The line item “Location Scouting Day” often gets questioned when I send a job estimate to a client. “Nah… it’s beautiful there, just show up the morning of the shoot and we’ll get it all done that day”. This is a really bad idea that is likely to lead to a stressed out photographer and an unhappy client. Without a doubt, one of the most difficult things to explain as a pro photographer is that not all beautiful places make beautiful places for photos – there are an infinite number of variables that influence a shoot location.
Last week’s shoot in Tuscany proved the point. In this case, our client did want us to scout. We had a day to spend driving around and looking for the locations for some very specific images. This particular job required us to shoot four pages for a global advertising catalog as well as a tradeshow booth display. They knew what they wanted in terms of activities – now we had to get it, and most importantly, it had to look very Tuscan.
Photoshoot Day 1: Rain and dark skies. No go.
Photoshoot Day 2: The forecast called for clouds but no rain in the morning, then increasing at noon. Stress was building, we had to get something shot as the deadline was upon us. We decided to go, to be on location with the models and ready. Our scouting day paid off, the morning was clear and we dashed from one location to the next, plugging in exactly what we had looked for by simply working through a checklist to remain efficient. At 11:00 a.m. our skies went dark. The limited time did not allow for variety or fine tuning, but it did let us put our experience to work and get the job done. Thanks to a carefully planned morning and knowledge of what to do and where to go, successful images were made and delivered.