Where Do I Shoot?

When I have clients call me for  their personal photography, they generally are unsure of the location where they want their photos taken.

I have Real Estate agents that want their photos outside, landscapers that want their photos taken in their office and many others that just don’t understand where they should get their photos shot.

My first question to them is, “what kind of photos are you looking for?”  Sounds simple enough.  You would think that I have hit many people “Broadside” with that statement. Once I listen to them to discover the actual usage and  the message that they would like to convey, I realize that they just haven’t wrapped their minds around the final product.

There are some basic rules that I go by when choosing a location to shoot.  First off, if they are wanting photos that say something about them, I choose a location that reflects the message they want to convey.  If the images are for business I suggest they shoot in an environment that reflects their business.   If their business is Real Estate, I suggest a home environment.  If the agent is in Commercial Real Estate, a commercial business background (rather than a home environment).  If the client has a landscaping business, obviously they should be shot in an outside location.  Preferably in an environment that they have created.

If their a business person but want more personal photos then I might suggest an outside location.  An image shot in an outside location can show a very different side of a person.  A softer, more sensitive side.  Maybe a softer more sensitive person wants to make a more serious statement about themselves, I might suggest a more “Business” look with buildings or inside areas with architecture.  Sometimes just being inside rather than outside can make the visual difference they are looking for.

I have a scenario where I have a landscape architect that designs large, complicated landscape settings for office parks and Corporate establishments.  He is tired of people thinking he will shoe up with a shovel and a spade in his hand.  He wants to convey the business side of what he does, not the hands on aspect.

If you go to his website, all you see is trees and plants.  There’s one picture of him at his desk with a computer in the background.  You can see his dilemma.  I’ve suggested that I shoot him in a type of dress that says “white collar” not “blue collar”..  It doesn’t have to be “High” business (coat and tie) but white shirts with sleeves rolled up with and without a tie shows management but with a more subtle touch.

I also suggested that he appear in photos to be deliberating to others (workers or staff members) or in meetings with others.  Meetings usually infer upper management.  I also suggested that he show himself as “instructing” others or possibly making a presentation or speaker shots in a meeting setting.  This type of thing shows upper managerial positions.  A business person that wants to start a floral shot would obviously be a reverse situation.

Regardless of the situation, listening to your client and asking simple questions can really get to the real message that they need to convey.  Don’t be too fast to shoot what you have in mind. By taking your time to understand your client’s needs can really make for more powerful and effective images.