Unless you’re a seasoned photographer, you might not realize all of the important little details that go into planning and booking a branding shoot location. In fact, the reason this blog post even came about was because after one my branding sessions, my assistant said to me “Wow, I didn’t even realize everything you have to consider before picking a place to shoot!”
So, whether you’re a photographer or a client, I hope you find these tips helpful when it comes to lining up the perfect location. Here are 7 things that I take into account before booking a branding shoot location…
1. Budget and price
The first thing to consider is the budget for the location. If there’s no room in the budget to book a Peerspace or Airbnb, there’s no problem with that. As Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!” and explore the free options in your area. Beaches, parks, outdoor malls, coffee shops, or even your house!
If there is room in the budget to book a space, figure out what the maximum price point is and filter your searches so it doesn’t go above that.
2. Does the location coordinate with your brand and style?
Choose a location that makes sense for the brand. Examples:
3. Time of day
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Think about where the sun will be and where it will hit your location. When I’m checking out locations for a client, I will literally look it up on a map and see what direction we’ll be facing so I can judge where the sun will be hitting.
For example, I had a client in November and we wanted to book this mid-century/boho house in Long Beach. The house was facing the ocean and there were lots of windows in the house. The home owner also mentioned that the light comes in pretty evenly throughout the day. So, I booked the location from 1-3pm because I felt that time-frame would give us the prettiest lighting.
4. Natural lighting
On that note, consider how much natural lighting the location will get. You might see a house you LOVE on Airbnb, but if there aren’t any windows and no natural light is coming in, it’s not going to work! Make sure the location gets lots of light if you’re planning to shoot inside.
5. Options for variety
Whether you’re planning to shoot at a coffee shop or a house location, think about set options you’re going to have. Before you make any decisions, visualize in your head the different areas you’ll be able to shoot in. Although each shoot differs based on the client’s end goals, I would suggest you need at least 3 different areas to shoot MINIMUM. Any less than that and it’s going to be a challenge to create variety.
For example, if the coffee shop is small, you could maybe shoot at a table inside, in front of a wall, and one spot outside. Is that going to give you enough variety? Or do you need more? If you think you need more then consider a different location.
I’m writing this post during COVID-19, so I realize crowds might not be a thing to consider at the moment, however they’ll be back someday (hopefully soon). You obviously don’t want a bunch of people interrupting your shoot or passing by behind right? So take crowds into consideration before booking. If you know you want to shoot somewhere that will have crowds, like the beach or an outdoor mall, pick the best time to avoid them!
You should always assume that if you’re shooting somewhere public or in a state park, you will need a permit. Better to be safe than sorry right? Permits can range from free to $1,000, so it’s important to factor this in before booking. If you’re unsure whether a location needs a photography permit or not, just Google it!