View Full Version : The "perfect" location to shoot

11-24-2006, 05:05 AM
Does anyone else really go out of their way for the perfect outdoor location for your shoot? I can spend days hunting for just the perfect setting to shoot a costume in, and it pays off. However, Ive found myself in quiet a few dangerous locations as I shoot: such as abandonded metal stamping plants, vacant churches, etc.

What factors do you guys look for in a setting, and how long do you typically spend looking for the right locations to shoot a costume at? What kind of fears and risks do you face when heading out to shoot?

Am I a nut for putting that much effort into just a location?

If anyone else is in my area and wants some locations help, let me know!

11-24-2006, 02:41 PM
I tend to find locations in my area by chance. I carry a point and shoot camera with me, and a notebook. If I end up findiong a place that I think shows some potential to be the setting for a shoot, I snap a couple of pics, write down the information about where the location is, and often who owns the property.

If I'm planning a shoot, I go through those locations, and if one seems suitable, I head on down with my camera and light meter and I poke around a little further. I also tend to find out about usage rights from whoever owns the property to see what I will need to do to get a release signed in advance.

The factor that tends to stand out most for me is the lighting that a particular location has to offer. Primarily because when you are doing location photography, you are at least partly intersted in what the location has to offer. You want to know how interesting the setting is, and a large part of how interesting a given area will be has to do with what kind of lighting it has to offer. Sometimes this can change drastically throughout the day, so if the shoot is worth the effort a few trips back to the location can be warranted.

Other things that are taken into account is what kind of colors, color contrast, tone contrast, range, color isolation, and how busy a setting is. All of these are part of many things that can add to, and subtract from an image. The problem is, many of the deciding factors have to do with what you're looking for from your images, what kind of mood you want to deliver.

In digital imaging, a new characteristic that tends to catch my eye is luminance differences. I know in a given snap, my camera can grab ~5 f/stops of dynamic range. If I see really bright highs and really dark lows, I know that my camera is going to clip one of these off depending on my exposure. If I decide I can do an HDR, perhaps this isnt as big of a deal, however I can't say as though HDR makes up any quantifyable amount of my photography. Anyways, it is something I am learning to consider more often nowadays.

I can't say as if I risk much more than getting yelled at by someone. I am VERY careful about dangerous areas. I wouldnt ask a model to put herself in any danger Im not willing to put myself in. I'm not willing to risk my life for a shot. I have a daughter and I have no intentions of leaving her stranded. HOWEVER, I do cross barriers and roped off areas, so it's very possible that one day I'm going to get my hand slapped.

Now, given a commercial shoot that I'm being paid for my time, I will look as long as it takes to find what I want, providing it is before the deadline. Then again, I charge $20/hr while scouting, plus expenses. That way I don't get burned so bad if it takes me some time to find a location.

Cosplay makes no money, so it involves a little less intensive work on my part. I tend to do a lot of speculative location finding; and also encourage cosplayers to find a place that they would like to shoot, and I do my best to 'check out' that location.

You're not nuts for putting so much effort into finding locations, locations end up being able to add a lot to your image.


11-26-2006, 04:07 PM
Nah, you're not a nut. I'm of the opinion that good photo shoot locations can do a lot for cosplay pictures. It can help you the model get "into your character" if you will.

However, it can be difficult trying to find locations that are similar to locations from the show/film you're cosplaying. Outdoor shooting is also difficult, because you're having to wait for the right weather, and sometimes lighting.

So, I tend to opt for a combination of convenience and perfection. I've generally got places in mind for where I'd like to shoot. Such as public gardens or un-opened sections of highway. Which have it's own health & safety issues.

And while I appreciate being able to go into the back yard for quick shots when the project's finished. I, personally, prefer to go back for another photo shoot, so I can find the perfect location with the perfect atmosphere.

Happy location hunting to you!

11-26-2006, 09:16 PM
Well for me, making the perfect shot means being in the perfect if not
almost close light where not too much traffic (other cosplayers) may
be walking by or past. And sometimes that's never easy, but if you like
a nice scenery and have a good indoor/outdoor camera than you've got
a good chance. I've had more experience with being indoor and taking
good indoor shots, but maybe next year I'll try outdoors just a bit more.

11-26-2006, 09:30 PM
YEAH THERE IS ANOTHER OF ME!!!!!!! Well in this one park there is the remnants of a train station, very dangerous I still go there to get good shots!!!!!!!!!!(aka today, for my very first photoshoot!)

12-04-2006, 07:56 AM
I would love to do photoshoots in several outdoor locations around me, but I'm just too shy to wear my costumes out in public outside of a convention setting. I don't like getting weird looks from people, and I'm scared of getting yelled at if I'm not in an area that's 100% okay to be in. There's a courthouse near my mother's place that has a lovely staircase I'd like to take pictures on, but I'll never get the nerve to go there, I'm scared they'll lock me up!

12-04-2006, 12:48 PM
it depends on what you're shooting. Most people try to do their photography in the morning because they need the sunlight for different angles and stuff...

12-10-2006, 12:20 AM
Nope. If you don't become obsessive about your shots, then they probably not worth taking. You're a perfectly normal photog.....

12-10-2006, 02:50 AM
There have been locations I would have loved to use but couldn't for security reasons. Otherwise, I don't think I do enough research on these myself. I have a friend who specifically shoots "weird places" and I often look through his photographs to find locations.

01-06-2007, 12:46 AM
If I am doing a convention shoot, as opposed to a private shoot, I usually look around the immediate area. Like this one: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=938494 This was purely off the cuff. I saw the pole, immediately, my mind raced around and thoguht of basically a split screen effect. Or something like that.

But I really liked the way it came out, accept for Usagi_Dumpling's vague look. (We had beenplanning to do a photo shoot together for a while, and when we finally met, we didn't recognize each other. )

And another like: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=679114 Where you have a free spot and asked for a "Scene from the game"

But, there ar those that I did plan Like: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=295978
And these done on location up in the hills around Chico and around Bidwell Park. http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=273800 plu the next 8

Just remember, sometinmes you gotta go with the flow... You can't expect to make a masterpeice every single time.

01-24-2007, 06:02 PM
When I'm walking around (even just through the city to get to work) I often see places that would make a good photo location.

I whip out my mobile phone and take a photo of the location. Sometimes I take care to frame it the way I would in the photo-shoot itself othertimes I just shoot the location area in wider general shot. After about a fortnight I download them onto my computer and make a note of where it was so I'll remember later. (anything longer than a fortnight and I'll start to forget where it was!)

I'm just an amateur photographer at best but I've found that doing this has helped in making me more aware of the locations around me.

Angel Tifa
02-18-2007, 02:47 PM
Unless I had a car, I don't really get the chance to search the county for perfect locations for photoshoots :(. But generally my favorite places for photos are usually natural areas such as hiking trails, natural reserves, or natural recreation parks. I kinda consider myself lucky to find good locations at least because I've found these good locations even without driving. For example, yesterday at Balboa Park, I've found perfect shots for my new Baiken costume. I really like how the photos came out. I don't have any yet, but I'll post them as soon as I get them uploaded.