Location, Location, Location

Watauga River

Watauga River

Every time I book a session outside of a wedding, the topic of  “ what location should we use” comes up.  So often  that it led to this entry.  Everyone I work with has an opinion and preferences, like we all do, but when it comes making the choice of location then no one knows where to go. I am happy to help find someplace that suits the mood of the session  and I am very happy to take people to my favorite spots as well, because every day and every session is unique. So I wanted to write a quick entry with a few pointers for you. Not specific locations as I’m not sure where you are when reading this but a few general facts that apply or at least in my case. 


1) Lets start with the obvious factor, the weather. When choosing a location it is always helpful if the location offers a covered option if there is a chance of rain.

I know that sounds obvious but its worth mentioning. 

2) Options. This one is important to me. I prefer having a few different looks in every session and if the location your choosing has a few useable areas then your off to a great start. 

3) Timing. This is a 2 part point. Knowing the busiest times to avoid can be hugely beneficial but not a deal breaker. This keeps other people out of your frame that are passing by, but it also keeps the session flowing and thus easier on you or your client.  Secondly, if this is a sunset session, you should probably know when sunset is. That sounds too simple to even need mentioning, but the sun sets differently in different locations at different times. This can be due to impending views or if you are atop a Mountain Vista the sun may hang a little higher in the sky. 

4) Permissions. This one is is very important to some locations. Some places need written permission, and others may not. You wont know if you haven’t been here prior or without making a phone call to ask.  I will also file Cost in here as well because this too is location per location based.

5) Lastly, make your choice personal. I always find my session are stronger as a whole when my clients help choose the location. They may make the decision because its a special place to them, because others suggest it, or per the list of things the client is looking for, the photographer may make the suggestion.  No matter why the location is chosen make sure to ask if there is importance to it, as well as asking if its somewhere new for them. This allows you to help guide the session and keep your clients at ease and thus easier to photograph. 

These are simply some suggestions that I use and thought might be helpful to others. If you disagree, I am very open to a conversation below, and if you find any of these helpful, I also hope to hear from you in the comments.  

Bonus info! Who doesn’t want more than that thought they were getting?

You don’t need a grand space to make wonderful photos. You don’t need to hike for hours to find the perfect view ( but I’m happy to do this haha ), but you do need someone who knows how to work well within and with the space available. So hire a pro every time. So how do I get experience if I’m a new photographer and your telling everyone to only work with a pro? Well that’s simple, start a conversation with a photographer local to you who you are inspired by and ask if they mind your tagging along sometime. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and if you can add something please let me know below. Until next time- Jeremy

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Grayson Highlands and Dinosaurs

Adventure Portraits

I was blessed to be able to capture William and Rebekah’s wedding 2 years ago. I have also had the extreme pleasure of working with them several times since that November day. Rebekah messaged me asking about doing something special to celebrate their upcoming anniversary, and I was excited to see what they had in mind. Little did I know at the time there would be a dinosaur on a mountain top but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled that it happened. Let me back up and catch you up. She and I were discussing locations, and she mentioned that they really wanted views and mountains, and knowing where they live, we quickly settled on the amazing Grayson Highlands State Park, in Virginia. She mentioned they wanted to wear their wedding attire to celebrate and to do something different. I asked how quickly we could make this happen! We found a date that worked for us both, and once we were close to the day, the weather was throwing us curve balls. We are booked almost every weekend for the rest of the year so finding another day seemed difficult if not impossible, but fortunately we aren’t afraid of the elements. Any of them! So we decided to go for it and believe me when I say, it was the best decision we could have made. They planned to hike up comfortable clothing and switch over once we made it to the summit. The week of the session, Rebekah messaged me to let me know she had a surprise for William and wanted to make sure we could make it work and we worked out the logistics quickly. We met up at the entrance to the park, hugs were exchanged because we are friends and friends hug it out. I knew where I wanted to take them and after checking our location via compass we chased sunset. This is where the pictures speak for themselves because this is how we communicate our vision best.

We had sunshine, fog, and a sky of fire for about 60 seconds. Being confident in your ability and with your equipment allows those moments to not pass in vain. What are you waiting for, contact us now to join the fam. Also the beast ( that still needs a name ) my Pentax 645n medium format film camera came out for a few frames and I am excited about those frames for a few reasons. The film was provided by a great friend of ours, the ever so talented Katy Sergent of Katy Sergent Photography and she also shares a passion for the outdoors and Grayson Highlands State Park. This creates a new value that cant be explained or duplicated in my opinion. Those will be coming soon so follow us on Instagram.