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Getting thrown in the deep end – editorial location photography

The opposite scenario from the last post about having the opportunity to scout locations is editorial portrait photography. For the most part it’s either budget or time constraints that don’t allow for location scouting.  That’s why I test. Over the past few months I have been throwing myself in situations where I go to someone’s apartment or a location of their choosing and try to make situation work. Its my job as a photographer to be experienced and prepared enough to walk into any location and make great photos.  On location photography always has it’s challenges. Lighting is probably the biggest challenge, although with enough gear it’s easy to overcome. The next biggest challenge is backgrounds.

In March I wrote about my shoot with Devon. Her apartment was roomy and had great elements and decent natural light.  A few weeks ago I went into Hollywood to shoot Kasia. She had mentioned that she had a pink apartment so I figured it would be a great place to shoot portraits and capture a bit of her personality. Before I packed up I asked her about natural light in her apartment and she mentioned it didn’t have much. I brought small speedlights as well as my Elinchrom Ranger. I showed up to find out she lived down the street from a hugely popular hiking trail in Hollywood. That meant parking sucked. I drove around the couple blocks near her place a handful of times and finally settled on a space a block away.  Because of the distance and the weight of the Elinchrom (a 35 pound pelican case) I opted to leave the ranger in the car. I took my rolling camera bag (about 40 pounds and a light stand bag. When I got to her apartment I realized I’d need to make a second trip because I’d need the power of the big strobes.

For the first look I used the strobes to fill the room with light. The shots looked a little too safe so I moved her to the frame of her patio door and used natual light. The shots were a bit more dramatic and interesting.




natural light


Space in Kasia’s apartment was limited and the pink wall was so defining it was time to move on. We walked around her building and found a couple of interesting spots. These shots were taken in the hallway of her apartment and the elevator. I wanted to add a bit of variety.




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