How to Find Your Next Brand Session Location: Part 2 | DMV + Maryland Brand Photographer

I’m excited to continue this mini-series all about selecting an ideal location for your brand session! (Get caught up on part one here!) Like I mentioned last week, I fully understand how daunting it can be to start searching for THE perfect spot for your brand session. In this series, I’m offering up a few quick tips and tricks to help simplify your search + to start guiding you towards a spot that will really help us tell the story of your brand.

Last week, we went over a number of things I believe each space should have, and this week, we’ll be putting that information to the test by chatting about a number of places you can dig into to source specific locations! When it comes to selecting brand locations, it is so important that you are incredibly intentional in the process. While I’m always more than happy to weigh in on specific locations, ultimately, the final call when it comes to selecting a brand session location is the responsibility of my client! Based on the individual needs of my clients, I typically recommend that we select one location that you love and that we can maximize for the majority of the session with an additional location (if needed!) that we’ll spend just a little less time exploring.

An example: In a 4-hour session, we may split our time 3 hours between one location, 15 minutes for travel, and 45 minutes at the final location! You’ll always want the locations to be within walking or short driving location— think a 5-15 minute commute or less to help maximize our work time. Of course, this won’t be true for every session as each session has a custom timeline, but I just wanted to offer one quick suggestion so you could visualize how this could play out!

Here’s the thing when it comes to selecting locations: sometimes you have to pay for the best spot. I know investing in rental fees on top of your session can be a little bit of a bummer, but when I say it is worth every single penny and more, I’m not lying! The perfect location that will aid in telling the story of your brand is worth its weight in gold, friend! A brand resonant location will help your photos stand out, make sense, and connect with your ideal client. It can be easy to want to skimp on this portion of the process, but ultimately, if you are investing in a brand experience, I want you to get EVERYTHING out of it and then some… which may mean an additional location investment.

3 places to source brand session locations

Utilize Your Own Space

Consider your brand… if your audience has come to know your home/office/store/studio as part of your brand or you host clients frequently, it may be amazing to utilize your own space! (Just consider these points to ensure your home/office/studio will be the BEST possible spot!)

Home: I’ve found that your own home can be a great backdrop for telling the story of your brand, especially if you tend to incorporate cozy elements, lifestyle/cooking elements, your family, or love, love love your home office and feel it ties into telling the story of your brand.

Office or Store: If your office/store has killer light, plenty of windows, and gorgeous space AND coordinates with the bulk of your session concepts, it may just be THE perfect location! Offices are a great location when you are hoping to tell the story of your workday, behind the scenes, and collaboration with clients or teammates!

Studio: If you own and operate a studio, let’s definitely consider this as a potential location! We’ll want to make sure that there are plenty of different types of locations within your studio that could help us tell different stories— think behind the scenes, profiling a workday, or client/team collaboration.

If you think your home/office/store/studio may be a great spot but just aren’t sure, I usually recommend taking a video of the space + sending that to your photographer! Video tours help SO much more instead of photos.

Borrow from a friend

If you don’t have a space you love but know a friend that has THE perfect space to share the story of your brand, ask to borrow! The biggest caveat here: it has to make sense.

Example: If you don’t own a studio or don’t ever work in studios, it may not make sense to select that as your location just because it looks cool!

We’ll chat more about what may make sense for your brand location in your pre-consultation call as well as your pre-session planning call. Borrowing from a friend can be a really great option to save a bit on rental costs while incorporating a space that may feel a bit more on-brand than what you have in your own spaces. I typically find that the BEST locations to borrow from friends are well decorated and well-lit homes or venue-like spaces with large, open spaces.

Visit a favorite or on-brand spot

The sky is truly the limit here! Perhaps your favorite coffee shop, winery, restaurant, boutique hotel, dream wedding venue, a place to enjoy happy hour, or something else? That said, with visiting a favorite/on-brand spot, there are a little more logistics to consider! We’ll always need permission, occasionally, there can be other people that we need to dodge or coordinate around, and we’ll need to ensure that we have variety in the locations where we’ll be working. Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure that there are convenient places to park + a spot where you’ll be able to change, if necessary! Again, similar to the point above, this spot has to make sense! If you aren’t a big coffee drinker, it would make no sense to station ourselves at a winery if this isn’t a big part of your brand!

Additionally, with COVID, we’ll always have to navigate safety issues, local regulations, and how masks may play into that.

Bonus: Utilize a site like…

Finally, know that renting a space for your brand session is something I recommend tremendously. If you weren’t able to find a dream brand session location within these three categories, don’t worry, friend, you still have a million options! Instead of “making something work” that you already have and don’t necessarily love, consider utilizing an online site to source + rent the perfect spot! Here are a few of my favorites:

AirBNB | Boutique Hotels | Peerspace | Home Studio List | Local Work Spaces or Studios

* As always, remember, it is customary to inform a space owner that we’ll be utilizing the space for what is technically considered a commercial photo session! We will need permission from the owner/manager to ensure they are comfortable with the session happening in the space. It is my client’s responsibility to handle this portion of location selection. 

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