One of the biggest questions I’m asked from clients is, where will our session take place? Every photographer has different thoughts about locations. Some spend hours scouting for private places off the grid, while others prefer more public spots. Believe it or not, there is a lot of thought process that goes into how to choose a photoshoot location in Austin, Texas! Here’s a little peek into my thought process.
First, we must consider the dynamic of your family, which really means the ages and personalities of your kids and if there are any special needs or circumstances. Why is this important? I probably would not recommend that we shoot on high cliff areas if you have a wild toddler. I would instead direct us to a wide, more open space where your toddler can roam freely. If someone in your family is in a wheelchair, we will need to consider what spaces can safely accommodate one. The make-up of your family is the first consideration that we take when choosing a location.
Another question I often ask is what kind of area of Austin you’re in and how far you’re willing to travel. Being totally transparent, since I live in the Bee Cave/Lakeway area, I prefer to shoot around here (with some exceptions) because I’m so comfortable with the spots. However, I have favorite locations in most parts of Austin. If a family has a child who doesn’t do well in the car, I try my best to accommodate requests to stay closer to home as long as we can choose a location that works well.
Some popular spots are popular because they’re so amazing, but subsequently, you are going to have to deal with higher foot traffic from other photographers or pedestrians enjoying the space. If you have kids who are a bit older, this is pretty easy to do! We can quite easily dodge a biker or share space with other people. With younger kids, though, they tend to want to stray and explore. Therefore, I try to book sessions with littles at locations where we can have our own little bubble of space. This also goes back to what I mentioned about family dynamics playing a huge role.
Your Session Goals.
The most fun part about photography is finding a spot that you are drawn to! If you envision your kids splashing in a creek or wading through tall grass, then you bet that I’m going to try to find a location that will bring your vision to life. I shoot all over the country, though, so sometimes the images you are drawn to are not in our geographic area. In that case, I will recommend a location that achieves as close to an aesthetic as we can get here in Austin!
Different articles of clothing look great in different settings. For example, a whimsical, boho vibe is going to look incredible in a field with tall grass or a creek with large, beautiful trees. Jeans and a sweater can work for a park, too, but also looks great in a more urban setting like South Congress or downtown. It probably wouldn’t be the most ideal choice for say, a creek or lake session. Typically if a family is very set on a location, I will help with outfits that fit it accordingly. Likewise, if you want to pick outfits first, I’ll help you choose a setting where they’ll shine.
Personality of Your Family.
This is different than your family dynamics, because this takes it a step further to ask where your family feels comfortable and spends the most time. For example, I’ve had clients who live downtown and prefer to stick to urban areas. Their kids don’t like the feel of grass on their legs, and the thought of running into a bug or creature is just not something they are comfortable with. This is when we would pivot to a more urban setting or a setting that has a lot of man made elements, like cobblestone or paved roads, so they’ll feel comfortable. On the contrary, I’ve had clients who eat, sleep, and breathe nature and trails. I always want to make sure I’m placing you in a setting where you’re going to be most at ease.