Finding the right venue for photo or video shoots is essential. The perfect setting will help you tell your story in a more effective and efficient way. There’s always so much to think about when finding the right venue for shoots because locations usually have to tick so many boxes. Ensuring you understand the client and productions teams tone for the shoot is super important. Exploring and researching venues is a lot of fun, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind while you search.
Your location needs to cater to the style of your shoot, whether this is a modern, well-lit hotel or a listed building with plenty of character. Your site is a visual element that helps complement your overall goal so it must be in keeping with the overall theme of the piece. Any creative will tell you that it is also vital that you establish how the lighting of a location looks. Is it a dark setting that will require additional filming equipment? Has the director specified that they need a lot of natural light for the scenes they are shooting? How many hours will the camera crew have where the light will lend to continuity on the shoot? These are all questions that need to be considered before booking your location. Also, how flexible is the site? Will the location owner be willing to let you move furniture? Can the space be hired out exclusively for you? Is the area accessible for people with mobility issues? All of these vital questions for consideration!
You must ensure that any location can be found easily. The last thing you need on the day is lost subjects, creatives and colleagues putting you behind schedule. You’ll also need to consider if the space has capacity for equipment, enough room for the number of subjects attending and privacy for any clothing changes. Wherever possible, it is good to try and speak to your host(s) a few times before shoot day, to build a relationship with them and give them some insight as to how the shoot will run on the day. Another top tip is when you are initially location hunting, do a mystery shop style sit in so you can get a feel for the service and atmosphere.
The most important thing on any shoot is… catering! Can food be provided on-site? If this is the case, it is always a good idea to give the caterers an idea of your price range to avoid long-winded discussion around menus. Ideally, if you can get menus out to all guests attending in advance and ask them to pre-order, the smoother that mealtimes will be on the day. While lunch may seem like a minor part of the day, it’s one of the most critical factors to get right. Hungry people are unhappy people! Hangry people can be seen on camera!
Before starting your search for a space, you need to establish your maximum budget. If you head into your search with a specific number you have to spend, it will help eliminate areas that are too expensive, saving you time. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a venue before realising its 10k over budget. While searching, it’s worth exploring non-traditional venues as you can often get more bang for your buck. It’s particularly useful to approach local venues as they are often looking for exposure and may be willing to collaborate on future projects too!
The most crucial part of finding the perfect venue is planning. Know your budget, your subjects, the filming objective, project brief, budget, filming dates and everything in between. The more detail you can get beforehand to factor into your planning, the better the result!