Unless there’s an area with special significance to you, choosing a location for your portrait session can be daunting. So daunting that you might tell your photographer to choose one for you.
While some photographers might like to have that much freedom to pick a location, I personally prefer to have a smidgen of input from my clients – call it collaborative planning if you will. I want to know the vision and vibe my clients have in mind before I send them a few location suggestions.
If you’ve booked – or are planning to book – a portrait session for yourself, your high school senior, or for your family, these questions will help you hone in on the desired vision and/or vibe of your portrait session.
What is a location?
First thing’s first. What is a location? You might think it’s a silly question but the word “location” doesn’t always mean the same thing to different photographers. For me, a “location” is defined as, “a place where one must drive, bike, or bus to.”We may walk to a several different spots while we’re at a location but it still counts as 1 location. However, if we have to get into a vehicle to go to a new spot, in my book that’s considered a new location.
What kind of background do you prefer?
The beauty with photography today is that we can do it anywhere. So you’ll want to figure out the kind of background you want for your portraits. Do you want to be surrounded by nature? Do you love the colors and textures of city buildings? Do you want a clean background found in a studio? Do you want to stay at home because it’s where you feel most comfortable? Even if you don’t have a specific location preference, you’ll probably have a preference between nature, city, studio, or your home backgrounds.
What kind of vibe do you want for your portraits?
The “vibe” is the overall feel of your photographs. Do you want golden sun that will make you feel warm every time you look at them? Do you want to go on a hiking adventure? Do you want cozy, snuggly indoor photos with a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite boozy drink? Do you want to go all out and rent a dress from Rent the Runway? The vibe you want will help you and your photographer determine where your session should be.
Taking some time to think through your answers will help you determine the kind of location you have in mind. And if those answers make you think of a specific location that’s great! If it doesn’t that’s totally cool too. Send your thoughts and answers to your photographer so she can help select a location that fulfills your desires. In my experience, when clients have some ownership over their portrait session location, the more invested they are in their photographs and coincidentally, the more invested they are the more they love their photographs!