You could be a marvelous photographer. Your photographs could adhere to the Rule of Thirds and utilize lead-in lines; they could have quality resolution and perfect lighting. While these fundamentals are vital, they are not what make a photograph great. A great photograph includes the basics and also elicits an emotional response. A great photograph makes its audience feel something. That said, it only takes a few beach portraits for a viewer to feel bored. There are only so many ways to make a family dressed in khakis sitting awkwardly on a sand dune interesting. Our advice to you – ditch the typical locations. Bridges, the beach, the studio, a pumpkin patch… These spots can yield beautiful photographs. You, however, want your photos to be more unique. It’s all about location, location, location…
Here are five unexpected locations for your photography...
1. A library
A typical library has large windows which allow for an abundance of natural light. As a result of the quiet space, your subjects will be naturally inclined to lean nearer to each other and interact with shared looks and whispers. Their body language will transfer into your photographs as quiet intimacy. For example, have a child sitting in his mother’s lap as she reads to him. Capture them tracing the sentences across the pages of a classic children’s book with their fingers.
2. Home sweet home
Most people overlook the home as an option. Choosing your subject’s home will allow them to feel comfortable and familiar (a luxury that isn’t always available in a studio). There are many opportunities for photography in the home; you just need to be creative. Photograph your subjects cooking together, playing soccer in the backyard, or decorating a Christmas tree.
That’s right, puddles. Muddy and wet, a puddle is something you should generally avoid. No one wants mud-spattered shoes, right? Well, bend down and that muddy puddle becomes a mirror. Experiment with the reflection of the skyline or an engaged couple embracing. Your photographs here will have a magical and organic feeling.
4. A farmer’s market
What better place to capture the fruit of local labor (literally, the fruit) than the farmer’s market? An open-air market is accompanied by early morning light and plenty of color. That, in addition to the people who attend, makes this the perfect place to experiment with candid photography. You’ll encounter farmers, families, florists, and at least one dog (a considerable benefit) at this location.
5. A rest area
A rest area provides plenty of photography opportunities if you keep an open mind. Capture a lovely brunch at the picnic tables or on a blanket in the grassy area. Photograph butterflies and bumblebees fluttering near the flowers and bushes. Don’t forget to take advantage of the rest area’s tribute to its state. The state flag, a historical monument, or a boulder with the state motto carved into it gives you the chance to capture the pride and tourism of a rest area.
Without an element of intrigue, you may find that your photos fall flat. Before condemning yourself, your camera, or your subject, consider the scenery. Dennis Stock could have photographed James Dean in a pumpkin patch but it never would have made the cut. Stock chose to photograph James Dean walking through Times Square in the rain. Taking photos in the rain isn’t expected but that photograph certainly is iconic.
You want your photography to make the cut. You want it to be unique. Once you’ve grown accustomed to your camera and you feel happy with your skills as a photographer, scout out your nearby unexpected locations. Always be prepared to find the beauty in mud puddles and opportunity in your own backyard.