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Day 236: Tips For Public Photoshoots

When we begin photography, especially the fine art genre, it can be very easy to shoot within the confinements of your house or yard. It’s easier and safer. When we are just starting something it is definitely more comfortable to stick within the parameters we know and are familiar with, but there comes a point in time when it becomes necessary to branch out in order to face more growth.

We all eventually reach this point where it’s hard to leave the confinements of your comfort zones, but you feel you must in order to grow in your craft. I reached that point 2016 when I realized that my yard and my house was not the only place the world had to offer. During that time I made the decision to face discomfort in order to shoot in new and beautiful locations.

If you’ve reached that point, wonderful, and if you haven’t quite yet let me just say that you probably will. There’s so much more out there than we ever imagined if we just decided to step outside of our doors. So if you’ve reached that point this post is for you and if you haven’t yet come back to it later when you’re ready. Here are a few tips I have for you when it comes to facing your discomfort and shooting in a more public location.

  • Don’t worry about what others are thinking

One of the biggest fears people can face when making the decision to take their photography into the public world is what other people might think. Who cares what they think! People will look and honk and that’s okay because what they are thinking about you will have no effect over your life. It may be uncomfortable, it still can be challenging for me, but try thinking of it in a different way. If someone sees you out in a field doing a weird photoshoot, you’ve just given someone a story to tell to their family. And if that doesn’t work just remember that people care more about their lives than yours, if they notice they probably won’t remember it for long. It won’t matter in the gran scheme of things.

  • Try to shoot quickly and efficiently

Shooting in public can be awkward, especially if there are lots of people around or if you’re not exactly on public land. In that case its best to shoot as quickly as possible and leave before too many people notice. If you can get the shot in a few frames and know you have it, that’s fantastic. Work on getting your shot in a shorter period of time at home so that when you go out the photoshoot doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of time. And just a tip, try not to trespass on land when there is a clearly visible sign.

  • Ask permission if you can

When it comes to shooting out in public, the best thing you can do is ask for permission to shoot where you would like. If its public property such as a park or even just downtown on the main road, you’re just dandy. But if you’re unsure of who owns the property and would feel better if you got permission, go in search of it. If you look up your county assessors office, you can usual get a name and possibly a number of the person who owns the property you’re interested in shooting on. Permission is always great when you can get it.

  • If you’re uncomfortable doing it alone, bring someone along

Shooting out in public can be scary and uncomfortable, especially as a self-portrait artist who usually works alone. In that case, grab someone who can come along with you. You will eliminate a lot of variable if there is another person with you and it can really help you feel more at ease in your space. Not to mention you’ll create a ton of fun memories with that person. I usually take my mom with me on photoshoots and some of my favorite memories with her come from photoshoots (such as getting stuck up to our knees in mud and carrying a six foot tree along a busy highway). Friends and family take the edge off of the most uncomfortable situations, there’s nothing wrong with having someone coming along.

Until Next Time,
Lillian Merritt

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