Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Location, Location, Location

I just got off the phone with a client from the UK.  Since she would not be present at the scheduled shoot in Germany, she had some questions regarding how I would handle the photo shoot.  This made me realize that what I do for a living as a photographer isn’t as easily understood as I had assumed.  Simply put, I am a location photographer.  I pick up my gear and go on location to do events, weddings, portrait shoots, photo reportage, documentary photography, exhibitions, architecture and travel photography—and I’ve been doing so for more than 15 years on two continents.

There is a big difference between a location photographer and a studio photographer.  A studio photographer deals with control:  lights, backdrops, seating, posing and repetition.  This formulaic approach to photography allows the studio photographer maximum output with minimal input.  This is also why the studio photographer is cheaper than a location photographer.

I have also been asked if I have my own studio by prospective clients, to which I would like to reply “Of course not!  Where is the creativity in that?”  What separates a location photographer from a studio photographer is flexibility.  My photography education and experience have taught me that flexibility is the best piece of gear in my pack. Naturally, I have worked in a studio environment as part of my photography experience, but I prefer the creativity and freedom of location work. Also, the latest digital technology allows me to carry a micro studio with me and emulate the results of a studio environment anywhere in the world.

I explained to my client that I would arrive early, speak to my on site contacts and go over all of the logistics of the shoot, get an idea of exactly what they want, scout the location for lighting, angles, etc. and give them everything they ask for in the final images.  As a location photographer I am able to handle any eventuality and I possess the expertise to solve any problem which may arise.

This is what separates the garden variety studio photographer in his/her controlled environment from the seasoned location photographer.  This is also one of the reasons I enjoy location work:  every shoot is unique, there are no formulas.  And my talent, skill and experience shows in every photo shoot I take on.  I look forward to my upcoming assignments in Berlin, Leipzig, Prague and beyond...