Choosing a location in Los Angeles for your portrait session might seem like a big deal but it really doesn't have to be difficult. A location usually drives some of the other decisions you will need to make about your shoot so it’s important to choose the right place. Your photographer will also be able to recommend locations based on what you would like to see in your portraits. Should it be indoors or outdoors, on location or in a studio, formal or casual wardrobe, morning, afternoon or evening. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help with all those choices:
What kind of theme do I want?
If a particular building or natural backdrop would work well with your theme (urban, beach, forest, in-home, studio, etc.), look around your area for spots that meet your requirements. If you don't know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It's easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard. Ask family, friends or your photographer for ideas too.
Are you allowed to take pictures there?
Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it's not public property or available to the public, you might need to get permission first. It can be as easy as asking the owner if they agree to the use of their property. However, often an official permit needs to be obtained to legally work in a specific location. It can vary by city or county regulations. Your photographer will know where to ask and how to get a photography permit, should one be needed. Be prepared that some locations will charge more than others for such permits.
Is it accessible?
Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round or you might not be able to get to them at all. Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way.
How do you get to your location?
Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it.
Will the photo session be in a public place?
If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others. If not, you might want to rethink your choice in location
Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.