Photographers, influencers and bloggers alike know the good struggle of finding Instagram-worthy photo shoot locations! It’s a skill I’m still attempting to perfect one year later of blogging. If you don’t live in a big, trendy city like LA, you likely spend a lot of time finding great photo shoot locations. It’s a large portion of the work I do every week as I plan out content! While I don’t believe finding photogenic locations will ever become easy, there are most certainly a couple ways to make the process a little less forced. Today I’d like to share with you some of what I’ve learned thus far in how to scout Instagram-worthy photo shoot locations. Hopefully in doing so I may make the planning process a little less stressful for you! At the end of the day, it’s all about lending a helping hand to your fellow creatives. 🙂
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The key thing I’ve learned, is that just about any cafe, street or wall can be photo worthy. What it really comes down to are a couple of factors that I’d like to share with you below. Being able to make just about any location work is one of the ways in which you will be able to successfully location scout. Not every location is perfect but if you know what to look for, you can make almost anything work! If you’re ready to learn how to scout Instagram-worthy photo shoot locations then stick around because I’m about to share all my secrets with you! And if you do happen to try my tips, send me a dm on Instagram, I’d love to see how it works out for you. It’s always amazing to see where creativity takes each person!
1. First things first, define your aesthetic!
Before you can take any photos, it is extremely important that you have clearly defined what your aesthetic is. If you don’t have a particular vibe/color scheme, you won’t know what to look for as you scout locations. When you know what your branding guidelines are, you can weed out good locations from not so fitting ones easily. And when you’re walking around town or driving, locations that would be perfect for you, stick out like a sore thumb. So first things first, map out your aesthetic! Your job will become ten times easier and the process will be a lot less painful!
2. Pay attention when you’re out and about.
My second tip comes directly after you’ve defined an aesthetic! Once you know what vibe and color scheme you’re after, you can now start looking for Instagram-worthy spots. The best way to make finding spots easy, is to always be paying attention to your surroundings. So often we get caught up in our day to day lives and don’t really see our surroundings. To begin finding locations, begin keeping track of cool spots you see around town and take note of them for another day. I can’t tell you how many cool diners, cafes and record shops I’ve found by simply paying attention to whats around me! It’s because of this that I’m always alert driving around town, visiting new neighborhoods or cities.
3. Search everywhere within an hour from where you live.
Okay I need to rant a little.. Guys, stop being so anal about gas. I know gas is expensive and you can’t go on crazy adventures everyday but come on, get out more! Don’t limit yourself to whats only in your back yard. I know not everyone’s like this but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across in life who let gas or other silly things hold them back from exploring more. If you want to constantly find new, cool places to shoot, you need to explore a little! I recommend searching everywhere within an hour from you. Always be looking for new towns and cities! You never know what cool things you may stumble upon in a small town you’ve never thought to visit before. Maybe there’s an abandoned gas station or a gorgeous park just waiting to be found. The truth is, you’ll never know unless you just hop in the car and check it out!
4. Bring props that match your outfit.
Sometimes, you’re not going to have luck scouting a cool spot. I’ve had plenty of days where I got all dressed up for a shoot, went searching for a spot and didn’t find one. However, there’s almost always a way to combat a little issue such as this! If you’re not having luck finding a unique option, this is where props come in! The first thing you need to do in this situation, is find a location that acts as a blank canvas, such as a rooftop parking garage or a white wall.
Then, compile a really rad outfit and bring along a couple props. These props could include anything from flowers, to a guitar, records, vintage cameras or even a rustic chair! And if you don’t have anything like this, you can always utilize whats around you. See if you’re lucky enough to spot a vintage car in the parking lot or go to a grocery store and hop in a cart! Essentially what I’m saying here is that if the location isn’t working out, make it work for you by finding a blank canvas and dressing it up with props and a kick butt outfit!
5. Look at your surroundings through a lens!
My final tip, is to adjust the way you look at things around you. So frequently we think a good location has to be an elaborate diner or a beautiful garden of flowers. We look at the full picture, instead of breaking down a location into smaller pieces, deciding whether or not one corner of that location may look great photographed. The truth is, just about anywhere can be a good place to take photos. What you want to do is make the location work for you, not the other way around. It’s all in how you frame the photo and what it’s composed of.
Sure, an entire home may be super run down and tacky but look a little closer. You notice there’s a bright pink door on the side of the house. While most would dismiss this as a potential candidate for photos, you know better. Don’t pass this house up, use the bright pink door as your backdrop! Plan an outfit that vibes well with that door and you’ve got a golden location! If you take this way of thinking with you wherever you go, you’ll never not have a place to take photos. Just remember, it’s all about how you frame a photo! Be creative in how you utilize the location in front of your camera and you’ll create magic.