How to Plan a Creative Editorial Shoot for Your Blog // Part 3: Finding A Location

Wanna know the one thing that typically takes up most of my planning when it comes to shoots?
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Finding a location!
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In my experience, the location we use for a shoot can make or break the entire story. Today I want to share a few ways you can choose a location for your next creative shoot and the process I went through to find the location for this shoot.
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(Pssst here are Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them!)
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For this particular shoot, the theme started with one thing — a pineapple. From there my mind went wild and I envisioned shooting in a tropical wonderland (which I feel like we got pretty darn close to). Once I knew I wanted it to be a fun pineapple-themed shoot, I started researching locations in Dallas.
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I was so lucky to be able to shoot with Dallas blogger Jordan Roberts of Cocktails and Converse – who is extremely fun, stylish and so joyful to be around. Without her energy, enthusiasm and willingness to try something new, this shoot wouldn’t have been nearly as fun!
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The first thing I did was Google tropical areas in Dallas. I found a few nurseries and larger parks that had palm trees but I knew I wanted to have more flexibility, space and time to work — so that meant finding somewhere we could move around and stay as long as we wanted.
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I kept looking and found a yard that had palm trees AND bamboo trees and I was sold. The only issue was it was a home address, which meant I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to use it or not.
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I contacted the owners of the yard — who also happened to have a website set up about the yard — and to my surprise, they answered and said we could use it! We did have to reschedule once since it had rained recently and they wanted the yard looking its best, but we did eventually shoot there and it was JUST what I had in mind.
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The key is to keep looking and don’t give up just because you think they’ll say no. I was pretty sure they’d say no to a complete stranger, but I shared my website and pictures and I think that helped build credibility and trust with them.
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So how do you decide on a location? What are keys to picking a good place?
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Once you have a theme or story for your shoot, here are a few ways you can narrow down a type of location:
  • Decide if you’d prefer an urban or more rural location – is the story better told downtown or in a park?
  • Does having a more colorful or neutral location add more to the story?
  • Do you need a location with stationary objects (e.g., tables, chairs, stairs)?
  • Do you want it to be more rustic, modern or cozy?
For our pineapple shoot, I knew I wanted something with lots of green – preferably palm trees – and that’s about all I wanted since most of the emphasis would be on the props, accessories and incredibly fun Kate Spade outfits. So the location doesn’t necessarily have to be super detailed and intricate if you want the outfit to play a bigger part.
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Once you know what type of location you want, how do you find the perfect place?
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Here are a few ways to search for locations in your area:  
  • Google key words you have in mind — I used something similar to “tropical yard in Dallas” or “palm trees in Dallas” to start and went through the results page from there.
  • Google Map/Google Earth — I use this a lot if it’s really far away from me to see which direction it’s facing. This way I know what type of light we’ll have.
  • Ask around social media — if Google yields nothing for you but you REALLY want a certain location, ask on social media. I’ve seen a lot of people get feedback on Facebook.
  • ShotHotspot — This site lets you search for locations all around the world! They’re even categorized by landscape, architecture, urban, etc.
  • Drive around — I’ve found a lot of locations this way. I’ll keep an eye out for great places in between or on the way to shoots and take a picture of the location if I can (with the street sign if possible) to refer back to.

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A few other things to keep in mind when looking for locations: 
  • What time will you be shooting? The best times are typically a couple hours after sunrise and a couple hours before sunset since the light is softer.
  • Are you shooting inside? If you’ll be inside with natural light (e.g., in a building with lots of windows), you can typically get away with shooting in the middle of the day because the light will be softer inside so you have more flexibility.
  • What direction does the location face? If the building you’re using faces west and you’re planning to shoot at the end of the day, the light will be directly facing you and will be in your eyes (which is no fun). You may not want to shoot then since it’s going to be harsh lighting — if you can shoot in the morning when the light is on the opposite side you’ll have more even shade and softer lighting.

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Should you contact the location beforehand? 
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Typically, if you’re shooting in a public location (e.g., a park, sidewalk, streets), it’s okay to show up the day of and shoot, assuming you’re not bringing a ton of huge props that would take up a lot of space. However, if you’re shooting in a smaller cafe or somewhere more private, it’s typically a good idea to contact them in advance and ask if you can shoot at their location.
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​It could also help to mention you’re a blogger and would be happy to share a little about their store and location – this helps add credibility to your name since the business would also be getting publicity from your shoot.
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Stay tuned for Part 4 of How to Plan a Creative Editorial Shoot for your Blog in the next few weeks!
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P.S. Are you a blogger or entrepreneur in Dallas? I’m currently booking shoots for the fall — You can book a shoot with me here!
Dallas blogger photographer 

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