Producing images for a client but find yourself on a tight budget or timeline? Try these five effective tips for shooting variety in your next one-location photoshoot.

Shooting variety when you are on a photoshoot is pivotal to capturing your audience’s attention and impressing the clients you shoot for. When a client hires you to do a lifestyle photoshoot, they expect a wide variety of images to select from. The last thing a client wants is to hire a photographer and receive a batch of photographs that are shot at the exact same location that look the same. However, sometimes you only have the time or budget to go to one location. In order to make the most out of that one location, you need to know how you can make the most of that one spot. Shooting variety on a one-location photoshoot can be hard, but it’s not impossible to get creative with it.

Images by Jacob Lund

At Shutterstock Custom, one of Shutterstock contributor networks, a lot of photographers choose to photograph at one location for our assignments due to budget or time restrictions. That’s why it’s important to know how to capture variety in other ways besides your location. We’re sharing our tips on how you can start thinking outside the box and start shooting variety at one location in your photographs.


Survey Your Surroundings

Take a walk around and make note of interesting things in the location. There may be small details that pop out that you might miss when you get behind a lens. Start by really understanding your surroundings. If you’re shooting outdoors at a park, take a walk and look at different types of trees, potential backgrounds in playgrounds, or sporting fields that might add variety. If you’re shooting inside a home, take note of interesting textures such as artwork or blankets that you can shoot in front of. Look for different wall colors and areas where light enters. Knowing your location through and through is the first step to creating a diverse set of images.

Images by everst.


Look for Different Perspectives

When shooting a model, change the perspective and angle often to provide variety in poses. You don’t want the images to all look the same. So, you should encourage movement with your models and a lot of changes. Get low, shoot from eye level, and have your model move with you. For example, say you’re shooting a model at a tennis court. Take some wide shots of the model at the court, then move closer. We suggest doing a 360 around any subject you’re shooting to capture a variety of angles.

Images by Aleksandrs Muiznieks.

Once you’re done the standing shots, move to the ground or lean against a wall. You’d be surprised by how much your photographs can change when you change you perspective. Shooting variety at one location means getting creative with the different elements you are working with.


Keep an Eye out for Micro Backgrounds

Your photo backgrounds can be made out of virtually anything on set. You’d be surprised at what you can turn into a backdrop. For example, if you’re shooting in a city, you might see a bright yellow sign in the middle of nowhere. To the naked eye, it might just look like a yellow sign. However, if you use it as a backdrop and place your subject in front of it, you might be surprised at how unrecognizable the location becomes. The same goes for any plants you might find, surfaces such as concrete, or textures in water or land.

Images by paulaphoto.


Bring Props and Wardrobe Changes

One of the best things you can do to add variety to your photoshoot in one location is to bring props and wardrobe changes. Wardrobe changes can completely change an image. The same goes for hair and makeup. If you’re shooting one model at one location, consider bringing a variety of hats to change the look ever so slightly. Or, bring extra jackets to change the vibe of the shoot instantly.

Images by Josep Suria.

When you change the look of the model, you’re providing variety in your images. This variety can be dramatic or subtle, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Always keep the theme of the shoot in mind when you make any wardrobe or hair and makeup changes. If you don’t have anything that works for the model, consider asking them to bring wardrobe changes on set. Just remember not to shoot anything that has recognizable logos or trademarked characters if you’re shooting client work.


Try Different Lenses and Photography Equipment

Sometimes, a change of lens can drastically change the way you shoot a location. Shooting variety at one location might mean popping on a tighter lens instead of shooting with an all-around zoom. Consider shooting a portrait of someone with an 85mm f/1.8 lens, which is going to bring you significantly closer to the subject and shoot more detail. Compare how that would look to shooting with a 24-70 f/2.8 zoom lens at 35mm focal length. The width of the lens is going to bring a lot more of the background in, as well as create less focus on the subject compared to the tighter prime lens. Understand what you need to achieve in your photo shoot, and then play with your equipment to provide different variations in your photography.

Images by Dusan Petkovik.

When you’re trying to achieve variety in your photographs, the most important thing is to open your eyes and really take in your surroundings. Allow color, textures, and details to jump out at you. At Shutterstock Custom, we hire photographers based on their ability to take a client’s creative brief and execute a variety of custom content for the client’s to use for marketing needs. We can’t wait to see what you create on your next shoot.

Header image by Dean Drobot.


Looking for more ways to get creative on your next photoshoot? Check out these articles.