I’m lucky with my photography. It’s almost all on location, but I mostly get to choose the location myself. They’re places I’m familiar with, that I’ve scouted regularly for several years. So I know what to expect when I show up, where the light’s going to fall at different times of day or year. For a lot of photographers shooting on location, though, you’re often in locations you’re only just seeing for the first time.
Photographer and YouTuber, Rob Hall, recently shot a wedding at a venue in another state he’d never been to before. But the first thing he did when he arrived at the location was to go and location scout the area. In the 8-minute video, Rob talks about how to do that and why it’s so important.
Location scouting, particularly on a time crunch, is a very useful skill for a photographer who’s regularly shooting in random locations to have. I find it to be invaluable for my own photography and I go scouting for new locations of my own at least once a month or two.
For me, location scouting allows me to plan ahead so that when I go shoot there for real, I already know what gear I’ll need – most of these places are a 30-60 minute walk from where we can park the car, so we don’t wanna carry too much gear, heh. My only real stress on the day is the weather. And it’s all repeatable stuff, worst case, we come back another day.
For you, as perhaps a wedding or event photographer, you may not have that option. So location scouting, even if just a quick 2-minute run around the venue, allows you to keep various options in the back of your mind while you’re shooting, so you know which locations you want to shoot, instead of figuring it out as you go and then finding some really awesome view right at the end after you’re all done.
In the video, Rob talks about some of the things he looks out for when location scouting a new venue. They’re different from the things I’m looking for in my locations. So, don’t think Rob’s list is a cold hard standard for everybody. It’s not. But you can take the same principles, adapt it to what you like to shoot or your chosen genre or style of photography, and then get scouting.