Learning the Land by Location Scouting - How to Turn a Simple Walk into Pre-Production on your Next Shoot! / by Zack Smith

I keep a little black book. Well, it's a small yellow "pad" application inside my iphone that keeps all of my Locations and Notes as I drive and walk from job to job, studio to home and coffee shop to coffee shop. I am always looking for unique environments to serve as backgrounds and layers for future shoots. As you may have been reading this photography blog (which I have had here since 2006....!) I do feel my purpose is to help others around me in the photography community, but there is ONE thing I don't share too much of: my locations. I have always felt that learning how to use strobes, how to pose portraits and edit in lightroom are skills that can be learned over time. Some learn it faster, some take more time. Finding the right location, and especially the perfect background for any subject's story, I feel is the one part of the creative photographic process that evolves even slower. It's tough to teach since it's so personal. 

There are a few techniques I can share with you about Location Scouting for your next photoshoot, and it's an easy one.

I suggest to portrait photographers to always snap photos of your locations and share them with your Google Drive or email AS SOON AS YOU CAN! I don't know about you but I always am inspired at the wrong time...either I am late and driving somewhere, I don't have a camera on me, or the light just isn't right. Well, that's the point of documenting a location by any means necessary. No matter if the light isn't just perfect, or your idea is not fully formed, you have the location logged either by photo or a written description. Here are some photos I have taken with my "location scout hat" on...you never know what you might find on walk Learning the Land...

Click on the Photo to Expand and Learn the Technique!