How To Scout Photo Locations As A Blogger (Even In A Small Town)
I love taking blog photos, but I currently live in pretty much the middle of nowhere. Unlike many popular bloggers who live in big cities, travel all around, and get the best city rooftop shots, I live in a town of approximately 15,000 people. We probably have way more trees than our population honestly.
When I moved back to a small city, I knew that I would have to try hard to scout photo shoot locations. I started just taking shots around my house, but when that got boring, I started venturing out into the surrounding city. Today on the blog I am going to chat about how to scout photo shoot locations as a blogger, even if you are in a small town.
1. Get Used To Feeling A Little Bit Uncomfortable
When you are living in a small town, your photo shoots probably will be a bit of a spectacle.
I can't tell you how many times we've been honked at when my dad and I are doing photo shoots together. Also, sometimes people in the city come up to us and inquire about my dad's photography. I don't mind the latter so much after I realize that's what they are doing, I want my dad to get more exposure in the local community! What I don't like, ever, is the honks I get. It can be quite scary, and my heart almost always skips a beat. That happened to me last week when I did my photo shoot at the public library for the blog.
So, yes, doing photo shoots in your small town is going to be a bit uncomfortable. You will likely hear every car passing you by, and you'll be the only one doing what you are doing. Even during Senior photo shoot season, I never saw anyone out and about doing photos with me.
I do my photo shoots anyway, though, because regular photo shoots are part of making this blog work.
2. Drive Around A Bit
You never know when you might be inspired to shoot in a new place. During the photo shoot I am showing today, we drove around quite a bit. We almost went all the way out to my hometown we went so out of the way. We weren't sure what we were looking for, but we were hoping we found it before we made the loop back into town.
Luckily, we eventually found just what we were “looking” for, an old abandoned school and a massive farm/electrical grid. We had never shot anywhere near this location before, and it was even cooler because the sun was setting.
Don't be afraid to get out of your usual comfort zone. If you are hiring a photographer, you may want to explore on your own and bring your photographer to the spot you found later. Luckily, I shoot with my dad, so we can always explore during our photo shoot sessions.
3. Consider Places That Are Public & Manicured
Some of my new favorite places to film as of late have been the community college and the public library in my town. These are great photo locations because they are publically owned and frequently manicured. Now, you know by now that not all of my photo shoot locations are cleaned up regularly, but it's great to film in a place like that every blue moon.
Locations like libraries and colleges often have a maintenance crew that they hire out or employee. That crew makes sure that there are pretty flowers on the property, the grass is cut, and more. It's great when you can take advantage of that in the background of your photos.
4. Get Near Some Water
Most cities have some form of “water” whether it's a manmade lake or something naturally occurring. One of my favorite water sources here is a manmade pond near our city hospital. Ducks are often in/near the pond, the fountain is on sometimes, and there are tons of trees in the background year round (but they are especially lovely in the fall.)
Water (if it's not too icky) can be a great background for photos. Check out this shot we took last fall near the water at the hospital. I love this shot so much with my felt hat and the water perfectly placed and not too icky looking. It was fall, so the water had a bit of debris in it, but we were able to make it look not horrible.
5. See Things From A New Perspective
Even the shabbiest corner of your town can turn into a photogenic haven. You all know that I am the queen of posing in front of less than stellar buildings and random trees. It's all about cropping, using the right camera, and editing. I give all the thanks to my dad for being able to see a spot and think about all the ways he can crop and use said places. I don't always understand his vision, but usually, his vision returns excellent photos.
The best visual of this on my Instagram is this shot of me in front of some apple blossom trees. It honestly looks like I am in front of a ton of apple blossoms, but honestly, I was in front of like five sparse trees. All around me there were random buildings because I was in a parking lot. My dad was able to crop the scene in such a way that it looked like I was in front of way more apple blossoms.
Conclusion: You Aren't In Blogging Danger Becuase You Live In A Small Town
Sure, you likely can't pose in front of cute coffee shops and coworking spaces. You have so many amazing places you can film in front of, though. I love having all the trees and random buildings in the back of my photos. I think it gives my photos character that most people don't have in theirs. I'm unique because I have unique places to take my blog photos. No matter where you stay, you can take great pictures with the backdrop you have.