Do you pre-scout locations before a photoshoot?
This is one of the many questions my clients have asked me, and I thought it would be a good idea to answer it now.
There was a time when I didn't do this because I thought, "What could actually happen to the location that would stop me from shooting?" Well, believe it or not, everything can happen! There've been places before I went in the past and assumed they will be untouched and the same regardless the season :D It makes me funny now :D
I have a few stories from the past that are worth sharing.
Once, I had a shoot scheduled at a local reservoir where the couple was supposed to take a cold swim during sunrise. I had been to the location twice before and thought it would be great for the shoot. But, to my surprise, when we got there, there was almost no water due to a drought which happened at the summer. The reservoir looked like a huge muddy puddle, and there was no chance we could shoot there so we had to move towards mountains and this what I've managed to take instead.
The next time we were at the same location, the water level was so high that the shoreline disappeared, and we could see tree roots underwater as well. I was doing a pregnancy shoot for my sister, and we had to work around the situation. I am still extremely happy with the results, but I don't know what clients would have thought if I had asked them to get into the water! :D
Music festival I was unaware
Another time, I was shooting at a park where a music festival was happening that day. Luckily, the area of the park I wanted to shoot was open, and I didn't have to reschedule or look for another park. However, I was stressed that I might not be able to get in. Luckily for me, I had to change nothing and I consider it to be one of my best shoots to date!
Different things can happen, especially when you're looking to shoot at a public place that can be temporarily closed because they're filming a TV show, doing a renovation, or hosting a big event.
I learned my lesson, and since then, I always check locations before the shoot. If it's a shoot in a public place that usually has specific opening hours, I make sure to verify if they are open to the public on that particular day. I also check locations near bodies of water to avoid any potential disappointments like before. Additionally, I make sure to check locations when planning seasonal flower shoots since the blossom window typically lasts only a few weeks.