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Guest Writer :: Location Scouting

Denver wedding photographer - Laura Gravelle


Are you ever stuck for ideas about where you should do your next photo shoot? Annetta is today’s guest blog writer and she is sharing her tips for photo location scouting.  She is a stay at home mom and a photographer based near Seattle, Washington. If you would like to be considered for a guest writing position for Laura Gravelle Photography, please email Laura at with the topic you are interested in writing about.

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I want to thank Laura for giving me this incredible opportunity in being a little part of the beautiful work that she is doing.

I personally donʼt like to spend hours location scouting a week before a session. Iʼm a mother and a wife, and I want to spend as much time with my family as possible. Thatʼs why I make sure that my locations are scouted out weeks, months, even years before I go out to shoot a session – by living my life and keeping my eyes open wherever I go. Iʼll give you a few examples from my own experience on how I actually do it.

On July 2011, my second shooter and I were on our way to the chapel for a wedding ceremony. That afternoon we spent photographing the bridal party at a park. On our way to the chapel, my GPS (luckily) gave me a scenic route through a beautiful neighborhood. To our left was the waterfront and to our right were adorable victorian houses. On our drive I spotted an old greenhouse. It was very neglected, from what I could see, with most of its windows missing. As I saw this place for a whole 5 seconds, I thought how adorable this place would be for a photo-shoot. I instantly envisioned a vintage shoot with children running around the greenhouse. Since we couldnʼt stop to explore what I thought was a great find, I just bookmarked this place on my phone, calling it ʻCute old mansion & nursery – photo-shootʼ. This location happens to be a little over an hour away from my house, but I took note of it nonetheless – in case I ended up in that area again. In April 2012 I had a vintage ʻKim Anderson inspiredʼ photo-shoot setup for my son and my friendʼs daughter. She lives 2 hrs away from me and we decided to meet in the middle. After I arrived at the agreed location, I found out my friend was a bit late. I remembered the great find from 9 months ago, which happened to be less than a few miles away. Instead of waiting for her, I went to check it out to see what it was all about. When I got there, I saw that it was a beautiful mansion that happened to be on sale for 6.4 million dollars. I saw someone there and dared to ask if I could take some pictures. “Do you want to buy the property?” they asked. “I will – in 5 years” came my response. They liked my answer and gave us the go ahead to shoot away. It was beyond beautiful!

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Best Denver Colorado wedding photographer

Exactly one year ago, I was in the car with my husband. I donʼt remember where we were coming from, but we were on our way home. About 7 minutes away from my house, out of the corner of my eye I spotted something yellow. When I looked closer I noticed a beautiful field full of butter cups, slightly hidden by the trees. All it took was 5 seconds – and I would have missed it if I wasnʼt aware of my surroundings. It felt like I hit the jackpot! I didnʼt have to bookmark this location in my phone, like I normally would, because it was so close to home. I instantly envisioned a princess shoot and knew I had to use this location soon, before the flowers wilted. It didnʼt take long to find a model that owned a beautiful ball gown. Unfortunately for us, the day of the shoot I swear there was a tsunami and it just poured buckets on us. Despite the rain, my model, her mom, and I braved it all and ended up with some great memories along with some wonderful images.

Denver, CO wedding photographer - Laura Gravelle

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Sometimes you donʼt need to go further than your neighborhood. I love taking walks with my family. But not only do I love walks, I love productive walks. When we first moved into our house, my son and I were on a mission to explore our new territory. We have a little pond as you enter into our community – nothing big or special. At first I could not find access to it, but after trying many times I finally located the path that got me to where I wanted. In this location I have the water, a little meadowy patch, random bamboo, a cute shore, a little hill for kids to run down, beautiful sparse trees and an old twisted apple tree next to a plastic white fence. A gold mine, right?! No, not unless you know what you are looking for. This specific spot has no appeal and is rather ugly, but has a few beautiful angels. Iʼve done so many shoots in that spot yet people looking at my images donʼt realize it is one and the same location. Whenever I have a shoot with many props, I stick close to home and I take them to the same olʼ spot that I scouted out when on a walk with my son!

Genius right? Well, no, not really. My tricks to getting compliments from other photographers and clients on my locations is to follow 4 simple steps.

1. When youʼre going places (anywhere really), keep your eyes open, be aware of your surroundings, and think about those great spots that inspire your imagination.

2. Take back roads, explore your area.

3. When you see something you like, take a picture (nothing fancy – your phone camera will do just fine).

4. Make a note – you donʼt want to forget where you found a great spot! Take it a little further by writing down when is the best time to shoot in this location and for what type of client it is great for.

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wedding photographer in Denver Colorado

Remember to live your life, have fun, spend it with your family and not scouting locations before your sessions.

I want to thank Laura Gravelle Photography for giving me this incredible opportunity in being a little part of the beautiful work that she is doing, I do not take it lightly and am very honored.





{Laura Gravelle is a wedding photographer located in Denver, Colorado.  

Booking weddings for 2012 and 2013 in Colorado and worldwide destinations.

Connect with Laura on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and PINTEREST.}