Lets talk about something a little bit fun, scouting locations if often over looked by some photographers, which is sad as it is a vital skill set that a photographer needs, and this is not limited to landscapes, but portrait photography as well.
Scouting locations helps you see what you have to work with such as light , safety as well as the general details in the area.
some things that you need to take note of when you do go out to look for locations should be:
1 – Scouting at the right time of day, this gives you a good idea of how the natural light will impact your location.
2 – take some photos of the location, helps you get an idea of what you have to work with
3 – evaluate the area, meaning check things like safety , cellphone reception , available power and such, make a good evaluation of the area insuring it covers everything you need
4 – use google maps to drop pins with notes so that you know which area is where, would suck not being able to find a great place when you need it
5 – check the pricing and availability, some locations need money to gain access to them if this is the case you need to know how much it would cost so you can adjust your price accordingly, as well it helps knowing when you are allowed into a location and the restrictions around the location itself
6 – parking and dressing rooms, you need a place for models to get ready or you need to know if they should arrive ready, parking is essential as you do not want to stop in the middle of no where and leave your car standing while you hike 5 km away, a location should have proper and easy to access parking, or at least safe parking
7 – light o mother of light, always check the light of a location , some light conditions such a reflective light could make or brake anything that you have in mind, knowing how the light works at different times of day would safe you so much time when planing a shoot to a scouted location
8 – talk with some locals if you can find them, they know the in and outs of locations and some times this can be extremely handy for knowing if a location has gang activity or things as such, a location might only look as good as it does at that time, locals knowledge is a good source to tap into
9 – examine the elements, such as sun , rain snow , wind and other elements these will directly impact the location you are scouting, knowing if the location has extreme wind all the time or things like that help you plan which time of day or even which time of year would have the correct conditions for shooting at the location
10 – decide where to setup your gear and which angle is your primary focus, having a good location is key but also having a good angle in mind saves so much time, once you have the shot you want sure anything else goes, but stick to what you have in mind
11 – revisit the location, this is impotent as you might never know that a location is even still around after a few weeks, with construction and other elements some locations might be great now but be gone in a weeks time
12 – keep notes, keep as many notes as possible on a location, everything from the above in notes would make it much easier to know what goes on at a location and makes it much easier to explain to clients and models that you have this location that looks like this that has these things going for it at these times of the year
13 – do not spend to much time at a location that clearly does not offer you anything that you or a client might be looking for, this is impotent as spending a day trip out to a location that has nothing to offer but looks kind of good on photos might be a good way to waist a entire trip for basically nothing, know when to give up on a location