In photography, location is integral to the overall mood and effect of a photograph, and as such, it takes on an important role in planning your shot. There are many reasons why a photographer should consider including this element in their work. Location can be a central theme to an entire photo series or project, which can help build the image’s narrative and provide meaning for end users. Certain location setups may add an interesting perspective or new idea to a photographer’s work, and others may be too difficult or impractical to take without first considering the logistics.
Importance of Location in Photography
1. Adds Meaning to an Image
Location can help build a narrative in a photo series or project, which can help viewers understand the purpose behind the image. For example, if you are taking photos of homeless people in an urban environment around where you live, it might send the message that your city does not have adequate housing for those in need. This is not the case for everyone who lives there, but you can use this series as a platform to question and address these issues. Even if you are not trying to send a message throughout the images, it can help viewers better relate to what they are looking at and why the image was taken. In retrospect, it might even inspire them to take a stand or be more charitable in their attitude toward others.
2. Used as Part of a Theme in Your Work
Location can also be used by photographers as part of a theme. It could be a central theme used to build the visual narrative of several images in a project, or it can act as a background image. For example, the city you live in might still be present in your image series, but you might use the colour of the sky or how buildings are arranged to help create an overarching theme. Another good example of this would be if your series is about action shots, and you want to capture images of horses galloping through fields. The type of location you choose can help create a unique look for these images and set them apart from others that might be too similar.
3. Helps You Achieve a New Perspective
Location is one of the largest factors in the perspective you can achieve while taking photos. There are many different ways that a photographer can set up shots around their location, including layering multiple images together, moving the camera during shooting, and utilizing special lenses. The particular way you choose to set up your shot depends on what is happening in the image. For example, you might use a fixed perspective when taking photos of landscapes but change the perspective when moving around the subject or shooting action shots.
4. Location Can Add to a Photo’s Narrative
The narrative built around your location could also play a role in either aiding or detracting from your images. The way you shoot and set up your location can help build your project’s narrative. For example, you might include the exact spot where you took the shot with a lot of detail, like a fence or gate. This can help viewers connect the dots and understand that this is not just a random scene but one you chose for a reason. The location might also serve as a better setting for your images than the default location. You might use it to create an interesting background or add meaning to the image.
5. Boosts the Appeal of Your Images
Photographers can use location to boost the appeal of your images. Photos with a great location look more artistic, but they can also get more attention than ones in which you took it upon yourself to find some interesting scenery. People increasingly care about where their food comes from, where their clothes are made, and how their products are produced. When you include location in your image series, you show the world that you considered the conditions under which your photograph was taken and made sure to find high-quality locations for your images. This is much more appealing than someone who is using an ordinary background.
6. Location Can Be Used to Set Up a Shot
Location can help you set up some of your shots. For example, you might need to take a photo of a person standing in front of a blue building on the corner, with bright green shrubbery on both sides. This is not the type of shot that you could expect to capture very easily without the proper location. However, if you happen to find a location that has these elements in the right proportion, it can help to make the shot even better. The location might also give your image an interesting look with a neat contrast or colour scheme.
7. Used as an Alternative to Available Light
If you are in an environment that is too intense or harsh or cannot get enough light, you may want to consider using your location as a safety backup. Natural elements can help diffuse light and even add a glow, contributing to a beautiful image. You might also choose to use it as your main light source instead of relying on lamps or flashlights. Using the surrounding environment can help reduce the number of accessories you need to carry around. You won’t need any extra gear for this type of location, making it easier to store and transport.
8. Boosts the Appeal of Extreme Images
You may want to consider using your location to boost the appeal of images outside the realm of traditional photography. For example, you could take a photo that is low-fi and artistic with subtle lighting but add an interesting element in the foreground or background. This can help make your image more appealing and help it stand out in the crowd with a little artistic flair.
9. Location Can Be Used to Create Contrast
Lighting can create so many different effects on an image that you might want to consider using it to create contrast. The sun shining overhead can add a warm and golden look that contrasts with the cool blue shade of the sky and gives your photo an extra touch of life and energy. You might also use the colour of an item against the background to make your image pop.
10. Used as One of Several Elements
Location can be used as one of several elements in a photo. For example, you might use it to help you capture a particular emotion or atmosphere, but it doesn’t have to serve as the main focus. You might also use it as an element to help you create a more dramatic shot with a beautiful perspective. For example, you might take a photo of the same location but with different subjects in the foreground or background.
Location is one of the most versatile and powerful ways that you can add meaning, depth, and style to your photographs. It is an element that you can use to help boost many different features within your project.