10 Location Ideas For Your Personal Branding Photoshoot
Looking for location ideas for your next photoshoot? Let’s talk about your options!
There are so many types of locations (both outdoors & indoors) where you can have your Portrait or Personal Branding Photoshoot - studios, outdoor landscapes, local businesses, or even in your own home or office space. My clients often ask: “Where should I have my photoshoot? How do I pick or even find a location? Do you have any recommendations? Help!”
The right location can really make a difference, so it’s important to consider what types of locations would really support the “look” you are going for in your photoshoot. If you’re doing a personal portrait shoot (like a family portrait session, senior photos, etc.,) you’re probably just looking for a scenic location that fits a certain aesthetic that you like. If you’re planning a branding photoshoot for yourself & your business, it’s important to take it one step further & consider what the “mood & style” of your location is & what the look of the location communicates to your audience about you, your business, & your message & values.
So what makes for a good location?
First of all, think about the story you’re trying to tell in your photos, & try to consider where it would make sense to tell that story. What environment(s) would fit the mood you’re going for? Would you prefer an indoor or outdoor location, or perhaps both? Depending on your photographer, you may also be able to go to more than one location for your photoshoot to get lots of variety - be sure to check in with your photographer & ask if they have any limitations on locations.
Next, consider the following: Does the location have plenty of light? Space to move around so you can try different angles & shots? Interesting textures, reflective surfaces, colors, etc.? Other things to consider are your timeline, your budget, how far you are willing to travel, etc. Some locations do require permits, are already booked out with reservations, or may even not allow photoshoots at all, so it’s important to do your research. Potential weather situations & factors such as the time of day, the time of year, etc. are all important variables to consider when picking a location as well.
Feeling overwhelmed? Keep reading to check out my list of ten types of locations to get some ideas & to learn about the pros & cons of each!
#1. Natural Landscapes
Natural landscapes offer so much variety & are a top choice for many of my clients! Think about what type of landscape you might want to highlight in your photos: Are you looking for mountain views or ranges? Water features like lakes, rivers, or waterfalls? Green, lush forest areas? Desert landscapes? A field of flowers? A tropical beach? Scroll through your social media feeds or do some online research to see what types of landscapes stand out to you - your photographer can help you find local parks or trails that offer the type of landscape that you’re looking for.
Pros: The possibilities are endless when shooting outdoors! Outdoor landscapes often provide plenty of space to move around, lots of different vantage points to try, different types of plants, multiple types of light, etc., - even the smallest outdoor spaces can make for some beautiful photos.
Cons: Outdoor locations can be hot & bright in the summertime, or cold & wet during the wintertime. Weather is often a limiting factor & occasionally a shoot may need to be rescheduled due to rain, etc. Time is an extremely important factor when shooting outdoors as well - the best light is in the early morning or in the evening. Outdoor locations can sometimes have a lot of people around which can be distracting or can create a challenging shooting environment. Some outdoor locations may require one or more types of permits for parking &/or photography, so be sure to research these things ahead of time so that you show up prepared.
#2. Urban Spaces
City streets, murals, unique buildings, rooftops, etc. - these types of places can offer so much variety if you are going for a more urban look in your photos. Check out downtown areas or different districts in your city to find different options - It’s great to pick a street or area that you know has different colors & backdrop textures available so that you can get a wide range of looks without having to drive to a bunch of different places.
Pros: Urban spaces can be perfect if you want a lively, colorful vibe to your photos! Many cities have an amazing selection of murals or some unique architecture that can make for great backdrops. If you’re wanting a shorter shoot, walking around a downtown area with your photographer & trying a few different spots is a quick & easy way to get a good variety of photos.
Cons: Locations like these are unpredictable - there may be challenges with weather, local events going on, parking issues, etc. Fridays & weekends can be really chaotic as people are often out & about during these days - midweek is generally the best time to shoot in an urban space. Depending on your city, it can be stressful to shoot in a congested public area - be sure you stay aware of your surroundings, & never leave your bags or items unattended as you shoot.
#3. Air BNBs & Hotels
Air Bnbs & Hotels are very popular choices for photoshoots! Choosing a location like this can offer you lots of variety & privacy, & it can help you achieve a specific “look” if you are wanting to be photographed in a particular type of environment. Be sure you are familiar with the size of the room or house ahead of time - smaller rooms can be harder to work in. Many hotels or AirBnbs are booked well into the future, so if you are planning to shoot in a rental, always make your reservation as far in advance as possible.
Pros: Hotels & Airbnbs often have absolutely beautiful indoor & outdoor spaces! You can get access to very specific types of locations to get exactly the look you want for your photos. Having an entire property all to yourself can give you a lot of variety all in one place, & it’s so nice to have a private area to shoot in so you don’t have to worry about people in the background, etc. Depending on the space, you may have access to pools, outdoor patios, gardens, etc. as well!
Cons: Rentals can be expensive. Some properties do not allow photoshoots - be sure you check with the AirBnb owner or Hotel manager ahead of time to make sure they are ok with you photographing their property. Some spots may require a permit, proof of insurance, a property release, etc. depending on the nature of your photoshoot. Hotels may require a permit as well in order for you to photograph common areas like the lobby, outdoor gardens, etc., or they may limit you from using flash or other types of artificial lighting so as not to disturb the other guests.
#4. Cafes & Coffee Shops
Cafes, Restaurants, & Coffee Shops can make for absolutely stunning locations. These types of businesses often have really interesting lighting, textures, & color schemes within their interior design that can make your photos look really unique. Be sure you check in with this business ahead of time to make sure they’re ok with you taking photos in their space. You’ll want to avoid peak hours, which usually are mornings & evenings - this is when a coffee shop or restaurant will be at its busiest. Early afternoon is often the best time to go.
Pros: These locations make for great lifestyle photos - you can order drinks/food to use as props, you can get access to beautiful patios or indoor seating areas, & it can be really fun to experiment with different angles as you’re shooting to get different types of light, etc.
Cons: Shooting in public places like this can be a bit intimidating - there will be people in the background, you may not be able to shoot in the exact place you would like to, you have no control over the lighting situation, & it’s common to have passers-by stare or interrupt you as you’re shooting.
#5. Popular Landmarks
People travel all over the world to take photos in front of popular landmarks or famous locations - think the Eiffel Tower, Times Square, or the Grand Canyon. Many towns or cities have recognizable locations nearby like markets & shops, historical buildings, bridges, waterfalls, landscapes, etc. that make for really beautiful photo backdrops.
Pros: Locations like these are popular for a reason - they’re beautiful, iconic, & recognizable to large demographics of people. If you have a location in mind that you love, it can be so special to have a set of photos there so you can remember that place & the memories you’ve had there forever.
Cons: Popular locations can be a challenge - they are often crowded and you may only have a minute or two to capture the exact photo that you want before another crowd of people rushes in. Research your location to see if there are “off-season” times that you can go that may be less crowded, & don’t be afraid to try out different vantage points to get a unique perspective on a highly-photographed area.
#6. Photography Studios
Your Photographer may have their own studio, or they can help you choose a rental space. Most towns & cities have at least one creative space or even an event venue that you can rent to have your photoshoot in. Some of them provide props, backdrops, etc. & some do not - be sure you check out what types of resources the space has ahead of time.
Pros: You can achieve pretty much any look that you want to in a Studio since it’s an easily modified, private environment! Backdrops, props, & sets are practically endless depending on what kind of equipment you have available to you. Some studios even have pre-made sets or furniture like beds & couches that you can use.
Cons: Studio rentals can be expensive, & there is often a lot of setup & take-down work involved. It’s also important to make sure you hire a photographer who is familiar with studio lighting - photographers who only work with natural light may not be able to achieve the exact look you want if you are wanting that “studio” look for your photos.
#7. Personal Office or Storefront
If you have an office or your business has a retail location, this can be the perfect place to have your photoshoot! It’s already your ideal environment - you have everything in place & you can highlight your store, your products, & your personal style in your photos. Depending on your office, it can function as your own personal studio - you can move around your desk or furniture to create different looks. Clients & customers truly love seeing your business or office space in your photos on your website & social media feeds.
Pros: Showing you in your own curated space is so important for Branding photos! People often feel more comfortable in their personal offices or shops, & since it’s your space, you have complete control over how it looks, how long you can shoot there, etc.
Cons: Can be limiting if your office is a small or dark space without much room for adjusting furniture or for bringing in Studio lights. You may have to adjust your business hours or do your shoot on a day when you are normally closed in order to have your shoot in the space, which can sometimes be a bit inconvenient if you have a tight schedule. Be sure to plan your shoot well in advance so that you have plenty of time to prepare!
#8. At Home
Having a photoshoot in your home can be a great choice, especially if you have a home office, a beautiful garden, your dream kitchen, etc. that you want to show off in your photos. This is a popular choice for many of my Personal Branding clients, as they often spend time working from home & have created an environment for themselves that they feel really comfortable in. Rooms with nice natural light are best - think big windows, bright open spaces, etc. It can be difficult to photograph spaces that are small or dark, so be sure to communicate with your photographer & even send them some photos of your space so that the two of you can decide together if your home would be a good place to have your photoshoot.
Pros: All your things are there & easily accessible to you! Wardrobe changes are a breeze, any props you may need are on hand, & you don’t have to deal with packing things up & transporting them to another location. If you are being photographed with your family &/or your pets, everyone is in a familiar environment that they feel comfortable in. You can highlight your personal style easily by being photographed in your space - your art, decor, etc. is all around you.
Cons: It can be stressful to prepare your home for a photoshoot - It’s important to make sure your space is clean, organized, & that any extra clutter is hidden away. If you’re having a solo shoot, you may have to arrange childcare &/or a pet sitter to keep your family & furry friends occupied during your photoshoot - it’s important to remove distractions so that you can focus & feel relaxed during your session. Inviting a stranger into your home can feel vulnerable, so make sure you spend time with your photographer ahead of time to be sure you are comfortable with them & their team.
#9. Coworking Spaces
If you don’t have a home office or a retail location & want to have a more corporate look to your photos, a coworking space can be an amazing solution. Coworking spaces often have conference rooms or private offices available that you can rent for a day - they are usually already provisioned with chairs, desks, tables, & some basic decor. As always, be sure you talk to the business owner ahead of time to make sure that they are ok with you having your photoshoot there - they may have a rental fee or only have certain days where you can go & shoot.
Pros: It’s super easy to shoot in a pre-made office! You can bring a couple of extra little props to add to the space to give it a personal touch. Coworking spaces are always clean & organized, & they often have great natural light or plenty of space to bring in studio lights if needed.
Cons: Can be expensive to rent. You may only be able to shoot on certain days of the week, & there may be limitations on which spaces you can shoot in. If you’re shooting during working hours, you’ll have to be very quiet and respectful of other people who are working in the space around you.
#10. Local Businesses
Local shops such as bookstores, boutiques, plant & flower shops, small grocery stores, art galleries, libraries, yoga studios & gyms, etc. are often more than happy to let you shoot in their space! These types of locations are popular choices for my personal branding clients who are wanting a very specific type of location or set of props for their photoshoot.
Pros: Many businesses have a specific type of product they sell or a “look” that can work perfectly to support the message you are looking to convey in your photos! For example - if you’re a fitness coach, a gym would be a great place to take your photos as you’ll have plenty of access to workout equipment, etc. that you may not have at home.
Cons: Be sure you ask the business owner not only for permission to shoot in their space, but also ask them which days/times tend to be the slowest for them. Shooting in popular local businesses can often be frustrating if they are crowded with customers who may or may not be ok with being in the background of your photos. Some businesses do charge rental fees, or may have specific rules about where you can shoot or what types of photos you are able to take in their business.