Try something new! Don't do the same thing every time. Make it challenging and you'll see it's actually fun. :)
We all know the photographer routine: find a field of grass during "golden hour". Yeah, okay, those are always going to be the ones everyone loves and for a reason! They're beautiful.
That's what everyone else is doing. As a photographer, shooting in the same location or shooting the same content can grow to be predictable and boring... sorry to burst your bubble. SO, my solution to that is to try something new or even difficult. Below are a few of my favorite places to shoot to spice things up! I suggest you try them too for a change of scene. I'm going to share some of my favorite places to shoot and some of the challenging scenarios I've shot in to spice up my editing queue. I hope to make this a series, so stay tuned for more!
10. A field of tall grass
Hey, I know I said it's a typical spot, but it is for a reason. What can I say? If you're a new photographer looking for an easy shot to get your portfolio going, these attract eyes. They're simple, natural, and in the sunset, golden. Everyone likes them for families, portraits, and couple sessions. There's something naturally romantic about feeling like you're running away into the wild in all of it's golden glory. It's for sure a contender.
See what I mean? You get the romance, the effortlessness, the dreamy feeling all in one. It almost does the work for you! Something about the warmth of the sunset on your client and it's like we all just feel at peace.
9. A studio
Everyone loves a good indoor space. There's something about having the ability to shoot no matter the outdoor weather and the creative freedom to recreate the space to look the way you want it to depending on how you're feeling. I've written another blog post about the recent studio session that I did, so if you haven't read that, make sure to go check it out! But if you're looking for a location you can depend on, and the freedom to create with a blank canvas feel, a studio is for you!
This session felt like we were endlessly creating something new. I left feeling exhilarated and inspired. You can do the same at your next studio spot!
8. Rocky terrain
Depending on your location, this may require some travel, but if you're looking for something new, grab your hiking boots or tennis shoes and hit the road! You can get this look at the base of a mountain, along many trails, and even by different bodies of water! Time of year will also differentiate the same location from another session as leaves fall from trees and waters freeze. You also might have to deal with other tourists visiting in the area of your choice, so be mindful of the popularity of the area when you pick your next location. The images below were taken in Big Bend National Park and Fredericksburg, TX.
7. The beach
For where I live, this destination is easy to access and frequently visited. The background is always gorgeous and it always has a magical and effortless feel to it, especially in warmer weather. I put this one here because it's an easier location to get to, but there is one huuugggee con to this location. SAND. And I mean, everywhere. As gorgeous as the photos turn out, you'll be cleaning your car, your equipment, your clothes, and most likely your house for days after the shoot. But if you do it right, it can be worth it!
*something to note*: I am based in Houston, TX and I live close to Galveston beach. It has many great spots to shoot at. I've also flown to Malibu for the other beach session featured here. It's beaches are absolutely magical and top Galveston in every way. If you get a chance to go, GO.
6. The desert
Completely and TOTALLY opposite of the prior listing, the desert offers many different types of landscapes for your shoots. Depending on what type of desert you go to, you can find spectacular backgrounds for your sessions. Some deserts offer large rocks, others have trees and vegetation surrounding the sand, and others sit with endless sand - hills and hills of it. Again, this may require some travel, but I promise it's worth it! One thing to consider with this location is the heat. Depending on when you choose to shoot, you might encounter the sun beating down on you and your clients, so choose your time of year and day wisely! And make sure to bring lots of water with you! Even in the winter, it gets hot here.
5. In the rain
For the next 5 scenarios and locations, I am going to share some of the more challenging ones to shoot in. Lately, I've been pushing myself to shoot purposefully in difficult ways and places to grow my abilities as a photographer. I suggest you do the same! It makes for great progress and stories with friends. In one of these sessions, I called up a friend and we went during a thunderstorm to a local park. We waited for the rain to die down before going out to get soaked, and lightning struck a tree nearby. So, yes the rain is cool to shoot in, but please be safe! The other session was a beautiful wedding that rain came in on the day of. It mostly sprinkled, but with it came temperatures that dropped fast! Being wet and cold is another ballgame on the wedding day. With the cloud coverage with rain, you won't get the golden tones from shooting in clear weather. This allows for a different look in your queue and also gives you the chance to play with different types of lighting.
4. In the dark
Yes! You read that right. IN. THE. DARK. When I say that I was nervous for this session while I was shooting it, I was. But then I loaded everything into my computer and my jaw dropped. There is absolutely NOTHING like the vintage style your camera can produce with an on-camera and harsh flash. I absolutely love it. I've included other wedding shots during the reception that get the same feel as well. If you ever have a chance, shoot in the dark with some friends and pop that flash on. You'll get some fun results!
3. A small space
I know this one is vague, but you'll see what I mean with the photos. In this session, I had planned with my client to drive this retro car out to this gorgeous open area and make use of the entire location. Well, when we arrived, we couldn't get the car to start... so, what did we do? We put the car in neutral and literally pushed it out onto the driveway and made use of that space. The driveway was hooded with trees so the light only came in through the cracks between the branches and the leaves, but we made it work! With a smaller space, you have to be more creative with what your client does to fill it up. The space doesn't do the work for you, so it's a bit more challenging. You might not have the landscape you want to shoot wide, but if you come in close for those portraits, you can even make a not-so-pretty small space really talk through the lens. The best piece of advice I can offer to you for situations like these is slow your brain down. Take in all of the scenery so you can think clearly in your creative space. Shoot through things and add dimension to your photo. Try new poses, shoot in lower shutters, and go crazy. It really is all about how creative you allow yourself to be in the moment of a challenge!
2. A parking garage
This one is a top contender for sure, which is why I've put it at this spot. I like to shoot here for many reasons: In a city area, there are literally TONS of these. They're easy to get to and offer an awesome backdrop behind your subject. Because of the way they're made, the neutral colors of the cement and the iron offer the perfect palatte for the industrial or edgy look, but also offer a blank canvas feel as well. Many garages have multiple floors, and so you have a plethora of options of where to shoot - on the staircase, on the top floor, in an elevator, under the cover, etc. Let your creativity run wild and you'll see yourself and your clients having a blast!
1. An abandoned building
It was really hard to pick a number one for this round of session scenarios! Lately, where and how I've been shooting has made my job so incredibly fun. I've been THRILLED with how the photos turn out and how me and clients just seem to vibe for a few hours together. It really has been such a wild ride this year with everyone. BUT we have reached the end of this blog, and therefore, a #1 slot has to be taken. I chose this session and location as this spot for many large pros, for myself, and for the creative in you that's reading this. If you're in a pinch for an edgy location that costs nothing and for sure is somewhere in your town, this is it. I've travelled to many places, and pretty much everywhere I go, you can find something abandoned - whether it's an old office building or a run-down house, you can find these anywhere! For the clients who want an edgy look and photos that stand out from the rest, you can deliver with a rad gallery here! Another pro: IT COSTS NOTHING. They're in your city, and many are able to be accessed publicly. Make sure to read for signs, but many are wide open to you. Take advantage of this freebie that drops jaws.
And there you have it! 10 personal favorite locations that challenge my photography and spruce up my feed. I plan to share many more locations in the future, so if you have ideas or content you want to see me try, make sure to leave a comment! For all of the creatives out there looking for inspiring locations, I hope this helped give you ideas for your next session. I can't wait to see what you create with it.
If you like what you see, make sure to give this a like, and let me know when you want to work together next! Make sure to stalk me on insta for upcoming content and hit the button below to book your next session. :)