Magic Monday: Location Authenticity

My personal evolution of location for photography has somewhat come full circle…

1.  I started out in photography just shooting things, people, and places that meant something to me.

2.  Somewhere along the road I jumped on the ‘Pro’ route and suddenly trendy locations became paramount. As did style. I felt absolutely compelled to fit in with the “cool photographers” and that meant that I shot countless families and seniors on the same downtown brick wall.  Not surprising that my images all looked the same with  only a change of face.

3.  With a courageous declaration, I took upon myself the challenge to never shoot in the same spot more than once!

That was a really incredible turning point for me in my photography.  I began to actually seek out something different every time I  photographed.  I saw value in places that were not “mecca’s” for photographers.  I learned to see color, pattern, textures, framing, and opportunities for light, because I was always searching.  My body of work had variety, and my experience was growing by shooting consistently in new places.

4.  I decided to turn back to how I started.  Authenticity.

Although fun locations can be “fun”, I realized that surface level aesthetics only carry an image–and a subjects connection to the image–so far.  The majority of my work now delights in the opportunity to use locations that have particular meaning to my subjects.  Not just some random cool place I find as a photographer, but an actual location that has memories, meaning, or significance to the subjects.

Something fantastic happens when we merge sentimentality into our work:

1.  The image is more authentic and true. 2.  The subject is more fully connected emotionally to the images.

Its the very reason why I love to photograph people in their homes, in places they interact, or have them choose their own location according to what is meaningful to them.

DISCLAIMER:  I still like fun random locations that are not connected to my subjects–and still “occasionally” shoot that way.  But when all is said and done– in ten years looking back, subjects will connect more with an environment that means more than a trend or pretty pattern.

I have been dying to photograph inside this amazing barn ever since my brother bought the old house on the lot to fix up.  Luckily, the perfect moment came when he found a cute girl, asked her to marry him, and they needed some engagement pictures :)  This location is the site of their new home and life together.  It means something.

On the porch of their future home before all the renovations…

In the orchard at our parents house where lots of time is spend on their farm.

I love shooting this way.

1.  It automatically creates awesome variety in my images and portfolio.

2.  It automatically means something to my subjects

3.  Its an environment they already feel comfortable in.

4.  It saves me time from having to come up with a location myself (which becomes consistently challenging when you have the goal to go somewhere different every single time.)

5.  Its timeless.  Sentimentality will always be timeless.

How do you choose your locations?

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  Her personal favorite locations to spend time in, include her parents farm, her own back yard, biking through the dry farms of Cache Valley, and Grand Teton National Park.  Oh yes, and if she could visit any place in the entire world further from home with a sentimental heart?  Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island.  Take a picture of her at any of those locations and she will love it.  It means something.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as seasonal photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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