When I put a photo shoot together there is a lot to consider and a lot to plan. I’m responsible for the entire shoot: securing the models, the makeup artist, hair stylist, and wardrobe stylist as well as finding the location, figuring out how to get there and managing my own equipment for the shoot and what I’ll need.
I’m always thinking about interesting locations, but they aren’t always feasible. If it isn’t a commissioned shoot, then there’s always the issue of budget. Is it a studio? If so, what’s the rental fee? If it’s outdoor, are you free to shoot there or do you need a permit? Are there fees associated with the permit? For example, I was interested in using the subway/outdoor platform and train tracks as the setting for a shoot. I made a call to the Events department for New York City Transit and found out that essentially, they don’t give out permits and even to be considered requires your production be insured for something like $2 million. Crazy, right? For future reference, know that you are in fact allowed to photograph in train platforms (though I would still be cautious) however, no professional equipment is allowed, i.e. any lighting, reflectors, flashes or even tripods.
In preparation for an upcoming shoot I’m planning which I want to do at a beach, I took the opportunity this weekend to try to get some location scouting in. This is why I stress the importance of planning and organization. I did some research in advance, beaches that don’t require a car to get to for one thing. Of course I could rent, but that can get expensive. After further looking into some of the beaches, and discovering that some aren’t even open yet, I opted to check out Orchard Beach in the Bronx, which seemed to be the easiest for me to get to at the time. All the trip requires is taking the 6 train to the last stop uptown, Pelham Bay Park, and then transferring to a bus there that stops at the beach. Easy enough, right? Turns out I should’ve looked into this one a little more as it turned out the buses haven’t started making stops at the beach yet. Lesson learned, and now I know that beach won’t be accessible right now for a shoot.
So, take my advice and look into every detail of a shoot you’re planning beforehand, that way you won’t waste your time or anyone else’s or be stuck with a location dilemma.