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January 13, 2010

Picking Out a Good Photo Shoot Location

Location, Location, Location.  There are a lot of elements that go into a photo shoot and picking a good location is probably one of the biggest (unless you are shooting in a studio of course).  So here are a few things to consider when you are deciding on a good location for your shoot.

One of the coolest parts about doing a professional photo shoot is to pick a location that suites your personality (or your family’s personality).  Start taking inventory of some the unique traits that you display and think of places that you would consider “fun” and that you can envision some of the shots you could take there.  Think outside the box a little and start taking a look around you a couple days before you even call your photographer with ideas.  Most of us don’t take the time to simply look around while we are on our way to work or to go just down the street to your favorite café.  Usually there are a ton of venues right under your nose.  Don’t rule out urban areas either…a classic movie theater or a tight alley way with graffiti make fore great backgrounds.  Make a list of at least 3 different options and take a second to notice what time it was when you checked it out.  Lastly, it is nice to find a spot that compliments you and your personality…but it can be super FUN to find a place that directly contrasts (ie. Formal shots in an industrial area, etc).  San Diego is a big place…take some time to check it out a little.

Before you get too attached to any shot in particular, run them by the photographer you would like to take the photos.  Often times, the photographer may know of the location you are refereeing to and any sort of hiccups associated with it like permits (Quail Gardens requires one), parking, and most importantly (from their perspective) lighting issues.  They are a great resource themselves and may come up with an idea that expands on what you are looking for.  Either way, it is always a good idea to communicate with the photographer as much as possible.  That being said, coming to him or her with ideas of your own will simply add to the artistic synergy.  Get invested in the shoot and you will be amazed by the results.

Below are a few examples of a fun shoot with a unique location (click on thumbnails to see full image)


  1. A great look into the picking of a location. Key ingriedient is fun!!! Thanks Jake. Comfort goes a long way with your subject. Make it pop. Keep it interesting.

    Comment by Brad — January 16, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

  2. This is an excellent article. Thanks for the information.
    Andreeas Knij
    Photo Video Chicago LLC
    246 North Pulaski Road
    Chicago Cook, IL 60641

    Comment by andreeas knij — February 6, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  3. I was actually in search of a blog post like this that would shed some light on finding new locations for when I am not shooting in my studio.

    Do you know of any really good spots in San Diego?

    Thank you.

    Comment by San Diego Photographer — February 22, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  4. Thanks for the comment and I am glad you like the article. Depending on the type of look you are going for, there are some great locations. Good start is Chicano Park downtown…it is under the bridge and has a ton of artistic graffiti. Also, one of the all time best beach locations is Windansea and the surrounding area in La Jolla…probably one of the prettiest beaches around and easiest to access. Have fun!

    Comment by admin — March 3, 2010 @ 7:44 am

  5. Hey Brad, thanks a lot for the post and I completely agree with you…gotta have fun!

    Comment by admin — March 3, 2010 @ 7:45 am

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    Comment by business finance software — August 10, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  14. I constantly found myself asking my friends where to shoot. When looking for a free repository of shoot locations that can be locally searched I was really frustrated. Nothing seemed to meet my needs so I threw up a website for photographers to share there local spots. I called it shutterspike.com

    PS this isn’t spam, I am really a photographer trying to make the world a better place.


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