10 TIPS FOR FINDING & MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SHOOT LOCATIONS

A LOCAL AUTO BODY GARAGE

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.

One of the movie theaters that was shutdown during the pandemic
Trash can door at an abandoned Burger King

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.

Law office open M-F
A local restaurant closed on the Sundays

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.

Parking Lot

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.


Sincerely,


Deidra Marie


FAMILY TIME IN BALLANTYNE PART I

Charles and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this past weekend. Oddly enough it doesn’t feel like it’s been a decade of adventures with this dude. I guess time flies when you’re having fun. In any case, we booked a last minute trip to Charlotte, North Carolina for the weekend and decided our little lovebug, Charlee should tag along. Granted she won’t remember anything about this trip, it’s nice to see her happy and I’m just grateful to be spending time with my little family before my maternity leave ends this week coming. Can you even believe it’s been 10 weeks? I know I can’t. So far we’ve spent a majority of time lounging around in our hotel bed, snapping pics, eating, watching television and just enjoying playing with our little Char Char. This was our first time staying at the The Ballantyne Charlotte. The customer service has been awesome, we had the tastiest breakfast and the room is so cozy; I guess that explains we really haven’t left. We were only suppose to stay for one night, but ended up extending our stay to enjoy some more family time.

We up ended doing some thrift shopping late in the afternoon. Then we had to stop by Target to get Charlee some new clothes because she literally messed up every piece of clothing we packed for her. Even with a bib she still manages to get milk spit and whatever else on her nicest outfits. This is life traveling with a newborn, lol. Kind of happy I spent 7 bucks on a pack of white onesies and not hundreds of bucks because newborns are messy messy humans with no regard for clothing preservation, lol. Did I mention Charlee enjoyed every plush pillow in the room? All she wanted to do was lounge on the bed, sounds about like her mom, lol. 😂 I can’t wait until she can talk see we can go back and forth with commentary on our latest Netflix binge watch. Keep scrolling for lounging pics with Charlee.

After many ours of lounging around in bed, playing with Charlee, snapping pics, talking and watching television, we finally decided it was time to eat, so we ordered some cheap Chinese food from down the street. I couldn’t be happier to just be chilling with my little family and enjoying some good quality time. COVID has stopped a lot things from happening in 2020, but one thing it didn’t do was stop me from valuing quality family time, in fact it gave me more time to think about family and how much it truly means to me. Since having Charlee, family time has a whole new meaning these days. It’s about the little things. I use to be all hung up on getting out, doing excursions and exploring the world, but now it’s just about spending time with the fam, getting to know my loved ones on a deeper level and just living life with out time restrictions and distractions. I’m going back to work with a new perspective. My family is everything to me and I want my daughter to feel loved all the time. I want her to know that family comes first and spending time together is a priority in our household. Work is great, hanging out with my friends is great, but my family means more.

Stay tuned for part two of my stay at in Ballantyne.

Till next time friends.

Sincerely,

Deidra Marie


BRIDE VIBES WITH OAK CITY BRIDAL

Before you say anything about me already being married, just know that if I had to do it all over again, I’d be getting my gown from Oak City Bridal. This was by far one of the best bridal experiences EVER, minus the fact that I’m not getting married and this was just a shoot to showcase some of the amazing gowns from the Oak City Bridal Collection. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to get all dolled up with make-up and hair and prance around in pretty white gowns for a day? LOL. 😂

For those wondering about Oak City Bridal, they are a fairly new bridal shop in the downtown Raleigh area. They have some of the best bridal gowns and accessories in town and there is literally something for every bride out there with bridal gowns ranging from sizes 0-30. I was surprised to hear about their size selections as this was definitely not a range you would have seen when I got married back in 2011. Not gonna lie, my own bridal gown shopping experience wasn’t really the best, but I really think I’ve made up for it by trying all these mezmerizing gowns from Oak City Bridal that day.

Every bride wants to look and feel their best and most importantly, brides want to have a comfortable, stress-free bridal shopping experience. I’m almost positive you will get that from Oak City Bridal. I stopped in a day before this fun shoot to get fit for the gowns I’d wear for the shoot and Oak City Bridal owner, Stacia, was the sweetest, kindness soul EVER. She really made me feel right at home, we had great conversation and the shop had an array of gown options for me to try on in my size. Never have I ever been somewhere where I fit almost ALL the sample sizes. When I was planning my wedding, I remember that there weren’t many options in my size. As a curvy girl, with curvy friends, I’m so happy to have found a bridal shop that is inclusive, so I can recommend to all my friends who are getting hitched.

Need I say more?

Now, you know I can’t end this post without sharing the IG handles and contact information for the amazing photography, hair and make-up team. They were a dream and I felt like a queen. It really does take a village, huh, LOL 😂 Check out all the amazing talent that made this day possible at their IG handles below:

Photographer: @arikashelest
Venue: @norris.house
Dresses: @oakcitybridal
Hair and Makeup: @wedded Kiss  (Hair Sarah/ Makeup Nina)
Models: @kgazda6889 @sincerelydeidra @withlove_ema
Till next time.
Sincerely,
Deidra Marie 😊