Quick Tips for Finding Photo Locations Right Outside Your Door

One of the trickiest things about being a portrait photographer is being able to come up with a variety of backgrounds in a small area in a short amount of time. Here are five tips to make it easier.

I know that when I’m pressed for time on a shoot, it can be tricky to find variety in background choices. During a 30-minute headshot session outside of my studio, for example, I just have to walk around and see what looks good to me in the moment based on a lot of factors — lighting during that hour, how crowded things are, what the model is wearing, etc. Sometimes, it’s easy, and sometimes it can be quite difficult. There are always the “favorite” spots, of course, but sometimes it’s nice to find something new or find a new angle on something old.

The trick is to learn how to see those familiar places in a new way and envision what they might look like through the lens. In about five minutes, you can watch this video and have photographer Jordan Matter take you on a walk around the block outside his studio and give tips on how to find backgrounds in “normal” places. From rock walls to doorways to just a typical row of cars, it’s just a quick reminder of how to think about looking at locations in a different way.

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Pawel Witkowski's picture

Actually good idea with doorway need to give it a try, thanks for recording and sharing! :)

Arun Hegden's picture

Saw this video almost an year back. very helpful tips. still useful. :)

Sam David's picture

Thanks for sharing the wonderful way of thinking as you move through the neighborhood -- as important as the good technical advice.