Preparing Your Photo Shoot On Location

On location photography is completely different from shooting in the studio. You have no control over the lights and the shadows.

Overall, the photography comes to rely a lot on instinct and experience when on-location shoots are concerned. However, there is still some preparation that you can put in to have certain control over the elements of weather and nature. Numerous apps and resources could be pretty helpful to helping plan your photo shoot.

On-Location Photo Shoot Tips

Weather and Location Planning

Before you start your shoot on location, you need to ensure that the weather is suitable. Especially in the UK, the weather can be capricious and thus, these apps become pretty important

Google Earth

If you wish to investigate your location in every way possible, then Google Earth is your best option. You can get a close look at all the details through it. There is a distance scale and it also comes with a sliding switch which allows you to zoom in and out of elements. Another advantage is that through Google Earth, you can view other people’s photos and find out exactly what their position was when the photo was taken, and other details as well.

Ordnance Survey Maps

You can buy and download a number of maps related to your location and study them to plan your on-location photo shoot properly. Their map shop would get you everything you need. They also have the facility of custom made maps for your own individual purpose where you can choose between scales, design the cover and basically, centre it anywhere you like.

Weather Checks

As mentioned before, the weather in the UK is flippant and has a mind of its own. You do not want to get stuck in a thunderstorm or any such weather when you go out for your photo shoot. Weather checks can help you with that. Make it a point that before you leave for your shoot, you check out the forecasts for the location and equip yourself accordingly.

Going on a Recce

If going on a recce is possible, there is nothing better than this option for researching and preparation for an on-location photo shoot. Basically, you set out towards your location and spend some time actually working out the suitability of the location and its elements. It gives you an excellent view and feel of the location you are going to shoot in. If there is a possibility of any future issues, you would be able to detect them in advance through this exercise.

Apps for Elevation and Light On Location

These are a few tools that would make your session and composition more accurate:


You can carry a basic compass with you to find out which direction you are shooting in. It would add some amount of accuracy in your head and also, into your composition. If you have a smartphone, you can install the Smart Compass app. The pro version comes with even more features like the ability to point to true north, giving you military coordinates and metal detector, among others.

Sun Seeker

This is a great app for people who use an iPhone and iPad. As the name suggests, it allows you to see the suns path so that you can gauge how it would affect the elements in your location (lighting and shadow). It is also pretty efficient and accurate, and it tells you about the setting and rising times of the sun too.


Another app that not just helps you with the sun but also with the moon is FocalWare. You can accurately determine the height and path of the sun and moon and plan your shoot accordingly. The most important thing to know is that there would be certain things you simply cannot prepare for. In such times, just go with your instinct and you might end up with a better composition than you could possibly hope for.


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