Planning An Amazing Photoshoot? Remember These Two Essential Elements

July 26, 2020
fundamentals for planning a photoshoot


South Australia has some of the most amazing light and locations for photoshoots

The fundamentals for planning an amazing photoshoot pretty much comes down to two things: light and location!


Seems simple enough, right? Well, sorry to say that this probably isn’t the case unless you’re familiar with looking at light and location through the eyes of a photographer. I’ll briefly break it down so you can understand why a photographer might flat out refuse to schedule a photoshoot at the botanical gardens in the middle of the day. It’s not because they are rude or lazy – it’s just a bad idea if you’re dead set on planning an amazing photoshoot!


Sunset photoshoot amazing light Maslin SA


1. LIGHT: If you want an amazing photoshoot, you need amazing light!


OK, let’s start with light. You hear a lot of people talk about ‘the golden hour’ in this business. But what is ‘golden hour’ and why am I talking about it in regards to planning photoshoots? Well, let me ‘enlighten’ you (apologies for the pun, sorry not sorry). When I was first starting out as a photographer, I was shooting a festival when I struck up a conversation with a veteran photographer, eager for some tips and tricks. He told me that, in his opinion, you get your camera out during the ‘golden hours’ and any other time, you might as well leave it in your bag. The golden hour, he reckoned, was by far the best time to shoot. Well, he actually went as far as to say the only time.

‘The Golden Hour’ the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. This is when the quality and colour of the light is at its optimum! You know what I mean – you’ve been there. That golden hazy glow which makes everything look dream-like and beautiful. Some photographers even call it ‘magic hour’ and they’ve got a point. That is the light you want to look at everything drenched in. Depending on the time of year, in Adelaide the sunset ‘golden hour’ could be starting as early as 4pm or as late as 8pm during daylight savings. Therefore, you should be planning the photoshoot around the ‘golden hour’.


Twilight couple photoshoot Maslin Beach


OK, so why am I going on about golden light in this blog specifically? It looks great, we get it, Jaz. But, what is your actual point? Why do I need to know about it when I’m planning an amazing photoshoot? Well, here’s an interesting statistic for you. Out of all the portrait sessions I’ve been booked for through agents, the vast majority have been scheduled for high noon. The natural conclusion I draw from this is that many people must think the best time for portraits is when the sun is at its highest point. They couldn’t be more wrong! High noon is actually a bad idea for portraits especially when surrounded by greenery. To put it simply,  the light is harsh, flat and pretty unflattering – unless you know what you are doing avoid it. When you think photoshoot, think golden hour. Trust me, you won’t regret it!


Amazing sunset photoshoot Maslin Beach


2. Location: This one pretty much speaks for itself.


Now for location! When it comes to location, we’re incredibly lucky to live in beautiful Adelaide. There is so much choice for stunning backdrops, including a gorgeous shoreline and a range of panoramic hills a mere 20-minute drive away. When it comes to planning a portrait shoot you are going to have the thought ‘what location should I choose for my photoshoot’? And, you should consider locations that reflect your personality and preference. But, there are some factors that you might not think of that will affect whether you are making the right choice of location for your photoshoot.  

Time of year: Adelaide comes complete with four diverse seasons that can affect the local locations…a lot. Festivities are also important to keep in mind. I figured this lesson out the hard way; I had scouted what I thought was a perfect location, but when I returned to check it the week of the shoot, there was a gigantic Christmas tree in the middle of it!

Weather and environment: The beach is a fantastic place for portrait shots, especially during ‘golden hour’, but if you’re planning on using it for your shoot, just remember that dogs and kids have a tendency to careen into the water at a moment’s notice. The wind is often stronger down on the shore and by necessity, the shoes have to come off. If you can embrace all that, awesome – but if that doesn’t sound like your style, maybe opt for somewhere else.

Botanical gardens are very popular location choices as well; however, during a sunny day all the green reflected light will not be your friend.

Crowds: Also, it’s more than likely that you won’t want a crowd watching you during your photoshoot. So, choosing less popular locations can have its perks. Also, some places require permission to shoot in, therefore it’s best to fill your photographer in on your plans as early as possible, so they can make all necessary arrangements.

When it comes to location, as I kind of touched on before, we’re SO LUCKY to live in beautiful South Australia! There’s so much choice for stunning backdrops, including a gorgeous, crystal-blue shoreline and a range of panoramic hills a mere 20-minute drive away. Want to get inspired? Check out Elissa Cook’s instagram for incredible South Australia spots – some of them are just down the road!




Whether it’s your portrait session or wedding day, if you’d like to talk more about planning an amazing photoshoot then please swing me a message as I’m always up for a chat!


These photos were taken with friends of mine, Jason and Lorna, while they were South Australia. Jason is an incredible photographer himself, which is why this shoot was the perfect example for this topic!

Check out his work The Raw Photographer


We shot at at Maslin Beach, about a 20-30 minutes drive south of Adelaide.