Travel Photography: Tips for Location Scouting

Shooting on-location or while traveling may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the territory. Perhaps you have a certain vision in mind or your client does or you’re on a tight deadline and you need to make the most of your limited time. Don’t fret. Today I’m sharing scouting locations tips for the day before the shoot that will help produce excellent photography.

 This is a photo before edit taken in Lost Dutchman State Park, Phoenix, AZ.

This is a photo before edit taken in Lost Dutchman State Park, Phoenix, AZ.

#1 Lighting & Weather: Be sure to research sunrise time, sunrise position in the sky, and the weather conditions the day before. The natural light, angles, and shadows can have a profound effect on your shoot depending on what look you’re going for.

#2 Location & Safety: Especially if this is a new location for you, specific location and safety scouting is a MUST the day before. And go in-person. While today’s boundless technology affords us the opportunity to a lot of “scouting” digitally, it’s always a good idea to scope out the area personally before committing to your shoot.

#3 Framing & Composition: With all the possible unknown issues that come along with shooting on-location (verses in a perfectly lit, familiar studio setting), it’s only in your best interest to determine framing and composition well in advance. If at all possible, don’t leave it to the day of the shoot!

 This is the same photo from above after the edit; Lost Dutchman State Park, Phoenix, AZ.

This is the same photo from above after the edit; Lost Dutchman State Park, Phoenix, AZ.

#4 Equipped & Prepared: This may sound like common sense, but sometimes life becomes so routine we forget the small (but important) things and that’s when we find ourselves in a bind. When it comes to finding the right location for your shoot, factor in the need to be equipped and prepared. Make sure you have formatted memory cards, that your batteries are charged, and that your tripod head is in place.

With a short list of tips like these checked off, nothing can stand between your lens and the perfect location.