the crowd. When shooting professional skiing events, your asset will guide you on the best paths to use. Such information will help you avoid dangers like falling or causing an avalanche.

Whereas great photography is about capturing the extraordinary, do not let your object compromise on safety. Frequently people who want to pull a stunt for their social media platforms – don’t be that guy.

If you are in the wild looking for close-up views of dangerous animals, keep a safe distance. It is wise to use a telephoto lens so that you are not close to the animal. Always carry a whistle to alert rescue guards and bear spray to scare off dangerous animals such as bears.

Beware of your surrounding before using flammable materials to avoid fires causing damage to the environment and valuable properties. Rather be creative and use different LED lights to bring out the illusion of fire.

Use Technology

Innovations in the tech world have entirely changed how photography happens today. As many people get access to the internet and mobile devices, so is the rise in websites and apps for photography.

Many technological tools help you get the perfect shot based on what you envision. These tools contain a database of unique hot spots for photography based on ratings by other photographers or people.

You require to type in the exact words of your location of interest and get results of popular photography areas. Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies enable applications to identify wildlife, mountains, abandoned, and much more.

Google provides a valuable tool called Google Earth that gives you Aerial and 3D views of your area of interest. The application offers satellite imaginations for any place on earth with sophisticated and powerful mapping capabilities. Google Earth makes it easy to visualize vantage points based on time of the day and lighting.

Planning is a crucial element in photography to achieve the best results. It allows you to draw inspiration for the perfect shots to tell the story. Fortunately, technologies allow photographers to scout for the ideal location for forthcoming projects even on short notice.

The use of technologies allows photographers to make the right choice in selecting locations. They provide helpful information in preparation for your photo session with respect to accessibility, cost, and types of photography.


The background of a photograph gives the context of the story behind the main subject. It allows viewers to understand the nature and perspective of the photographer and orients us to the time and place of taking the photo. The background will enable us to connect with the surrounding, events, and framework depicted in the image.

We have learned about the value of having the right location of an image. If you think there is an aspect that has been left, feel free to share it with us. Tell us how the location has impacted your photos.

Shoot Locations

The Location Guys take all the hard work out of scouting locations, send us your brief and we will find that perfect location for you.

Representing locations in London and throughout the UK for use in the photography & film industry.


Related Articles


    Newsletter Signup

    To register for future location updates please complete the form below. If you’d like to submit a property please email