What I Learned Shooting on Location
I recently returned from a series of photoshoots for a fishing client, that took place on the water in Minnesota, Texas and South Carolina. The purpose of the shoot was simple: capture still images of anglers fishing for local species. We traveled across the country, worked long days, and managed to (mostly) avoid bad weather while catching a couple of fish along the way. This is what I learned from the experience.
Always hire experts. When shooting on location in the outdoors, it’s critical to work with people who have experience in the outdoors AND the creative process. When hiring a local fishing guide, for example, it is important to find out if they’ve guided for photographers, journalists or production companies. This experience may help your production process go more smoothly and ultimately impact the quality of your work. It’s also important to find a photographer who is an experienced angler, has shot on the water, and has the gear required for the shoot. I was fortunate to work with expert guides and a world class outdoor photographer on my recent shoot, and that made the shoot a success.
Document the process. I’ve found great value in capturing photos, videos and detailed notes when shooting on location. Armed simply with my iPhone, I’ve been able to capture some incredible shots on the water and of the photographer, talent, and team. Although I’m not in a creative role, capturing these images helps me flex my creative muscles ,and ultimately, helps me better support the client and creative team. I’ve also found documenting the process is a great way to showcase what we actually do. I love sharing my photos with co-workers, clients, and family.
Luck matters. Even with all the planning in the world, shooting on location in the outdoors still takes luck. Weather, for example, can make the difference between a good shoot and a great one. The smallest things, like fog floating over water at sunrise or the sun peaking through clouds as dusk can make a shot. We mostly had good luck with weather, with one exception. In the days before leaving for South Carolina, rain and recent flooding intensified causing issues with the location. With the weather not cooperating, we made a last-minute decision to reschedule the shoot. Unfortunate, but our change of course brought good weather and great photos. My advice when shooting on location is to be patient, flexible, and opportunistic.
Experience everything. We all know that work travel can be tiring, especially when shooting in the outdoors. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the experience, and take the opportunity to enjoy new experiences. I had never fished for redfish, but jumped at the opportunity when in South Carolina, even if just for a little bit. When I travel for work, I always make it a point to experience the local food, culture, and history. Every destination has a unique story to tell, and I make sure to always experience it.