Friday, February 26, 2010

Must keep-in-mind for location scouting

Someone wrote an e-mail to me on Wednesday and asked what tips could I recommend for location scouting when dealing in commercial photography. I once wrote something but I think that these tips will help also.

Location: What is it?
A whole process that you must take care of when pre-producing. This is not production, this is something you do before getting into production, in fact, if you do not this right, the production will be affected by this. Location is big deal. Location will help the photographer tell the story. It is a character of the story as well as it is a setting. I like to think of it as the raw material of the final product.

Location: What types?
Natural like desert landscapes, oceans, rivers.
City like buildings, restaurants, coffee shops.

Location: How?
1. By looking. By recommendation. You should always be looking. As a producer, I constantly observe what is near me, where I eat, where I go shopping...I keep records of where do I go to in my mind. And I often discuss them as a possibility.
When scouting, visit the location the day of the week that you are shooting and at the time that you think will be working.

2. Write down the pros/cons of the location. What to consider?
a. Do you have power? Will you need the generator? Will you use batteries?
b. Weather. If it rains when you are there, will you be able to cover your stuff? If the sun is on the spot...will it affect the final result? I had this happening to me once, and this was not good (see blog post here) . So, I always remember this Sunday when we shot a music group on a location we loved and how the sun really changed everything. It went well but Diego hated me for a while.
c. Is there enough room for the make-up artist? The hair stylist? Wardrobe change? Will your client be able to sit down and see what you are doing? Is there space for catering (if required). Take a look around, walk and imagine the perfect set-up for producing.
d. Nearby stuff. If there is an outside location, remember:
- People use bathrooms
- Models need to change
- People get in a bad mood if they don't eat.
- Parking for crew and client
e. Negotiate a price and a contract. Put it on paper. Write it down. And book it.

3. Take pictures. These will help the photographer and the client to take a decision.

Examples of locations I have scouted:

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