Choosing a photoshoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn't have to be difficult. Your location usually drives some of the other decisions you will have to make about your shoot (clothing, shoes, hairstyles, etc.) so it's important to choose the right place for you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide on a location:

what kind of theme do I want?

If a particular building or natural backdrop will match your theme, look around in your area to see if there are any places that match your requirements. If you don't know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon to drive around your area for inspiration. It's easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard! Ask family and friends for ideas too. Possible themes could include: urban, nature, beach, or floral.

This farm only allows professional photography during certain festivals throughout the year.

are you allowed to take pictures there?

Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location you have in mind. If it is not public property or available to the public, you will need to get permission first. Some places have their own photographers while others will not allow photography at all. Make sure you talk to the management before scheduling anything!

This Florida forest is a beautiful place for photos most of the year. However, it is also very active with gators during mating season. Always put safety first!

is it accessible?

Consider that not all outdoor locations are available year-round, or you might not be able to get to them at all! Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat, but it's best not to put yourself in harm's way.

Taking pictures in front of a waterfall in the forest may require some hiking to get there.

how do you get to your location?

Will it be easy to walk to the session location? If not, will there be a place where you can change your shoes/clothing and touch up your hair/makeup before the shoot? It's also a good idea to find out if there is a restroom close enough in case you need it.

will the photo session be in a public place?

If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others. Also, how do you feel about others being in the background of your photo? If either of these bother you, you may want to rethink your location.

a couple more things to think about:

While your location is important, make sure you don't choose a spot that takes the attention away from you. Your location should compliment your theme- not distract from it.

Take a moment to think of places that are special to you. Does your family like to picnic at a particular park? Do you love the little downtown area of that quaint little town? Did you get engaged on the beach? The more special the location is to you- the more special your photos will be.

Still not sure? Talk to you photographer! I bet he or she has a list of locations that might work great for you!