Quest for the Perfect Shoot Location

November 20, 2014


Michelle + Brandon Horn

At times it seems like the quest for the perfect shoot location is never ending. I'm so guilty of this. It seems like anywhere we travel too I constantly catch myself saying, “I wish we lived here, there are so many gorgeous places to shoot!”. Then my mind starts dreaming… thinking of shoots I have seen in Lombardy Italy, The Andes, Switzerland, New Zealand… the list could go on. But as soon as my mind begins to journey off on a wild adventure, the voice of my husband Brandon chimes in and breaks up my daydream. He reminds me that we live in a beautiful place, we just need to embrace + unveil it. I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes, he was right. I had started to take for granted where we lived. I had given up the creative challenge of finding the uniquely interesting story every space has to offer, a story that is all its own.

Horn-Photography-Design-Location4So a few years back we decided to look at our hometown with fresh eyes, our smartphones and GPS. Now it seems as if everyplace we go locally I always say, “this would be perfect for a shoot at _____ time of day, we have to mark this down!” I pull out my phone grab a quick pic (with the location services on) and put it into a shoot location album on my phone which is backed up on the cloud. Brandon always jokes remarking that he has created a monster. He did create a monster, a monster with a vast library of awesome shoot locations that very in character, style, ambiance and lighting.

How to begin the Adventure of Embracing + Unveiling the beauty of where you live.

1.) Get in the habit of seeing each place you go as a possible place to shoot. Even if your just taking a bike ride to a friends house for coffee. Look at the alley you are riding down or the old buildings you may be passing, these are all potential locations.

2.) Stop and take a photo. With our smartphones attached to our hips it only takes 2 seconds to snap a pic. Make sure your location services is on for that particular photo, this way you have the GPS coordinates for later.

3.) Take quick notes about the location. We use an Exif Editor app on our phones called ExifWizPro. I jump into ExifWizPro pull up the photo and add a few details that will be a BIG help later on.


It's all in the Details!

When it comes to noting details of a location we document some key information.

• The best time of day for beautiful lighting at the location
• What kind of shoot would work best here
• Accessibility (What is the parking situation? Can a woman in high heals and a gorgeous dress get to this location)
• When is this location available (For example, some of our favorite places to shoot are parking garages, so we need to determine when the garage is empty)
• Do we need permission to use this location

Watch-out for temptation
When we first started to look for new locations we would ride in the car for hours. Little did we know, this was a huge mistake. We quickly found that getting on our bikes or taking a walk was so much more beneficial. Experiencing the world first hand with all our senses revealed hidden little gems down back roads, alleys and sidewalks we just couldn't get to in our car.

We hope this helps get your creative and adventurous juices flowing. Have fun!


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