People spend a lot of time on what to wear when taking their portraits. That is important, absolutely! However, people don’t always put nearly as much thought into where they’ll be photographed. Instead, they default to taking their pictures indoors at a studio, with fake backdrops behind them. Often the background is flat and boring, typically black or gray. That’s fine, and the pictures come out fine. But the big question is, why do that when you don’t have to? Backdrops are fine for school photographs, but you do have other options! There are so many great places that will provide a better background and utilize natural light. Keep reading and I’ll explain.
First, ask your photographer if he or she has any ideas. They have probably done this before, so they may have locations in mind that would be great for your photo shoot. They may have relationships with business owners and have access to shoot in places that you would never think of. If you have a place in mind, share that as well. There might be permits required or lighting issues that will need to be resolved. You can also check your photographer’s portfolio to see if there are any locations they have used previously that you like and might be available for use again.
Second, keep an open mind. I once had a couple who insisted on taking their pictures in the parking lot where they had their first date. That seemed like a bad idea, but they were so sweet and insistent that I decided to check it out. I went in the early evening and the lighting was just incredible. There was a beautiful old lamppost there as well. I had them pose underneath it and you don’t see the parking lot at all! They look like they are in an old musical, so happy and in love in their photos. I’ve actually even brought other clients there!
Third, everybody looks better in natural light. It’s just true. I can diffuse the light in the studio and make it softer, but the lights are hot and people start to feel it right away. And if you can get your pictures done at the “golden hour” of the evening, your photos will naturally look soft, golden, and beautiful. There’s no way to recreate that, no matter how many tricks I try. So that’s something else to keep in mind.
Of course, if there is bad weather or too hot or too cold, you might be better off indoors. A skilled photographer will make just about any location work for photographs. It’s about you, after all. What you want and what will make you proud to hang on your wall for years to come. Keep your mind, and eyes, open when thinking of places to shoot and you will have some beautiful results.