Location scouting for photo shoots is critical to my planning. It is one of the parts I can’t really make up as I go along. If a light breaks, I can change the tone of the photo to work around this. If a pose doesn’t work out like expected, I can try others.

But if I’m somewhere with no potential, I’m stuck. It’s hard to pick up everything and find that perfect location within a short space of time. That’s why I always make sure I have spots picked out ahead of time.

This topic of ‘location scouting’ is on my mind because of a photoshoot I did a few days ago with some friends in Oaxaca, Mexico. The shoot itself was pretty casual, we had intended to shoot by a lake nearby but the weather meant we had decided it was safer to shoot in the town – where we could run inside if it rained! 

In theory, this is the kind of photoshoot I get really nervous about – we had no list of locations. What if we found no good backdrop! It’s because of this fear that I spent half the previous day walking around town taking geotagged photos. I snapped away with my iPhone at anything I thought could be potential locations. Once I got home I picked through my favourite photos. I sorted them by potential and proximity until I had five I liked in a circuit that we could walk to easily. In fact, five and three are my magic numbers for photo shoots. Three is the number of great photos I want out of every session and picking 5 locations gives me some wiggle room.

Below are the before and after photos from a couple of the scouted locations.

Location: A disused aqueduct in Oaxaca

Location: The south side of Templo Santa Domingo in Oaxaca.

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