To accompany the time spent on location shooting a project and the massive amount of hours in post-production, is the valuable time spent before the shoot. On one hand there’s nothing like seeing a project for the first time and shooting it with complete spontaneity and abandon. It can be a visceral experience that relies on an intuitive handling of exposure, composition and a dealt hand of luck. Some people refer to it as serendipity – that is, creating your own good luck. I like the term “happy accidents”.
When it’s not practical though, and as time permits, scouting a location should be considered. It can be worth your own weight in gold, or any other securities you can think of, because there aren’t many redo’s for most commissions. This is the time to make decisions on things such as furniture possibilities and furniture placement, the type and color of any flowers that may be added, how many, if any, props should be brought in, and to establish a degree of relationship/familiarity with the office staff, the homeowner or with security. Most importantly though, it leaves you with a good sense of orientation, an expectation of what changes in light will occur and at what times, as well as subconsciously imprinting possible compositions for the day of the shoot. My iPhone is typically up the duty of shooting a walk-through. For one thing, it’s not very intimidating to the occupants since the location is probably not “photo-ready”. Plus it’s a non-committing way of documenting some good usable reference images.
An upcoming residential project: