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Essence: Location

Lesson 7 from: The Ultimate Photo Storytelling Workshop

Finn Beales

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Lesson Info

7. Essence: Location

Finn discusses the importance of location, which includes supporting details and props and the impact it can have on your story.
Next Lesson: Essence: Character

Lesson Info

Essence: Location

So, where do you start? You need to plot. Easy, it's like being back at school. For that, you need three main elements. One, location, two, character, three, event. If you're a wedding or documentary photographer, you already have those three things in place. You have a bride and groom, you have a church, you have the wedding, obviously. But if you're shooting lifestyle, or brand photography. You're gonna need to do a little more legwork to get those things aligned, to put them in place. You're gonna need to do some work. Thinking about the event. The magic lies in what happens when those three elements collide, when they interact. So it's worth considering each one as players in their own right. So, let's look at location first. This is your stage. This is where the action is gonna happen, and the interaction between your characters, or character, and location is gonna happen. So it's super, super important to get this right. The location gives you an opportunity to embellish the stor...

y. It also gives your story context, recceing your locations is also very important ahead of shoot day. Arriving before the light is right, assessing your angles. In our case, I intend to take our car, our Land Rover, to the cliffs where we're gonna be shooting, so I can see what angle the sun is gonna be hitting it, and, therefore, which position I need to be in. Preparing is crucial. If you think in terms of your audience, versus you, you're on the ground experiencing everything. You're walking along the beach, you're feeling the sand between your toes, you're hearing the waves crash. Your audience doesn't have the opportunity to feel this. So, bring those elements into your photo set, into your story, so that they can feel what you are feeling. Capture that big epic landscape image, it's really important. It's like your culmination scene, but don't forget the other pieces to the puzzle, the details that make it up. Leave the epic behind for a minute, and get intimate. Photograph trees, leaves, sand, furniture if you're inside, signposts if you're in a street. All of these things are clues that will orientate your audience, or you can use them to send your audience into different directions when it comes to the edit. If you're working lifestyle brand, as I mentioned earlier, pour effort into establishing your scenes. Don't overlook props, ensure they're right for your story, and right for your client if you're working for someone. So, for example, on this shoot, we are working for a vintage Land Rover company. The company name is Cool & Vintage, but they do make modern builds of old cars. The first model they offered me, was a new-build or refurbished Land Rover, it was mint, it was beautiful, it was amazing. But the name Cool & Vintage spoke to me in a different way. I wanted something old, I wanted something that had some history, and story itself. So I chose the totally battered Series 1, and a Series 3 as a backup vehicle. It felt more appropriate to the story I want to tell, and more appropriate to the company name, Cool & Vintage. Likewise, with any supporting props, so we could have had like modern surfboards attached to the top of our truck, but it wouldn't feel right. So, the surfer that we are using in this shoot, and I'll come onto him in a second, when we talk about character, but the surfboards that he crafts are classic long boards, they date from the same era as our Land Rover. It all helps to reinforce the story. For example, in this shoot, we are working with a vintage Land Rover. I have an idea for an image of our character using a camera to take pictures of the truck, but I don't really want to be, I don't want him to be using like a, iPhone or a modern camera, it doesn't quite feel right. So it brought with me an old Hasselblad, I might not use it, but it's there, and it suits the era of the vehicle, it looks beautiful, but more importantly it reinforces the vehicle, it reinforces the story and enriches the narrative. So my takeaway, is the location should contribute as much as the character, focus on the details, and bring your audience along for the ride.

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Ratings and Reviews

Brent Morris

Fantastic My thoughts on the storytelling workshop. The short is; it’s fantastic. The long is I loved all the details covered, from shot types and the ideas behind them to the call sheets and shot lists, and the whole process. I felt like I had a better understanding of how to schedule a professional shoot and I really felt like I had a much better grasp on many ideas and concepts, and I believe I’ve been able to improve my photography with them, so thank you and Finn. It really is fantastic.

Oswaldo Martinez

A path to better stories Very happy I got this workshop. Finn and Alex do a great job at teaching highly useful methods and specific advice to help you improve your own work, and more importantly, tell better stories that are meaningful to you.

Tommaso Selleri

Simply the best This is simply the best workshop out there on photography and storytelling. Finn is awe inspiring and so real and authentic. A pleasure to watch, a joy to learn from such master. I really hope a volume 2 is coming soon! Thank you for this one!

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