What makes an advertisement or photo shoot successful? You may think this a stupid question; obviously it’s the product, subject or storyline. Well, yes indeed, but none of these operate in a vacuum and they depend on other factors for all around success. One of the essential factors contributing to this success is the setting or location where the shoot takes place.
The right shoot location can substantially boost a brand’s impact, while the wrong location will detract from the brand’s message. The shoot location should subtly reinforce the message that you wish to convey. Matching a product or brand to the optimal location can’t be done on a whim. It’s a lengthy process that requires attention to detail and a firm idea of the direction that your shoot will take. And this is where a location agency steps in.
What Does a Location Agency Do?
A location agency matches the product or brand, and message, to a shoot location. This sounds like a pretty simple task but there’s a lot more involved than you may think. This is why companies and production houses call on professional location agencies like TLG to assist them in finding the perfect space for a shoot.
Most location agencies maintain a comprehensive portfolio of shoot locations throughout the country. This comprises a mix of properties, from industrial buildings to location houses in London and sprawling country locations, and in every type of environment: cities, beach locations, wooded countryside, quaint villages and everything in between.
Clients can browse the database to find the ideal match, or submit a brief to the agency who will then formulate a short list of possible locations. Sometimes hitting on the right location is a slam dunk, but it often takes time and patience to match the brand to the right setting for the desired message.
While the job is essentially to play location matchmaker, location agents act as the middleman in the transaction and give equal consideration to both their clients and the property owners. They handle things like contract negotiations, background checks to ensure that clients are legitimate, and the invoicing process. A full service location agency is committed to working in the best interests of both its clients and its location owners.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Location
So you’ve found the perfect spot for your shoot and you pat yourself on the back for doing it without the help of a location agent. Well done! But when the day of the shoot dawns, you realise that your perfect spot isn’t so perfect after all. Why?
Location agents consider a setting from various perspectives before presenting it to a client for approval. They look at factors that you may not even think to take into account.
- Natural Light – Most shoots take place during the day so having lots of natural light in the space is essential. Large windows and open rooms promote allow natural light to play a central role.
- Access – Although often overlooked, easy access to a location is vital to alleviate any transport hassles. Keep in mind that some shoots necessitate larger vehicles, and narrow, winding roads leading to a location aren’t always conducive to ease of access.
- Parking – Sufficient parking for the crew is ideal. Where this isn’t possible, like in busy city centre locations, your agency can source the closest parking spots.
- Neutral décor – Locations with neutral décor are easier to transform for a shoot than those with a definite colour scheme or lots of furnishings. If the space needs to be cleared, the location agency ensures that a suitable storage area is available.
- Crowds – In the case of a shoot in a public space, your location agency will know the best days and times that this should take place so that the shoot isn’t continually interrupted by passers-by.
- Uniqueness – A location agent looks for those special features that make a location unique, such as a winding staircase, an infinity pool, or a beautifully landscaped garden. They can identify anything that can be incorporated into the shoot set, or provide the perfect backdrop for a shoot.
You may well have an eye for this kind of detail, but a location agency’s experience definitely gives it the edge and enables it to visualise the set scenario.
Types of Locations
No location is exempt from the possibility of featuring in a photo shoot, advertisement or even a film. The brand, product and message depict the kind of location that the shoot demands, be it a luxury penthouse, a two-bedroomed council home, or a retro office space.
Outdoor shoots, while popular, depend heavily on the weather playing its part, and as we know, English weather doesn’t always comply. Public parks and botanical gardens are great spaces for outdoor settings but may require substantial hoop-jumping to get the required permission. To avoid this and ensure a hassle-free shoot, private gardens are often a better option.
Despite the abundance of beautiful shoot locations available, photographic studios remain popular. Location agencies are well-positioned to provide this option as well.
Location plays a vital role in the success of your shoot, and narrowing down your options seems daunting to say the least. Location agencies, like TLG, exist for just this purpose: to provide the best location solution that allows you to focus on crafting the perfect shoot. It’s really that simple.
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