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!
Lauren played such a meaningful role in our wedding, capturing the day in photos that we'll look back on for the rest of our lives. She kept Scott and me calm and sane - Lauren is a miracle worker! She put in 100% effort and gave us her very best, and that means so much to me. Seeing our photographs makes me so excited and so happy that Lauren was with us on this journey.
We just wanted to say thank you again so much for your amazing work. You were seriously incredible to work with and we loved the locations you suggested for both our engagement shoot and the spots in Stillwater. We were very worried about getting professional photos done since we had never done it before, but you made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable. Thank you!
There was a chunk of time in our wedding planning when we thought we'd go without a professional photographer to save on cost (terrible idea!) but once we met with Lauren, we knew we'd be in good hands. She checked in often and asked questions that got us thinking about other parts of the wedding that we probably would've missed. Lauren captured exactly who we are as a couple!
Lauren and her team are so much fun to work with! She made us feel so comfortable on the day of our wedding, providing both silly and helpful cues to help us relax and be ourselves in our photos. Lauren’s background in dance is super helpful in recognizing simple posture changes that make a big difference, too. Oh, and the photos we got are just stunning!
My husband and I looked FOR MONTHS to find the perfect photographer and after meeting Lauren we knew was the best fit for us. She made our day so much fun and easy. She found little opportunities to make the perfect photo all with a calm ease that comes from someone who has an artistic eye along with experience in understanding the flow of a wedding.
I've been in several weddings and have worked with a multitude of photographers and I never felt as confident as I did with Lauren. I love how professional she is. She helped with the timeline way in advance and we stuck to that timeline the day of. She was also able to professionally and firmly keep unruly family members settled and focused and navigated family drama beautifully!