So many factors should be weighed when deciding where to take your family's photos. Speaking from personal experience, I want to have everything figured out and planned for prior to the actual session date. With children involved, these things can, and usually do, go haywire. So, I want everything to go as smoothly as possible. This includes picking where I should have my family's photos captured.
As an owner of a local portrait studio, I'm, obviously, partial to studio photography. However, as a photographer, a creative person, I love ALL types of photography. Studio and location photography have various aspects in common. There are pros and cons to each. I'm going to delve into what I believe are the biggest influencers and detractors of each type of photography.
Let's begin with location photography. I commend photographers that are specifically tailored to location photography. It requires a ton of patience. While I can sometimes be persuaded to schedule a session at a favored location, it's definitely not my first choice. In fact, it would probably need to be styled specifically around that area to justify my willingness to travel and outwit the weather. Having said that, I know a ton of photographers that thrive in the location photography arena. It's definitely a preference. With that being said, I'll move on to specific reasons to like and loathe location sessions.
Location Photography PROS -
- Natural beauty. Point blank. Number one pro of location photography. Nature is truly a thing to behold and I love when photographers can accurately capture a subject surrounded by the elements. It can be breathtaking.
- Another pro would have to be a client's reason behind choosing an area or location. Be it they first met there, or they're fondly attached to the scenic beauty they're hoping to capture in their family portraits. I get that. Take a photo in front of a mountain view with your client's family captured in the foreground...you KNOW those mountains are lending to that photo for some reason or another. It's a key element included for the purpose of that photo.
Location Photography CONS - Ok, brace yourselves. I could list quite a few. However, I'm going to only list the most important ones to consider when you're booking your family photos. Here goes...
- Lighting. In case you missed it, LIGHTING. This is, by far, the most important consideration when planning Location photography. You are obligated to plan your entire session, from actual location to placement of subjects based solely on lighting conditions. The sun can be your best friend, or your most lethal opponent. A great natural light photographer will know how to manipulate lighting to their advantage. However, in most cases, photographers will need to include off camera flash to improve upon their lighting.
- Weather. This one, so much. I ABHORE being beholden to weather. When I schedule something, I want to be able to follow through, no matter the conditions outside. And, being that we live in South Carolina, it's not like there are a ton of dangerous driving conditions that will prevent a client from traveling to my studio. (Other than bad drivers, lol) When you have to consider weather, you have to keep in mind: humidity, rain, overcast, too bright/sunny, etc. That's not including the fact that not only do you have to schedule your session based on all of these conditions, but because weather happens suddenly, there's really no way to plan in advance. This can ruin more than one weekend or evening, if you're not careful.
- Busy Locations. This is another one of those I hate having to deal with. In a lot of cases, clients want locations that they've seen from friends or online. That's great, most likely, a beautiful location, too. The thing is, a ton of other photographers and clients had that same amazing idea. AND, if the aforementioned weather is behaving, even more people will be in attendance. I like to avoid the crowds as much as possible. It allows me to set up more of a rapport with my subjects and definitely minimizes the chances of having the kiddos run wild and become distracted.
- Bugs and creepy crawlies. Ok, I know this is me being a tad knit-picky. BUT, I cannot stand bugs of any kind. Butterflies are beautiful, but elusive; so, unlikely that they'll be participating. Other than that, there are way too many gnats, mosquitoes, ants, spiders, and every other crawling/flying insect that I'd rather avoid.
Suffice it to say, I'm clearly not a huge fan of Location photography. HOWEVER, I have nothing but respect for those photographers that choose to focus their craft utilizing location photography as their backdrop. I have captured many clients at a featured location and absolutely LOVE their photos.
Finally, Studio photography. My wheelhouse. My creative outlet. (Am I being too partial? Lol) There are SO many pros that can be applied to studio photography. I'm going to make a valiant attempt to be objective. ;)
Studio Photography PROS -
- Lighting. While this is a "Con" regarding most Location photography, for studio photographers, lighting is a boon. We crave the ability to utilize gorgeous studio lighting to our benefit. Being able to properly manipulate studio lighting is something we pride ourselves in. Proper lighting is, honestly, what separates amateurs from professionals.
- Any. Time. Let me expound upon this. Unless I'm booked, or closed, I can schedule your session around the date and time that you're most interested in. I'm not
Studio Photography CONS -