Tips For Photographing Difficult Locations

lavender-5While many of my pictures look idyllic, I don't actually live in a magical wonderland of brilliant backdrops! I mean, I do live in a pretty magical place, but sometimes we're taking pictures next to parking lots or choosing an angle that hides the hideous office building I'm posing next too. The trick isn't always having a beautiful location, but rather having a creative approach to that location and seeing the diamond in the rough. There is no more apt example of this than these pictures I took while visiting my family in the States and attending a lavender festival with them. When they invited me to the festival I pictured rows upon rows of lush lavender stretching on to the horizon (basically I had visions of Provence) and thought if we got there early enough it would also be quiet enough to snap a few pictures without a crowd. Well, we got there just after it opened to find a few rows of lavender (some obviously struggling to survive the rather mixed weather of this season), lined with gravel, manned by several volunteers in bright orange tee shirts, and an already sizable crowd. Still, I hunted around and set up a shot and with my mother's help got to shooting. At a certain angle the lavender looked like what I had envisioned and with enough patience we got a few pictures without people walking through the background or foreground of the shots. While it took patience and was a tricky shoot, I was also fighting back laughter the whole time! In addition to people walking in front of the camera, there was also some running commentary on my posing from some nearby strangers, "oh now she's twirling! Wait look, now she's kneeling--maybe we should try that." Sometimes those diamond in the rough locations are a challenge, but that doesn't mean it's not a fun experience or even just a hilarious one! I've included some of the more "real" shots from this day to further illustrate how it went. Even my outfit suiting the location was a bit of a fluke since I hadn't packed with the thought of this (or any other shoots in mind) and just grabbed a lightweight dress for the hot weather and my favorite straw tote. I hope if you're struggling to find that dream location this post will be an encouragement to you; while some locations are dreamy, sometimes it's about working with what you have and getting creative. Oh, and while the lavender lemonade got a mixed review from my family, we all loved the lavender ice cream!lavender-16 lavender-25 collagelavender-27-side
Getting Your Best Photos In Difficult Settings:
1. Choose your angle. Many beautiful spots can be directly beside eyesores, so it's about choosing your angle carefully. Think about shooting through something in the foreground or even just cropping out an eyesore.
2. Be patient. Something might not work right away for a number of reasons (people in the background or poor light), so be patient and wait for the picture to happen. If you have time, leave it and come back when you think it might be quieter or the light would be better, or just hold your pose and take the shot as soon as you get a chance!
3. Look for diamonds in the rough. Difficult locations are a pain--I mean who doesn't want to twirl around an empty castle for pictures?! But almost everywhere you shoot is going to have drawbacks, so don't obsess about finding the perfect location and instead try to find beauty in unexpected places.
4. Get in tighter. A lot of shots that won't work in these locations are wider shots that show the whole scene, so instead focus on closer shots--portraits or even details. Stopping to take details also add depth to a shoot overall and set the mood, so definitely get in there and chase that bee!
5. Keep your sense of humor. This won't necessarily equate to better pictures, but life is so much better when you can respond to it with a laugh!   lavenderlavender-2-side lavender-26 lavender-9 lavender-11



  1. I loved this post, Rebecca! It's so refreshing to see some "real life" shots behind those flawless photos on the blog. Thank you for sharing them! 💕💕

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. I love this post! It is so interesting to see how you go about doing some of your pictures! That is so funny about the other people watching and talking and trying to do the same thing! These are beautiful and really encouraging and inspiring to try to take photos in places that seem like they might not work.

  3. This reminded me of that time around Christmas when the girls thought you were stalking them 😅 it's great to have fun while you're working 💕

  4. Thank you for addressing this! I've just recently started taking outfit photos and can get a bit discouraged by not having a lot of great locations. I have, however, discovered that I can make not as desirable places pretty with a little bit of work.

  5. This post was so encouraging to read! It reminds me that I can aim higher to take better photos without living in a magical land or having top equipment. To find the beauty in a difficult location is what I must do from now on!
    ~ Megan Joy

  6. You are such an inspiration! I love that you shared these tips, because I can't tell you how many times things look better in the pic then what was really going on.

    Either way, the pictures turned out really pretty and I love your dress! My favorite one is of the guy walking passed in the background, he he he.

    ~Laurali Star

  7. so beauitful, I am the same way with photos

  8. Oh my god I loved those outtakes XDDDD. You should do that more often!

    Sora |

  9. You did so well... This photo of the field with the orange workers, it really shows how good you are! I started my blog recently and I photograph a lot while I'm travelling (alone). So, it's a tripod and a remote control! And sometimes it is so difficult. There are people around in many beautiful places, you know, and then it feels so weird to photograph myself when they are looking...

  10. What a lovely post! I love your words and the photographs - even the ones with the orange shirted volunteers!

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post. I get so frustrated by my utter lack of idyllic backdrops. I'm learning to work with what I have and but it's still a bit of a struggle to get used to the stares and comments of bystanders. Thanks for the tips!


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