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
First tip: 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.”
(D750, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/125 sec., f/4)
(D750, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/50 sec., f/4.5)
(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!
(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/100 sec., f/5.6)
(D 750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/00 sec., f/5.6)
(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.
(D750, 50mm, ISO 640, 1/50 sec., f/4.5)
(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)
(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/200 sec., f/6.5)
(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec., f/5.6 + D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/4000 sec., f/1.8)
(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.
(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/200 sec., f/8)
(D750, 50mm, ISO 100, 1/2000 sec., f/1.8)
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.