Phoenix Wedding Photographer

Scouting it Out | by kimberly jarman

Today I drove around town for about 2 hours looking for locations to photograph this Thursday for an engagement session. It’s a normal thing for me to do this. I enjoy it and it really helps me see locations differently and get some unique and fun places to shoot. While I was driving I was thinking about how many hours I have spent driving around the valley and how it has been so great finding little holes in the walls to shoot. I hate shooting at the same location over and over again.

Finding locations to shoot isn’t always easy. I live in an area where there is not a lot of green grass; we have plenty of  cactus and desert areas, but almost everywhere you turn it is  private property and pavement. It kinda sucks that there aren’t a lot of rolling green hills around here and I love it when I get to go to locations like that, but even then I scout. I’m always trying to find something unique and different.

I get a lot of emails from photographers asking me where I took so and so’s pictures and sometimes they ask for EXACT locations.. Many times I just email back and tell them that they need to find locations for themselves. Of course I will give general areas, but I really don’t feel like it helps photographers grow if i tell them EXACTLY where to shoot. Most of my best pictures come from walking or driving around for hours to find the PERFECT location. I see the shot before I even pick up my camera and know generally what I am going to do there. Even on a shoot i’m scouting and looking for different areas and light. It’s what makes photography exciting and creative.

I truly believe in scouting and finding your own locations. I feel it will make you a better photographer and also make your clients feel good knowing that you worked hard to find them the perfect location. Take the time to drive around. Look at places differently than you have before. Think outside of the box and have fun coming up with places that you normally wouldn’t shoot. Don’t rely on other photographers to tell you where to go, but hunt it out for yourself.

That being said, be respectful. We don’t want to be walking all over people’s private property and ruining beautiful locations. Photographers have a bad name in some locations because they have not respected the areas that they are shooting. Get permission and build relationships with people.

Lastly, if a photographer isn’t willing to share with you where they are shooting at, don’t get upset, get creative. Go hunt it out for yourself and you might just find the coolest new location. Thank them for making you think out of the box and making you a better photographer.

If you ever see an aimless crazy driver pulling off to the side and holding her cell phone out window to take a shot of nothing, it might be me….. so feel free to wave, honk, and try to figure out what I’m seeing!!

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May 28, 2010 - 8:34 pm

Tira J - AMEN SISTER!! I get emails all the time as well here in So Cal and it’s getting a little old. I tell them the same thing too, as I drive around for hours after work with my little point n shoot. Some locations are little obvious when you are shooting at a local college or train station, but really? If we are artists, we need to come up with our own canvas. Thanks for this blog post!

May 20, 2010 - 9:37 pm

kimberlyjarman - Rachael, I’m so glad you liked it… I never know what people will think when I comment on stuff like this, but those of us who scout work hard to find our locations, so good for you!!!!! Your locations rock by the way!!

May 20, 2010 - 4:09 pm

Rachael Earl - THANK YOU, Kim! Amen to this post 🙂 I spend hours looking around for places every single week, and people get so angry at me for not sharing when I’ve done all the hard work…

May 18, 2010 - 10:43 pm

Jenny Bishop - Great post, Kim! 🙂 I think I know where you took some of those pics!!! 😉 They’re near my old house!! Be sure to show us the “after” shots once you take clients there!!! 🙂

May 18, 2010 - 9:04 pm

kimberlyjarman - ohhaha…. I can’t wait to see what I do with them:):)

May 18, 2010 - 9:04 pm

kimberlyjarman - Thank you Mark! I’m glad it is informative!!!

May 18, 2010 - 8:12 pm

Mark Kuper - This is most interesting and informative insight from you Kimberly, Thanks! I would like to say I really understand on what your criteria is for a picking a new sight and maybe in time I will understand but for now, keep it coming.

May 18, 2010 - 7:03 pm

kimberly bee - I agree that finding the perfect location for a session is part of the creative process… that’s so true! I’m freshly inspired by new locations that I’ve taken the time to discover. I think the long hours of driving and scouting pays off. I’ve give away sessions, weddings, and time away from my family (editing) to shoot on private property, so I get a little hush-hush when it comes to sharing these spots… especially because they’re not mine to share and also because I don’t want to spoil my welcome! Anywho, I love your snapshots. They look like nothing special until we see what you do with them!

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