The importance of scouting a location
Updated: Jul 22
LOCATION: Conestoga Country Club, Lancaster County, Pa.
EQUIPMENT: Canon 5D Mark IV | EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | FJ Westcott FJ 400 strobe | FJ Westcott Octa L box with silver interior, beauty dish, no diffusion
THE STORY: If you're thinking about getting into portrait photography (and, honestly, any genre of photography), then here's one singular important lesson that's going to elevate your portfolio.
And your experience as a photographer.
Ready? It's profound but simple.
Show up to your location early.
If you plan to shoot a portrait at 6 p.m., so up to the location at 5 p.m. And I believe that to be true even when the location is some place that's familiar.
Light changes. It changes throughout a day and it changes throughout the year, so that the sun at 8 a.m. in May is different than it is in March.
And, you never know when inspiration will cause you to rearrange your plans.
That's what happened when I had a high school athlete portrait session scheduled for an early Spring evening at a local golf course.
The original plan was to begin shooting at one of the tees. But then, I showed up early, and changed everything.
When I arrived an hour before the shoot, I spied this bridge that was perfectly placed at an angle to allow a sunburst in the backdrop (plus a wide blue sky).
The challenge, though, was to find a way to create this portrait in a way to keep a God-awful maintenance shed out of the shot. That was no easy feat.
But because I arrived early, I could plan it with enough time before the client arrived, making their experience nice and easy.
A few practice shots, a few experiments with angles and focal length, and I knew we'd nail this one.
Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer from Lancaster, Pa. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.