Location, location, location! Yes that is true to a point, as it's not always about location, but a few other things you need to consider when scouting.
I would reframe it to - Location, Lighting, Timing!
In the past I've learnt that preparation always goes a long way in wedding photography, I've certainly learnt from past mistakes, and have come to realise the importance of being prepared in advance.
Having a plan of attack gives you so many positives! Let me share with you some of my tips to help ensure your wedding day photo sessions goes smoothly, of course there's always no guaranteed everything will go with out a hitch but it sure makes your job a lot more easy.
The location can often make or break an image, so finding a great one for your clients is a big deal. But location scouting can get a bit tiresome. You just need to reset your mindset, and suddenly it becomes way more awesome and valuable…
Turn scouting into a 'photowalk'!
A photowalk is simply walking around, taking photos at each location spot. This gives you a chance to see how the lighting and images look, and if it works, often just seeing the location without taking photos can be the difference. Include your bride & groom in the photo, get them to stand where you would likely to position them so you both will have an idea of what it will look like, testing composition, lighting and location, almost like a rehearsal.
Location scouting is a perfect opportunity to whip out that camera, and take some shots. Best of all, it’s going to make your location scouting, and your photography, stronger!
Here is how,...
When you’re actively shooting during your location scouting, you’ll force yourself to slow down, walk it out, and pay attention to the details. You’ll end up finding more opportunities, and know the area better because you’ve taken the time to shoot it already. This will translate into better photos of your clients, since you’ll be more confident with your location!
Get Better Compositions
Even when you’re taking portraits, you need a strong background composition to create an engaging image. If you can practice those compositions without your clients, it will be super easy to just pop them in when you’re actually shooting!
Learning composition requires a lot of simple practice. Get out there with your camera, and find a way to create an interesting image out of apparent chaos.
So shooting the spots during your photowalk, and finding the great compositions at that time, will make it extra easy and awesome when it’s time to throw in your subject!
A great location starts with great light. I't not enough just to guess that the light will be nice, but aren’t totally sure. Or you might just forget to consider it all together.
If you’re forcing yourself to actually take photos during your scouting, you’ll have a far better understanding of how the light will actually look on camera.
A key here is to try to scout at the same time you’ll be shooting. Light is so variable throughout the day, you’ll want to give yourself the best idea of what it will really be like during the shoot.
As mentioned in tip 1 by having your Bride & Groom with you, stand them in the spot while taking the photo, you will get a better look at how the light will look on them.
Timing is an important factor when considering different locations and spots. You have to be realistic when planing the amount of time you will spend on each spot. Allowing for travel time and walking distance . Every minute counts, and you don't want to be spending most of your time in travelling to long distance from one spot to the next.
Ideally it's great if the photos are all in one area, but if you have to travel by car or foot, just consider it will eat up on your photo session.
Why preparing for your wedding shoots are the best way to get the best out of your time.
Ideal time I would prefer is 2 hours, but most often that is not the case, I've had as little as an hour to work with, so planning and timing is a must!
I've got examples of photos from my recent location scouting. I have the lovely bride + groom Josiah + Zipporah with me scouting. As you can see I have taken photos in different location spots including them in it, to get a sense of the location, lighting and compostion, and have gone through with them the timing.
It's also a great way to get to know your clients more, just to have fun, laughs, and most importantly to equip them and to add to your portfolio and training.
So it's all positives!
N a u n a x