Choosing The Perfect Location For Your Outdoor Photo Shoot

With warmer weather on the horizon, a whole world (literally) of possibilities opens up for our artists. We love outdoor photo shoots because there’s TONS of natural beauty at our disposal that makes our lives easier! However, this doesn’t mean we can set our tripod up willy-nilly and snap away. When shooting outdoors your location almost acts as a secondary subject, giving you an important decision to make. To set up the perfect on-location photo shoot, there are a variety of things you must consider and try to control.


As many know, lighting is a photographer’s bread and butter. Great lighting is basically required for a worthwhile photo shoot, and bad lighting will ruin your outing. How this affects your choice of location depends on what you want out of your light. It’s generally better to avoid shooting when the sun is directly overhead as it can cast shadows on your face. Also, you’ll usually want the sun to be behind the camera so your subject is receiving as much light as possible. Our Backlot has a mix of well-lit and shaded areas in order to give us lighting options to play around with. Plus, we have incredible lighting equipment at the studio we can use to shoot rain or shine!

Two dogs at the back of a pick-up truck


Unless you’re choosing a crowded place for aesthetic reasons, it’s best to try and avoid locations with lots of foot traffic. You don’t want to get the perfect shot only for a photobomber to render it unusable! Even if you take great care in keeping the background of your shots people-free, it’ll generally be a headache to have to work around their presence. You also have to consider the privacy of those who own the property you’re on, as you can get into legal trouble for photographing private property. At Willow Street, all of our clients have full access to our outdoor studio which is tucked away in our backyard to minimize the risk of a photobomber.

award winning outdoor pet photography reading pa award winning

What “feel” are you going for?

Here’s where you have to tap into your inner artist. Your location will play a major part in the look and feel of each image, so you should make sure it matches what you’re going for. We specialize in family & pet photography, so our outdoor space is fun, friendly and inviting with tons of cool props. If you’re looking for something edgier, it could be cool to explore local abandoned buildings or industrial parks. In short, choosing your location is an important step in establishing how your photos will “feel” after post-production. Our artists are experienced enough to point you in the right direction if you’re unsure in this case!

guitar senior pictures - Willow Street Pictures

How will it look on your wall?

If you’re looking to frame the images you come up with, you should consider how they will tie together the rooms they end up in. Imagine everything going perfectly during your shoot, only for your photos to look awkward hanging in your living room. This is also something that we could help with – our custom framer is an expert at making your framed portraits look great in any setup! If you let us know where you plan on hanging your pictures, we can help point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a location based on aesthetics.

A woman holding her black cat

Make it meaningful!

This is an important one for many of our clients. If you’re shooting with family or friends, choosing a location that has meaning to you adds a personal touch to the whole process. For example, a couples portrait at the place where you first met highlights your history and how far you’ve come together! In the past, we’ve worked with dogs at the location where they do all of their training for dog shows. The shows are a very important part of this family’s lives and we’re glad we were able to highlight this in our artwork! Incorporating personal details like this is a surefire way to add to your enjoyment of the photo shoot and finished artwork.

Tina Smith and her daughter


If you’re interested in a photoshoot with Willow Street Pictures, you can give us a call or fill out a recommendation form to get started with your consultation process!


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