How To Make Any Location Work For Beautiful Photographs

How To Make Any Location Work For Beautiful Photographs

In photography, especially portrait photography, location is often an important factor to your photoshoot. Your location can add to the overall mood of your image and emphasize the mood you want to convey.

You may think you need the most stellar locations with sweeping landscapes, and dramatic backdrops in order for your photo to stand out, but that's not true. There are often opportunities for beautiful locations amidst ordinary spaces you encounter everyday. The key to recognizing these opportunities is a bit of creativity and vision. 

Below I'll show you 3 images along with their pullbacks and a description of how I turned it into an ideal location. All of these are locations I found while walking/driving around my apartment complex. 

Location 1

Final images:

How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French
How-to-make-any-location-work-tutorial-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French

Pullback of location:

How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French

With this location, I knew I wanted to use the leaves to create layers and depth within the image. I put my subject in the middle of the leaves and shot through the leaves in front of her while also using the layers to block the apartment building situated behind her. I also shot wide open (f1.8 for my 50mm) in order to have a blurred background behind my subject to further disguise the building that was behind her. 

Location 2

Final images:

How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French-3
How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French-4

Pullback of location:

How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French-5

With this location, I knew I wanted the focus to be the blue flowers so I would have to get creative and only show what I wanted my viewer to see. I had my model sit down on a towel amongst the flowers so it looked like she was surrounded by the colorful hydrangeas. With the second image, I had her move to a different spot in the flowers and kneel on the towel, again to give the impression she was surrounded by the flowers. It's all about cropping (whether it's in-camera or in post processing) to make sure the viewer only sees what adds to the story.

Location 3

Final images:

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How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photgrapher-Chanel-French-7

Location pullback:

How-to-make-any-location-work-by-Atlanta-photographer-Chanel-French-6

With the third location, I shot through a piece of glass to add visual interest and creative light to the images. I also shot super close in the second image and filled the frame with my subject so it was impossible to tell I was shooting in front of a random townhouse divider that's only about 5 feet long, or so (I'm terrible with measurements so don't hold me to that haha). 

It's super possible to make any location into a good location for a photoshoot. Just keep an open mind, look for ways to add visual interest, and allow your creativity to flow. 

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