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Photography tips: Location

Often times clients ask me for a price quote for a shoot at an unreasonably distant and obscure locations. So I've decided to write a small article that will list the points to consider and help designers pick better locations for their photo shoots.

Our aim is to cause the spectator to identify with the brand via the photos. Location defines the background, ambient light and affects the mood of the resulting photos therefore it is vitally important.

The location has to serve the following aims:

Photoshoot by Mark Segal for

  • Location has to fit the concept of the collection - If we are marketing ourselves as a high class product graffiti in the backyards of Florentine are obviouslu not an option.
  • Prospective client has to identify with it - a luxury/high-class product consumer might identify with a clean modern design interior by Zaha Hadid, or a yacht with redwood deck.
  • The style and mood of the brand and product - obviously our luxurious timeless one-of-a-kind item won't fit in with rainbows and unicorns.

On the other hand we do not live in a perfect world and money is indeed a limiting factor (as well as laws of physics and lots of other things), so bringing a makeup artist, two models, a photographer with assistant and a dog on a cruise around the world is tempting but obviously not something that is going to happen. We have to fit our expectations of the location into the budget of the photo shoot. So we should consider:

Photoshoot by Mark Segal for

  • Scale of the photos - when shooting closeup of sandals "in the desert" we can easily make do with a bucket of sand in the studio - the imagination of spectator will create the rest of the desert outside the frame. For half-height closeup on shoes we'll need to go to the beach, hire a model and take care of clothing and pedicure, whereas in full height shot we'll need to add hairdo and makeup as well as look for a neares cliff outside Tel Aviv city (where our hypotetical crew lives)
  • Diversity of the location - a bucket of sand was for sandals, but for hike boots we want a bucket of rocks and gravel, however for ballet flat we want a deck, which we can't bring to the studio.
  • Crew travel distance - time is money, so the longer you travel - the less time you can photograph on same budget.

My recent shoot for Clarosa (, production by GeekChicTLV) could serve as a good example. Client wanted to photograph only closeups and in a desert, however we convinced the client to shoot on Tel Aviv beach: the location was diverse enough for various styles and types of shoes and bags: we had sand, stones, concrete pavement, tiled pavement and lawn as well as graffiti and sea in far background. The decision about location allowed to hire manicure, makeup and make some full height shots that were not even considered initially by the client as the cost seemed to be too high.

Photoshoot by Mark Segal for

Photoshoot by Mark Segal for

All the photos in this article are from photoshoot. Production by GeekChicTLV.

I'll be glad to hear your opinions and remarks in the comments.