Expert Level Portrait Tips Series Part 04: Location

Location is an astounding component to mobile portrait photography, as it stands the background out more than anything else.

Expert Level Portrait Tips Series Part 04: Location

Expert Level Portrait Tips Series

Location, Location, Location

Greetings and welcome to Moment’s first ever article series debut. Featuring expert-level tips on creating stunning mobile portraiture (though, these rules can apply to any camera), we’ll dive deep on the ins and outs of what it means to capture a profile worth remembering. Through measures of unique posing, lighting, location ideas, and creative outlets for composition — we’ll dissect every detail it takes to compartmentalize the very component behind what makes excellent mobile photography. Let’s roll.

Using Location As Your Emotive Base

Location is an astounding component to mobile portrait photography, as it stands the background out more than anything else. By learning how to choose great photography locations for your portraits, you can put your subject at ease, capture their personality, and guarantee perfect results.

Feelin' fine.

Using a downtown space as the central location.

Pick A Place That’s Relevant To You

Choosing a location that’s not only relevant and meaningful to you — but somewhere that serves as an essential part of your portrait storyline — will create stunning results. Plus, it will be easy to navigate through the nooks and crannies of your favorite spots within that location. It’s easy to gravitate towards the convenient, leafy backdrops close to your home, but think about the feeling you want to convey within your imagery and see where else you can venture. Remember that the individual you are photographing is a unique human being with different standards of their personality, so get up close and personal with who they are.

Melvin making the stairs look good.

Tall and lean.

Expect Different Results

Should you choose an outdoor location setting for your photo shoot, there’s often a chance that the weather will spoil the party. You can take the opportunity and hope it stays dry or still (aka not windy), but again, have a backup in case the weather turns rotten. Something I often rely on is a nearby cafe for a quick coffee pit stop or my car that’s usually close by for shelter.

Antique Sugar. Go to local thrift stores!

Local apartment buildings.

The Less People, The Better

There’s nothing worse than a photo focusing on one human getting muddled by a sea of floating randoms. Make sure to chase good timing with the location you end up shooting at. For instance, I once traveled to Japan and shot a few of my friends in the bamboo forests nestled deep within Kyoto’s corridors. Because it’s such a heavily trafficked photo spot throughout the year, I wanted to choose an unlikely timeframe for people to visit: 4:00 in the morning. I set my alarm for a bright and early start time, grabbed a nearby 7/11 coffee, and took a chance. Guess what? Not a single soul. To impede perfect results, really go after what it is that you want.

Gravitate towards quiet places.

Head towards your favorite breakfast joint.


The beauty of photography is the ability to manipulate time and space. You can shoot beautiful portraits outside your dusty window pane and still maintain incredible quality. Be it the dirty apartment stairs, the sketchy alleyway, or the local graffiti tattooed on a convenience store’s wall — make it beautiful. See the extraordinary in the ordinary and get creative. Trust me; you don’t have to drive somewhere two hours away to achieve the vibe you want, look into turning your everyday spots into a photoshoot masterpiece.

Have some fun while you're at it.

Read Tips 01, 02, 03, 05.

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