Hi all! I know it’s been a hot minute. I’ve been focused on work. I got a new job and it’s a bit time consuming, so I haven’t had much time to post anything on the blog lately, but I’m happy to be back and sharing a few of my tips and tricks for finding shoot locations and making the best of any location. One of my favorite things about creating content is finding the beauty in my city and making it come to life on camera. For those following along on Instagram, you may have seen my IG reel of my favorite shoot locations for 2021. All the locations I’ve highlighted are right here in my city and all are so unique. So I’m dishing all the deets on how I find the most colorful places in my city and how you can make the most of the locations available to you.
THINK ABOUT YOUR AESTHETIC
The most important thing to remember when seeking out shoot locations is your aesthetic. Believe or not, I’m often drawn to these amazing neutral Instagram feeds I come across. The whites and tans of these influencers pages draws me in on another level, I appreciate the look and feel of a muted or neutral page yet as you all know, color is my jam, so when I’m on the hunt for a shoot location, I’m always looking for color. It can be a colorful wall or colorful car or door, no matter what, there is color at almost all of my shoot locations because simply put, that is my aesthetic. I occasionally, veer from color for some posts, but there is beauty in consistnecy and what’s constant for me is some form of color in all that I do, also, I think your audience will appreciate knowing what to expect when they visit your social media pages.
DRIVE AROUND A BIT
I’m always out and about and I’m always looking for dope locations to shoot, which is why my husband does most of the driving when we go out, he knows I’m scanning for new shoot locations. Grab a friend or a family member and just ride around your city. This is how I get my inspiration. For me, this is most effective when I just drive and I’m not looking for anything specific. Just drive around and wait to see something that moves you. If it’s a place you can shoot, aligns with your aesthetic and if you’re an influencer or seeking a location for a brand shoot and it aligns with what the brand is asking for, I say go for it. Some days, I find absolutely nothing, others days, I find the perfect location. Pro tip: when you’ve spotted a location you love, take a pic and if you can jot down the street address or get a landmark do so! This is helpful if you’ve found multiple shoot locations during your outing or if you just have horrible memory, LOL. The photo below was a lumber yard my photography friends and I spotted on the way to shoot a wedding a few years back. I snapped a pic of the location and kept it in case we had time to stop and get some content for our separate photography pages.
GO FOR THE UNEXPECTED
If you’ve seen my most recent IG reel, then you know most of the locations I shoot at aren’t so pretty and that’s okay. I love that challenge of taking the not so pretty locations and showing people how you can really transform this location into something worth looking at. All that said, when scoping out new locations, be open minded, envision yourself shooting in that location and ask yourself, are there ways I can shoot this to make it pretty. That may be holding the camera at a different angle or taking a little extra time during editing to retouch the trash or parking lot lines out of the shot. That could also mean wearing outfits that help the location look better or outfits that compliment the shoot location so it looks very intentional. Whatever the case may be, don’t be so quick to overlook a location. Really take some time to see how you can make a location work in your favor. Case in point, the photo displayed below which was taken at an abandoned brewery just down the street from my house. The location was blah, but I had on a funky striped outfit to really balance it out. Pro tip: Shoot your photos vertical to block out any unwanted objects or subjects you don’t want in your shot. Also, play with angles, have your photographer shoot the wall your posing up against at an angle or position yourself far up or down for uniques perspectives. Sometimes, how it’s shot makes more of a difference than where it’s shot.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ABANDONED LOCATIONS
For my camera shy bloggers/influencers, abandoned locations are just the ticket for you. My city is going through a major revitalization process right now, not to mention, some locations are still closed because of the pandemic, so I’ve taken advantage of this by shooting in locations I’ve always wanted to shoot at that I couldn’t pre-pandemic because it was always crowded. Case in point, the local movie theater in the image below. I also love capturing images at abandoned buildings. Case in point, the orange trash can door of an abandoned Burger King turned Hube Bowl now Gym Tacos joint.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WEEKENDS
I create most of my content on the weekends, mostly because I work during the week, but also because that’s when most businesses are closed and I can use their location for content shoots. Block off some time during the weekends and scope out some areas in your city that only operate on weekdays or find locations that operate on just a few weekdays and head out there for a shoot on their off days. When I had my baby, I had to get real creative with timing and when I could shoot and since she goes on shoots with me, I had to make sure parking was okay or it has to be somewhere where I can park my car, shoot and still watch her from a short distance. Lately, I’ve been shooting at auto body garages and food joints that only operate on the weekdays. The image below is a cute little law office in downtown that has pretty easy parking and is closed on the weekends. I can watch Charlee from my car while I get a few content shots, so I shoot here regularly. Think about your needs and things that may limit you, this will help you choose your locations wisely and it’s a great way to plan ahead.
CONSIDER A PARKING DECK
I love a good parking deck shoot, especially shooting content on the top part of the deck. Most of the time you can find open space to shoot content and it’s a fresh perspective on content. My favorite thing about parking deck shoots is that you can shoot in different parts of a parking deck that all look so different. You can shoot on the inside, at the very top or on the sides of walls or on the outside parts of the parking deck. This is great for shooting bulk content where you want to make it look like you’re in a different location for every shoot.
PROPS ARE A GAME-CHANGER
Sometimes the only thing missing to make the location feel like it’s the appropriate place for you to shoot is props that spruce up the photo and tie your concept together. I often use props at locations to really help drive the point home about what I’m trying to say. If your location isn’t speaking loud enough to get the point across about the vibe and mood you’re going for, then props are a great way to help out in that respect. I’m a firm believer that your images should speak before your captions do and an easy way to do that is with a little help from some handy dandy props. Props make a photo fun, engaging and are a way to accent your location and communicate the message you’re trying to convey.
CHECK OUT YOUR LOCAL PARKS
People know me for my colorful content and my ability to find a colorful wall, but I also love my local parks, parks are full of natures color and bring a nice earthy vibe to my feed when I get bored with colorful walls. If you’re wanting to keep it colorful, you can still do a park and dress in very colorful clothing to maintain that colorful aesthetic.
LOOK FOR MURALS OR LOCAL ART
Murals and local art are great backdrops to really spruce up your IG feed and no one mural is the same. My city has an ongoing partnership with local artists to highlight their work in various areas painted around the city, its a great way to promote local artists and capture some dope shots. Check your local city website and see how they are supporting local artists in the area or go to your local art museum and see what type of art backdrops they have available for you to take pictures with or near.
USE CLIP ART
Sometimes the locations you have available to you in your city have absolutely no redeemable qualities. When that happens, I usually just find a very plain Jane backdrop (i.e. a solid colored, a brick wall or a garage door) and add some clip art to spruce it up. I’m currently using the PicsArt app for all of my art images. Peep the pics below to see how I spruce up a blank or not so pretty wall.
I hope these tips and tricks on shoot locations were helpful to you. Remember, location is everything, but it’s all in what you make it. Get creative, don’t be afraid to shoot in not so pretty locations and always remember your niche and aesthetic and you’ll never go wrong.
Till next time.