One of the most important aspects of portrait photography is picking a suitable location. Your choice will drive all other decisions about the shoot, including what lighting and props to take, which clothes the subject should wear, and the most suitable poses to use.
Shooting in a studio with a plain background is a popular choice, but it can be expensive, and these types of shots have been done a million times. You can usually get much more interesting, engaging pictures by using your imagination and choosing a more unusual portrait location.
CHOOSE A MEANINGFUL PLACE
It’s easy to choose a portrait location based on convenience. For example, if you live near a leafy park, it’s tempting to use that as your default shooting location. But while this may look attractive, it’s not always the best option.
Select a meaningful location which reflects your subject’s personality. Image by Dustin Diaz.
Remember that every subject is a unique individual, with their own personality. This is what makes them so interesting, and it’s something you should try to capture in every portrait you take. Choosing a suitable location is an important part of this.
Take the time to get to know your subject. Find out about their hobbies and favourite places and incorporate them into your photography. If they’re an avid horse rider, shoot them at their stables; if they love to surf, go to their local beach.
By using a location that means something to your subject, you’ll get much more personal, meaningful photos. As an added bonus, they’re likely to feel more relaxed, helping you capture more natural-looking shots.