The Art Of Scouting: How To Find Stunning Locations For Your Photo And Video Shoots

My favorite quote in the world is…

I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.
— Elsie de Wolfe

I learned this quote four years ago and since then it's shifted completely my outlook on life. I have beauty goggles on basically non-stop now. Whether it's admiring the detail of the beautiful flowers or tiny little insects, or admiring the whole beautiful building that is in front of me, or admiring the sad times that I'm experiencing and the feelings associated with that, or even admiring the so called ‘ugly’ locations or things.

There's beauty everywhere. Choosing to see life through this beauty lens has really helped me as an artist.

Perhaps this is why I can personally find beautiful locations to always shoot in. There is never ever a shortage for me to find these locations, so today I'm going to be sharing with you the thought process that I go into when I'm looking for beautiful places to photograph so you can find it as many as you can and create beautiful art.

I don't have the luxury of planning out photo shoots, so I'm very spontaneous in choosing locations. The locations that I find and I stumble upon literally dictate the entire photo shoot for me.

For example, I'll be driving along and I'll see a bunch of tires, so I'll dress appropriately to that experience to make sure that I get the most out of the location.

Location scouting For Your Photo And Video Shoots

Right now, I'm in a tiny little village in Germany and even the Vodafone guys just up the road were laughing that I'm here. But to me this is the most beautiful location I could be in and I am seeing beauty everywhere.

I've already taken photographs with a range of objects including my home, a pile of tires, the wind turbines, the grass, the cornfields, the sunflower fields and the hay fields. I’ve shot in sunlight and at nighttime to give a variety of shots.

I know the question will be “what if I live in this village/city? What can I do if I'm not traveling as much as you?” ... well I've got a full list!

If I did live here, I would take photos with the horses, cows, chickens, with the tractors in the area. I would shoot in front of the beautiful homes, I'd drive an hour and shoot at the beach, I'd shoot near the local ponds or rivers, I would shoot at the local cafe, the playground, maybe even inside the local school at the weekend (with permission!).Then I just tailor my outfits to make sure that it matches with this school environment. It would like a cool, edgy photoshoot.

In each of these locations, I change outfits a million times, posed differently, edit the photos differently, and that would give me a variety of shots.

Then you also have the change of seasons and times of day! It's gonna be a completely different photograph.

Use what you got man! Stop making excuses.

Location scouting For Your Photo And Video Shoots

TIP #1: VARIETY OF SHOTS
I choose locations that can give me as much variety in one location as possible.

Whenever I'm traveling I look for a hotel or Airbnb that is really beautiful inside and it has a variety of shots. Even if it's a tiny little room, that room itself just has to have a variety of corners that look completely different and can give a variety of shoots because I don't want to just get two snaps out of a location. If I'm paying to stay in a hotel, I better be able to get some nice photographs out of that too.

TIP #2: SHOOT IN BULK
I recommend taking a huge chunk of time out to go explore and take as many photos as possible. It's fun and there's never a time restraint.

If you're taking a model or yourself, try to find a forest that is close enough to a hay field, or a beach close to a little city or a town. Then you can spend the entire day photographing. It’s so much fun, why wouldn't you want to do that? The added bonus is that you get many different photos from that.

TIP #3: CHANGE IT UP (ANGLES, CLOTHES, MAKEUP ETC)
Change your hair, change your makeup, change your accessories. Again, work with what you have.

In one spot you can take photos from above, below, straight on, close-up, far away, sitting, standing. One location = many options!

Location scouting For Your Photo And Video Shoots

TIP #4: IT’S ALL ABOUT LIGHTING
I always aim to shoot in natural light because I don't really have the luxury of carring lighting equipment with me because I'm a full time traveler.

I aim to generally shoot always at golden hour, so sunrise or sunset. That is the best light ever.

By the time you finish shooting all the locations during sunset, you should probably be skilled enough by that time to start shooting those locations during the harshest sun. That means you can go back to all those locations and shoot again, giving you a completely different feel to the photograph, especially if you switch up the hair, makeup, accessories, clothing and so forth.

TIP #5: INSTAGRAM SCOUTING
No matter where you are in the world you can go onto Instagram for example and put the hashtag of the city you're in or the country you're in and see what comes up. That could lead you to beautiful locations to photograph.

Another great way is to stay in beautiful Airbnb’s or hotels that have a nice environment to shoot in. If it's too expensive and you can't afford it right now, you could potentially become best friends with the manager and ask them if it is okay if you go into the rooms after someone checks out (but it's still messy so you don't mess it up for them) and just take a few photographs or their beautiful hotel room. Tell them you're studying photography and see if it's possible for you to just spend half an hour in between the cleaning sessions before the cleaner comes along.

Location scouting For Your Photo And Video Shoots

Yes, you're gonna get rejected by a lot of hotels, but so what? Keep going until you can get into a hotel because there will be someone that will say yes.

If this sounds like a very daunting thought, to go approach the manager and ask for this... Dude! Not many people will ask this! It is a golden opportunity for you. Yes it's gonna be scary, but if it works you have a beautiful location for free - hell yeah!

To do great things you must push the boundaries sometimes.

Finally, I am NOT an expert in location scouting, I just take photographs non-stop wherever I can, that's my approach to this whole thing. You see me with a camera basically non-stop. It's my addiction and I just make it work, I just have fun with it but hopefully these tips have helped you in one way or another.

Until next time, PEACE!