Photo Shoots: 10 Ideal Locations

Photo shoots. So much Fun! But the first decision you will usually make is where to actually hold the photo shoot.
 Many factors come into play when making a final decision and the more informed you are, the more likely you are to choose the perfect location for your needs.
 I have narrowed the most ideal locations (in my humble opinion) to 10 in-no-particular-order settings.

1. The Beach

The Beach is a tremendously stunning place to photograph any subject! From Maternity portraits, to pets running down the shoreline, you can create just about any type of image at the beach. But Beware: The harsh light can be a challenge. Even worse?


 It. Gets. Everywhere.

Try to go on a cooler, less crowded day of the week during early morning or late afternoon to get the best lighting. Avoid midday when the sun is directly overhead as the shadows will be extremely harsh on the face.


  • Bad weather can make great shots.
  • Perfect for creating silhouettes.
  • Windy conditions are the best excuse for flowy clothing.
  • Only pay cost of travel & parking.
  • No permit needed.


  • SAND! Enough said.
  • Very short time frame for lighting to get a great shot.
  • Easy to over-expose photos in harsh & bright lighting.
  • UV filters are highly recommended (aka MORE gear.)
  • Not much privacy if the beach is crowded= limited posing and lots of cropping later.

2. The Park

The Park is another super popular place to shoot portraits and is also the ideal location for shooting children. There are so many genuinely fun things to do at the park that getting a big, cheesy, natural smile is no problem snapping from even the grumpiest child. The key to getting interesting shots at a park is to explore. By moving around, switching up angles and taking images from all different perspectives, it shifts the “typical park” picture into an “artistic portrait.”


  • Fun shots that kids love to be in and end up looking super natural.
  • Great shade if there are trees nearby.
  • Cost of travel & parking only.
  • Large variety of posing & scenery.
  • Plenty of space.
  • No permit needed (usually.)


  • Playground equipment tends to be dirty & outdated.
  • Other children will more than likely be nearby and a major distraction.
  • Can seem boring if not composed interestingly enough.
  • No privacy as parks are open to the public.

3. Landmarks

Landmarks are not what you would call a spur-of-the-moment photo shoot. Both client(s) and photographer(s) must schedule accordingly if travel is needed. The photos themselves can tend to read as “cliche”, so there are several things to keep in mind to help you stand out from the crowds that are sure to be breathing down your neck as you pose with your family in front of the Eiffel Tower.


  • Easily recognizable in photographs.
  • Not typically terrible lighting conditions in most cases.
  • Traveling to a landmark is an experience in itself.


  • Without creativity, photos can be seen as cliche or uninteresting.
  • Strong possibility that  you will need a permit.
  • Not easily accessible at your own convenience.
  • Landmark will tend to dominate the photo.

4. Lakes and Rivers

Any still body of water can create gorgeous reflections that when paired with your subject, turn out a fantastic image that is well beyond what any backdrop can create. Even on a bad day, when fog is present, the fog makes for an interesting shot. The worst part about shooting in such a location is the insects (trust me, I recently experienced this first hand).

Use caution when getting close to the embankment as it tends to be extremely slippery.


  • Beautiful reflections!
  • Fog can create drama if used correctly.
  • Timing is not super important.
  • Typically a good amount of privacy.
  • Easily accessible.
  • No permit needed.


  • Insects!! Bring repellant.
  • Posing can be limited.
  • Embankment can be slippery. Pose with caution!
  • Not many places to change outfits.

5. Old Buildings

If you are aiming for a grungy feel to your photographs, an old, abandoned building is the ideal location. The structural wear portrays strong emotions when utilized correctly. Typically, you will have loads of privacy to shoot whatever style tickles your fancy, but beware. You must be sure to get an okay from the property owners before you actually arrive on location. 


  • Great for an interesting/different perspective.
  • Timing is not crucial.
  • Typically, old buildings are very private places.
  • Cost of travel is the only expense.


  • May not be easily accessible, depending on your location.
  • Must get owners’ permission before shooting, regardless of the condition of the building.
  • Possibility of running into vermin/insects.
  • Be cautious of unidentified occupants (squatters) and unstable buildings (sharp, rusty nails.)


If you have the proper equipment and both photographer and subject are skilled under water, you can take some extremely unique and intriguing photographs. Water is a great light diffuser and crowds are typically not an issue. Wildlife, depending on shooting location can either be a blessing or a curse. (Think Jaws vs. Finding Nemo.)


  • Unique and interesting pictures are pretty much guaranteed.
  • Timing is virtually unimportant.
  • Wildlife is unpredictable (and can make for some great shots!)
  • No crowds.
  • No permits.


  • Water-safe equipment is absolutely necessary.
  • Subject AND photographer must feel comfortable in/under the water
  • Wildlife is unpredictable. (and can eat you.)
  • Not always the most private.

7. Aerial

Aerial photography is another niche that does require skilled participants, but guarantees striking images when taken from such a perspective. The challenge is incorporating actual subjects in to the photograph.


  • Unique & interesting images are pretty much guaranteed.
  • Timing is not specifically a challenge.
  • Plenty of privacy (minus the pilot.)
  • No crowds.
  • Light is generally ideal unless filming at night above nature.


  • Details are limited as distance is so great.
  • Challenging to add people to the frame.
  • Can be costly.
  • Not easily accessible for everyone.
  • Clouds can obstruct view. Silver lining: clouds also make for a more interesting image in some cases.

8. Uncharted Territory

The last location that requires some type of skill is “Uncharted Territory.” Places like Antarctica and The Sahara Desert are beautifully barren. These locations offer exclusivity and timing is relatively unimportant, but you will need to have some kind of prior training for the environment you will be heading to. Unless of coarse, you create the “feeling” of desertion, which only requires photographic skill.


  • Timing is relatively unimportant.
  • There is a ton of privacy.
  • Lighting is not a huge deal.
  • NO crowds. That’s the point 😉
  • Super interesting shots.


  • Not easily accesible.
  • Costs of travel can be steep.
  • You will need “know-how” in extreme environments. Previous training is important.
  • Might need permits or guides.

9. Open fields

Open fields are the perfect location for an intimate photoshoot. They offer seclusion, but must not be taken for granted. It is easy to overpower the subject of the photograph with a large/distracting background. Paying close attention to composition and depth of field will ensure stunning results.


  • Timing is not critical for a great shot.
  • They are normally pretty private.
  • Lighting is not critical but back-lighting looks amazing!
  • Only cost is travel.


  • Not always easily accessible.
  • Owner’s permission must be granted before utilizing any open land, unless the land is part of public property.
  • Care must be taken in composition so the subject doesn’t have to compete with a dynamic background.

10. Big City Streets

Street photography is such a beautiful form of artistic expression when used correctly. It allows freedom of expression, and flexibility to shoot any time of day, while moving from location to location quickly. Be respectful of bystanders who may not want their picture taken, as well as local authorities should you come in contact.


  • Powerful images are everywhere.
  • Shoot anytime- there is always light!
  • Cost of travel can be inexpensive.
  • Easily accessible.
  • Bystanders may even pose for photos if asked.


  • NO privacy.
  • Large crowds.
  • Cost of travel can be expensive.
  • Permits might be needed.
  • Bystanders may not appreciate being in a photo.

Well y’all… that concludes the Top 10 locations for shooting stunning photographs.

Feel like I left something out? Let me know in the comments below!!

Itching for more photography tips and real-life interaction with other shutterbugs?        I would love to invite you to our (free!) group, Photography [YOU]niversity, where the focus is on YOU. Head on over and request an invite. I will see you on the other side! ♥♥

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