Same Day Location Scouting  | Transcription

Now, let me just say this. No matter how many times you’ve shot a location, it helps, it always helps to same day location scout. I love it. Just like in the last video when I talked about visualization, and how race car drivers do it and how concert pianists do it, going and doing same day location scouting is a type of visualization, where you can actually see locations and visualize what you’re going to do in these different spots. Here’s what’s going to happen. We do pre-shoot location scouting for several reasons. Number one, it gives us an opportunity to take a look at location changes. We see changes in location like the beach in the tides and the sands. Some of the locations that we shoot look completely different from day to day and week to week, and knowing where the tide’s at, where the sands are at, gives us an idea of what we can shoot.

There’s places at the beach where, when the tide’s high, we literally can’t even shoot, and there’s places that where the tide is low enough, we can actually get in and down like 15 feet below where we would normally be during say a regular or high tide. It gives us an idea of what can actually be done. We can see changes in greenery, in trees in blossom, in more nature environments. Sometimes a scene change is actually needed, because you arrive at a location and you’re like, “Man, this doesn’t look as good as it did last week, because it hasn’t rained for a month.” That’s something that actually we’re dealing with a lot in California, and you can make a location change immediately before the shoot so you don’t waste time during your shoot shooting a location that doesn’t look as good.

We actually did that on one of our recent shoots in Laguna Canyon. We arrived at the location. It looked really brown and just not that great, and we said, “You know what? Let’s shoot at location number two, where it’s a little more green. It looks a little more like the mood board,” so we moved to that location. Also, some location changes, like if you’re working downtown, a lot of times certain areas of a venue, or certain areas in a city, they might be completely shut down, or your favorite fountain is turned off. Once again, same day location scouting is going to help you to notice the changes in that location to help you prevent from wasting time, wasting valuable time, during your shoot.

The next thing, with this pre-shoot location scouting, we can observe different angles, and I’ll be honest. The best way to get different shots, to get unique shots, is to simply walk around, to simply walk around the scene, observe different angles, find different foreground elements, different background elements, different ways to shoot. Pre-visualize what it would look like shooting through a telephoto lens, through a 24-70. Telephoto lens. 24-70. I don’t know. I don’t know what my hands are doing. It’s just kind of like they have a mind of their own. Next, I’m also thinking about the mood board as we’re doing this pre-shoot location scouting. I’m thinking about what type of shots I could do in each of these scenes, and how we could achieve that vision and feel that the client has for the mood board. What angles look their best and what fit the scene.

We’re checking light direction and quality and I love, I love, love, love observing light direction at that particular time, and then also using Sun Seeker or Sun Surveyor on my iPhone. What is that? Well, I simply pull out my iPhone, and it’s a little app that I can pull up, and basically I just place my iPhone into the sky. I have a video where I can see the screen, and Sun Seeker or Sun Surveyor is going to do the exact same thing. Either one of those apps totally works. It is a purchased app, but it’s definitely worth it for photographers. You can sit there and you can basically gauge and glance at where the sun is going to track throughout the scene. Now, why is that useful when you’ve been to a scene fifty times? Because every time you’re there, things might change.

For example, there might be clouds in the sky that prevent the sun from hitting the horizon, or there might be clouds in the sky that make it so that the sun is only visible for a certain piece, a certain chunk, and you can actually see when that’s going to happen. There might be a mountain that you are working in front of, that’s going to prevent the sun from … You might be planning a sunset shoot, and then when you pull up Sun Seeker, you actually realize that, “No, you know what? The sun’s actually going to drop behind those hills before sunset. That means that we can only shoot here maybe until 6:00 p.m. We have to go to another location to actually shoot until sunset.”

It helps tremendously to do these types of things before a shoot. It doesn’t take long either. For an engagement shoot, ten to fifteen minutes is sufficient. Next, by pre-shoot location scouting, we can focus on trying something different. We can find something new and unique in the scene. We can shoot different and challenge ourselves. We can incorporate new gear and lenses. When you arrive at a location that you’ve shot a hundred times before, and you don’t location scout, and your client has their mood board, which is just basically what you’ve done before, if you are basically, well, not really having extra time to go out and location scout, what do you think the default is going to be? What are you going to do by default?

If you’re thinking shoot what you shot last time, shoot what you know works, you’re absolutely right. If you don’t have time to pre-shoot location scout, and you’re shooting a location that you’ve already been to, you’re going to default back to the things that you know work. That means you’re going to keep replicating the same images over and over. Remember how we talked about challenges and pre-shoot location scouting. All of these things are things that are going to help us to get out of any type of creative rut, or to prevent ourselves from burning out. Same day location scouting is absolutely crucial if you want to deliver consistent images for every single shoot, if you want to deliver the best possible images, to match scenes to mood boards, to make sure that your clients are ecstatic, and also to make sure that you are staying creative as a photographer. Hopefully you enjoyed this video. Let’s go ahead and move on to the next one now.


The Initial Meeting

Prepping for the Engagement Talk Through

Engagement Shoot Prep & Communication

Prepping for the Wedding Day Talk Through

Wedding Day Preparation & Communication


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