Prime locations are a hot commodity in the photographer world. They are even hotter when you live in an area where the market is over saturated and the locations are sometimes less than desired.

I have had several shoots where I will be shooting in my favorite location only to find a group of new portrait enthusiasts slowly taking over my spot. Now, I am not stingy about my locations. Instead, I share them freely because what you do with a location looks completely different from how I would use it. I also share my locations to give you better options to fit your session better. If we share our locations, maybe we won’t be standing on top of each other at the next photo shoot we plan.

So that brings me to this posts topic: Location scouting in an over saturated market.

Observe your surroundings

Observe your surroundings! Get in your car, take a detour, or hop on to your bike! Feed that inner adventurist and explore the city that you are in. I am constantly observing while driving around the Charlotte area. I find the most random nooks and crannies that make excellent locations. I once found an old field off of McKee Rd by randomly driving around.  I shot so many sessions there but it is now filled with newly built homes. I have even shot outside of a dumpster before. The lighting was glorious and the background was super clean and made for a lovely portrait. Sometimes a closer look will help you see that a potential no location is actually a yes location. Think about lighting, the background, traffic, critters…you know, everything that could make a session rock.

Go inside

This one is a bit weird for me because I am painfully shy and hate asking for things. (Yes, I am actually shy. Photography brings out a different side in me.) When you visit new places, sometimes you are inspired. My favorite place in all of Charlotte is Amelie’s French Bakery in NoDa. I ADORE this place and want to shoot there one day. I have yet to ask though. BUT the session found in this post is an example of me asking. In RiverGate, located in South Charlotte, we have a cute cupcake bakery called SAS Cupcakes.  This bakery was colorful, bright, and just what I needed for a Girl’s Girl photoshoot. I simply grew some balls and called them up. They had no problem with me coming in before they opened to shoot. I photographed quickly, cleaned up after myself, and purchased some things from them. I later sent them a thank you note for letting me use their space.

When in doubt, head out-of-town

Sometimes you have exhausted all of your locations and you want something new. Simply take a drive. I found a beautiful sunflower location, a river location and a few other small places that I will write about in the near future. In these locations I have found uniqueness and creativity.

Location scouting isn’t complicated. It takes some time but you are rewarded with great images when you do. I want to wrap up this post by thanking SAS for letting me use their space. I also wanted to thank my models Chelsea and Morgan for being beautiful and awesome. I also want to thank my hair and makeup artist Nini Phrasayavong for creating this modern 60’s look.

Models from NC pose with cupcakes 2 girls use mustache shot glasses Two girls singing into suckers as microphones Fun portrait session in SAS Cupcakes of Rivergate in Charlotte NC SAS cupcake display

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