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Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Photography In Familiar Locations

By Amii & Andy Kauth on May 14th 2016

We’re always stoked to photograph clients in the same locations; in fact, we love it just about as much as getting to shoot in new locations. While there’s no doubt it can be a creative challenge when you head out to the same location repeatedly, but these should be moments to embrace and not to approach with dread (and certainly not avoid)!

That said, here are 5 tips that you can implement immediately to provide a fresh perspective, so the next time you head on back to that oh-so-familiar location, you’ll have no need to fret – you can rock it!

*By the way, all these images are from the same location, one of our favorite spots, Saguaro Lake Ranch.

1. Alter the Time You Shoot

If you tend to shoot at sunset, try waking up early with your clients and get in a shoot at sunrise, or if you tend to shoot in the day, bust out your OCF and get some epic evening shots. We always end engagements at sunset to grab that last epic moment, however, some of our favorite shots have been daylight portraits. Sometimes, the difference is literally “night and day.”

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 640, 1/60 sec., f/4)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/125 sec., f/4)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/50 sec., f/4.5)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/250 sec., f/3.5)

2. Explore Every Last Inch

Every time we go back to a location we’ve already shot, we look for things we haven’t seen before, because who knows? You just might come across something unique or something that really connects with your clients. Go inside a building and give that seemingly insignificant picture hanging on the wall a second look; Look around back and see what might be mounted above a door frame, and why not check out that camper that wasn’t there the last time? Give a knock, and if someone’s home, ask if it’s okay for you to grab a shot. And if it’s empty? Take a bit of a risk and grab the shot anyway!

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/100 sec., f/5.6)

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(D 750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/00 sec., f/5.6)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/100 sec., f/5)

3. Bring Personal Items

Props aren’t really our thing, but we love when our clients make their sessions personal. Do your clients have a talent (like playing the guitar) or maybe a sweet ride that they drove to the location? Making the shoot personal makes for images that your clients will love and will no doubt give you something to be excited about and differentiate a common scene and location.

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 640, 1/50 sec., f/4.5)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/100 sec., f/5)

4. Try a New Technique

Pushing your creativity to the next level is something we, photographers, are always looking to do. You can make any location, even one you have shot at a dozen times, look different and amazing when trying a new technique. Grab a prism, shoot through that scrap of copper pipe left over from your last home improvement project, or create a double exposure.

(Related: HOW WE ROCK A CONVEX LENS)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/200 sec., f/6.5)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec., f/5.6 + D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/4000 sec., f/1.8)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 250, 1/100 sec., f/2 + D750, 50mm, ISO 1000, 1/100 sec., f/1.8)

5. Embrace Your Clients’ Personal “Style” & Think in ‘Session types’

Realistically, no couple looks the same or has the same life situation going on; Some have children (and hopefully bring them with!), while some come suited-and-booted, or ready to roll up their pants and get in the river! And there are various types of sessions you could engage in at locations you photograph regularly: portraits, engagements, anniversaries, elopements, weddings, and so forth, that will all typically give a different look. Connect with your clients and their style, and make it your goal to always produce images that reflect your clients and tell their personal story.

(Rewind: THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING YOUR CLIENTS YOUR BIGGEST FANS)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/200 sec., f/8)

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(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/2000 sec., f/1.8)

Conclusion

Don’t let familiarity be your downfall. When you are confronted with photography in locations you’ve shot often, dig deep, take a closer look, and put in a bit of thought, and remember, your clients have more than likely not had their photographs taken there before, so it’s new to them.

Have you tried any of the 5 tips above? What are some of your ideas that have allowed you to break free from stagnation when shooting in a familiar location? We’d love for you to join the conversation by commenting below or by heading over to the SLR Lounge Photography Community Facebook group to continue the conversation.

Amii & Andy are a wife and husband team of rad portrait and wedding photographers (Sunshine & Reign Photography) who absolutely love life and are generally just stoked! Yeah! When they aren’t photographing or writing and teaching about photography, you’ll find them off on a seriously legit adventure with their little ones, lifting weights in their garage, training jiu-jitsu, refining their archery skills, or surfing every chance they get. And on the rare chance they escape off on a “date night”? Yep! They’ll find a wedding to crash (true fact).

Website: Sunshine & Reign Photography
Instagram: @sunshineandreign

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Daniel Thullen

    Great suggestions all, Andy and Amii. I have to say the shots are all spectacular!

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  2. Justin Haugen

    I used to hate going to the same location too much, but as I prepare to shoot a wedding at a venue that I’ve photographed over 10 times the past two years, I like to think each time I revisit that I’m bringing new skills and a fresh look to the venue. I just realized I’m no even bothered at all about going to the venue today.

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  3. Pye Jirsa

    Great article Andy & Amii, we often shoot a lot of the same locations as well. This is a fantastic inspirational article for our team. Really nice write up and fantastic images as always!

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  4. sam tziotzios

    Great info. That shooting thru the copper pipe just popped up as a new technique by Sam Hurd yesterday. Was wondering how he got that Ring of Fire look. You guys are on top of the hippest and newest trends.

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  5. Paul Empson

    all good.. though remember also that just because the location may be familiar to you, it will possibly be new & exciting for the couple.. they could bring their own buzz & inspiration to the setting & a shot / scene you’ve taken previously.. may be as inspiring to them as it was the first time you took it.

    Feed off their excitement and take inspiration from them, if you’re feeling a little subdued at the location..

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