We live in such a diverse world full of dramatic scenery, bustling cityscapes and iconic wildlife that the appeal of shooting on location as a product photographer continues to grow. No matter whether you work in fashion, food or jewellery photography, finding that perfect location to shoot will generally dictate the success of your project.
To some, it may seem relatively easy to think about nice places to manage a photoshoot but the reality for a professional product photographer is very different. There are a great deal of factors to consider when scouting out new locations and we’ve put together some of the top tips to help when going through this process.
In our professional lives, it is often comforting to stay within the local area using those places you know well. This makes sense as you will be more confident and feel that you can deliver the shots you need for a client. However, this will limit your options as a product photographer and may actually deny you to chance to find more beautiful, more effective backdrops for your latest work.
Do some research online about locations further away from your home or office. Think about the types of locations, and feedback from other professionals working as product photographers and make a shortlist. Always remember to connect the location to the product, for example, if you’ve got a jewellery photography project then what story do you wish to tell and how will that location help you to do that?
We live in a digital age full of apps, maps and online services so why not take advantage? The vast majority of the locations you will want to use have been visited before and will be well-documented.
Make sure that before you set off on your product photographer scouting mission your phone has key information like the address, contact numbers etc, as well as apps like Google Maps installed. It is also advisable to have a paper map with you as a backup, particularly if you’re going to search in more rural and isolated locations where your phone signal could be limited.
When operating as a product photographer in public spaces, it is important to understand the rules and restrictions in place. This could be as simple as where you can or can’t park, or whether filming is allowed without a permit.
Often, going for those less popular locations will mean fewer restrictions and this reduces the time and money required prior to the photoshoot taking place. Also, make sure that those living or visiting the area are not impacted by your work.
Finally, one of the best tips we can provide for every product photographer, irrespective of the niche they work in is to map out lighting, access routes, potential hazards and anything that could interfere with the safety and efficiency of your photoshoot.
Maybe you’re going to be using models to showcase products as part of a clothing and jewellery photography shoot. Or it might be the case that nighttime shots are required to tell a particular story for the brand you’re working with.