Tips For Choosing The Perfect Location For Your Senior Portrait Sessions
How do you pick locations for you senior sessions? I get this question a lot! I personally like to pair my seniors with a location that matches their personality or the vibe they want for their session. There are a couple of things I do to narrow down choices and then we look at two or three to decide which one speaks to them the most!
Here are my top five location tips:
- Get to know your seniors and the vibe they are wanting! My favorite question that I ask is "The sky is the limit, tell me what the most epic senior photo of yourself would be. Now describe it in detail!" More times than not, we either nail it or get pretty close. And it helps to understand their vision, so you can base additional questions around this. Ask them silly, quirky questions to get to know them, what kind of music do they like, favorite activity. I try to keep it pretty casual and not like a creepy interview, lol. Would you rather questions actually tell you a lot about somebody!
- Do your research! This generation of seniors are all about being unique! Which means that you can't rely on the same 3 locations that you are used to using. Make sure you have a good 𝟕-10 locations that are close by your area, but provide enough variety to give different looks and vibes as you explore that location. Need some inspiration? Check out my blog on my favorite local session locations HERE. But when in doubt, scout it out! I drive around a lot looking for new areas that will work.
- Keep notes on locations as you drive by them. I use my notes app, but you could always use Google docs. Whenever I drive by a place that I think could be fun, I capture the location and why it made the list. Also make a note of the time of year, in case it is season dependent.
- Ask other senior photographers where they shoot (some might not be forthcoming-but I am, so you can always ask me)! It never hurts to ask, right?
- Challenge yourself by trying out locations. Grab a senior that you have shot before (or a friend...but try to keep it in the age range) and do a shoot to try it out! This lets you narrow down the best times of day to shoot there and to dial in any other factors, allowing you to feel more confident.
A couple of other things to keep in mind when choosing a location:
- Light! Light is key to photography, so know where that sun is setting. And when the best time of day is to shoot at that location.
- Seasons play a role too! Want those fall leaves? Then look for locations with deciduous trees and then book during peak leaf season. And always have a rain plan! Sometimes that means an indoor studio during the winter months.
- Make sure the location is safe and that you are practicing Leave No Trace principles. Ensuring your seniors are safe is key, I mean without it you won't be in business long, amiright? As tempting as it is to cross that "do not cross" rope, don't do it. Challenge yourself to get those "epic" shots for the Gram in a safer location. Also, do not go in areas that will damage or destroy the area. Not only will you ruin it for everyone, but we, as photographers, have a responsibility to do our part in keeping this Earth gorgeous.
- Driving time between locations. This can directly impact your shooting time, so make sure that you account for it.
- Always have a plan B. Even for locations that you shoot at consistently, have a back up. I can't tell you how many times I have showed up to a location to find it closed, a fire has started, a wedding is there, etc. When you already have a back up location, it is super easy to pivot.
Hopefully this helps you start finding those epic locations that will only enhance your senior sessions more! Need some inspo on posing? Check out my post on 11 Poses to Make Your Senior Photos Awesome!
Ready to take your senior photography business to the next level? Reach out about mentor sessions! I have several options, so let's work together to see which one will benefit you the most! YES, MENTOR ME!!!