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

Its not bragging if you can "Back It Up"- Muhammad Ali


So as of writing this, I have Netflix playing on one monitor while searching for a new external hard drive for my iMac. I have a 5TB option now that is great but since recently switching back to Apple products, my drive is read-only and that's not helpful. I thought I had formatted it properly to read and write via Mac and PC but apparently, I was wrong. As much as I loathe admitting my shortcomings, I must admit my failure here. Anyone who takes digital photos, on your phone or with a camera you NEED to be backing your information up somewhere. I won't get into options or my opinions on them but wanted to bring some simple awareness to the matter. I am happy to help you find the drive or online service that would work best for you but since this is a case by case basis, I would ask you reach out to me personally on this matter. Not all options are created equally.

Why is it important to back this information up? Maybe you have the brand new phone ( pick your poison here ) and accidentally drop it in the pool before you could upload your files to the cloud. So now they cease to exist. Maybe you're new to photography, graphic design, or even writing and without backing up your data, its simply playing a modern version of Russian Roulette. One power surge and everything disappears. If you work on an iPad, laptop, or desktop you are at risk. Don't get me wrong, you may never have a hard drive crash, or power surge failure but isn't your work worth protecting? Archiving and passed down to others? Life happens constantly and our technology is as vulnerable time itself.

This is especially true due to living in a society so dependent on immediate gratification. We take images to upload to social media hoping for what exactly? Likes? Hearts? Attention? We post them and they are as good as gone. On to the next image, the next big thing. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy social media myself but I am trying desperately to keep that to a minimum and to try and help promote business. I also enjoy keeping up with my friends and colleagues but what happens if those servers go down as well. Unlikely I know but what if? User data drives these sites and when that data fades, a new platform steps up. See ya later Myspace, and hello Facebook.

Ok, let's get serious here for a moment if I may. I would truly enjoy comments below answering this question. When is the last time you printed your work? If you're writing a novel, and only posses a digital version and there happens to be a failure, then what? I am thrilled to say that we are seeing an uprise of film shooters and the analog community grow as a whole. Why is this important? Well, you will have to follow me on Youtube for the answer to that as I am trying to gather my thoughts for my next video.

My advice to you? Print that novel, print your photos and look for the invaluable attachment that is possible in the tangible. Don't get me wrong, I love my technology and hope its last forever but I also don't want anything to happen to me, leaving my loved ones hacking into my electronic database for memories of and with me. Hoping to find some digital link to who I was and the life I lived. This is truly a sad state of mind if you take a moment to consider this.

I hope if you are a writer, I hope you have a favorite pen, a photographer with your favorite print, graphic artist with a framed piece hanging for all to enjoy somewhere. We desperately need more actual, physical pieces of our work in this digital world. When is the last time you visited a loved one and flipped through a photo album? How did that make you feel? Did it connect you to a moment in a way that your Instagram feed simply lacks? Of course, it did, and thankfully so. I hope you find inspiration here, in my work but more importantly in your own.