Friday, 31 May 2013

Finding the right locations!

I posted a little comment on a forum discussion earlier and it got me thinking it was quite a good subject for a blog so here goes! I might even add a slightly different subject for my next blog because I have far to much to say on the subject and I would rather not bore everybody to tears!

I've also attached some images from a couple of recent shoots. The first image is by the talented James Waddell, this is one of the film images from our shoot last week. I just loved the slightly washed out colour that was going on here.

All images below are by John Mcnairn from our day out on Friday, we got pretty lucky in that we "winged" it location wise and found a pretty awesome location on top of a hill with a beautiful tree'd (is tree'd a word?) area.

The most inspiring thing for me personally is location work, I adore visiting old buildings wether they are ruins or still have roofs I love old stone work and the original features of some of the places I have visited. The way the light comes into the windows and bounces off nearby walls. The texture of the wood after years of woodworm activity, the colour of wet stone, a wooden door which was once painted a vibrant green faded and flaking over the years of being exposed to the weather. It all just makes me so happy.

So basically getting out and about is one of the main things I find to be inspired by, people often post up asking where a specific shot on my portfolio was taken or they will post up "anybody know any cool locations?" - I always think thats a bit of a lazy way of doing things, the rest of us have to do some research and lots of milage to find something funky so why hand it to these people at the drop of a hat. In saying that though once I have used a found location for the purpose or original idea I wanted then I don't really care about sharing locations with other people.

So get out and about - in Scotland a good thing to look for are brown signs (that made me giggle) what I mean by that are those which point us to something of interest, granted quite a few of them will be touristy/an uninteresting stone 3 miles from the carpark but the only way you will find out is by getting off your arse and looking.  A location doesn't just knock on your door and say "hello, come over to my place next Tuesday for a shoot if you like" (people might say that who have a nice location but an interesting tree or old building certainly won't).

Another thing about locations is that you can really work with nature, mimic the trees or building/create shapes in doorways and just experiment. Sometimes and even I can admit this I get a little un inspired when I'm faced with a boring tree with no interest and working with boring trees is quite difficult especially if the photographer wants to spend half an hour shooting me with an uninspiring tree. So photographers, if you are going to make us stand or sit next to a tree make sure its in some way interesting.

I have a few ordinance survey maps - the explorer kind. These are pretty handy to have, I must be a water baby because I'm always seeing the water on the maps and planning little trips to those locations. Seriously Rory and I will get out a map and just go walking in no particular direction just to find something cool. Sometimes we don't but hey its good to get out and keep fit even if you don't find that perfect shooting location.

(Thought I should chuck a colour image in there.. Just because my hair was such a smashing colour against the green backdrop)

Another cool thing about location work is that you get to spend a little time between sets chatting to the person you are working with and getting to know them a little. I don't mean tell me about your life in great detail but its nice being on friendly terms with people so you can really relax in their company. Its very rare for me not to actually get on with anybody I have worked with. You really do have to be a complete ass for that to happen and it doesn't happen often.... thankfully....

Don't blame the "no car" thing either, granted some shoots are easier when you are away from populated places but not everywhere is busy all of the time and we are all within walking distance of somewhere quiet at some point during the day or night. When Rory and I lived in town (without a car) we would get up at sunrise during the summer and walk 3 miles to shoot nudes or we would use the beautiful buildings/alleys around town. Utilise everything you possibly can!

Do any friends have access to cool locations? maybe they own a pretty swanky house or interesting back garden - there is never any harm in asking and shooting in locations other people can't get to will mean your image is totally unique. Don't forget that sometimes its worth paying for use of a cool location, shooting with permission is so much nicer than feeling like you are "up to no good". With permission you don't have to worry about people stumbling across you (especially when it comes to old buildings). I have been caught out a few times in places I shouldn't have been and its not only embarrassing but if it happens before any images have been shot you want to kick yourself about it. Angry farmers and security guards are not nice people when pissed off!

Thought I would pop in some other pictures from a shoot I had a couple of weeks ago with young photographer Ross Wilson, I bought some smoke bombs earlier in the week and we headed off for a "sunset" shoot. We ended up in a dark crypt and a wine cellar, upon leaving these dark and gritty locations we were faced with the most beautiful pink sky.. I'm guessing the sunset looked good.

I'm really looking forward to the shots we got in the cellar :D its quite difficult working in complete darkness while choking on smoke bomb fumes but from what I could tell on the back of the camera they were worth the pain. Just glad Ross brought a torch so he could actually focus on me or we would have been screwed!

I better get off as its 4am, I have been sorting/decorating and generally running about crazy all evening and actually started this blog at about 3pm and have been adding to it gradually all evening between the frantic house work and painting. I can sleep easy tonight knowing its done, although I do have to be up in 6 hours so no more words from me!

Have a lovely weekend all