What I’ve learned… about shooting on location

Sam Wall from Harry B’s Newcastle talks about the challenges of shooting on location and the inspirations behind his latest collection, ‘Storm’


Including location shoots for hair collections can help illustrate versatility in your portfolio. But before you start, it’s important to carefully consider where you want to shoot and what you want to achieve. Here’s my little checklist…

Check your location at the right time

Locations can change, so you should check your desired spot on the day of the week and even the time of day that you’ll be shooting. You might become aware of something that changes its suitability. For example, traffic, visitors and tourists at scenic areas all come in waves that can change based on the time of day/the day of the week/the season and could potentially disrupt what you’re doing.

Think about every eventuality

Check everything you can think of at the location and its surrounding areasis there phone reception where you’ve chosen to shoot? And access to wifi? Is there somewhere for coffee and food for the team? Is there a decent store nearby for batteries, bulbs or power cables if the photographer needs something? When you’ve scouted out the back-up possibilities at a location, you can handle most challenges without too many headaches.

Hair: Mr Sam Wall.
Photography: Rhiannon Banks.
Models: Afnan Prince, Adam Gunton (Tyne Tee), Lee Pollard (Nemesis)

Consider the light

If you’re looking to use an impressive location – such as a ballroom, a restaurant, or an incredible house – be aware they generally feature low amounts of available lighting. Check light levels by shooting a few test shots. If you’re shooting outside, the best time of day to shoot is often early morning. Too sunny, and the photographer is fighting the glare of the sun.

Ask permission

As you’re looking at a potential location, make sure you check out how you stand legally. Do you plan to shoot on someone else’s property? Many owners will be happy to help you if you ask, but if not, you’ll need to choose another location. Get permission first – you don’t want the boys in blue interrupting the shoot!

Shooting outside? Have a base camp nearby

Find a suitable building that’s very close. This is where you’ll prep and you can keep emergency items if the weather is determined to scupper your shoot. It also means you’re not wasting too much time if you need to redo any looks, or you need to change wardrobe – that’s far better than getting changed in the back of a car! Pack for every eventuality – umbrellas, rain hoods, sun screen – and think about how your models are being used and what they might need between shots. For the Storm collection (seen here in the gallery), we had warm clothes and loads of towels and blankets ready between takes!

Take notes wherever you go

Start a location notebook, and jot down notes on places you go when looking for a great location… but also in your daily travels and on your holidays. Take some photos or even shoot a little video on your phone. Consider the time, the light, how the place made you feel… you never know, it could be a perfect backdrop for a shoot in months or years to come.education_whativelearnedstamp