Today, let’s dip back into my “Ask A Stock Photographer” facebook post.  Karen says “I am fascinated by some of your locations. Very creative ideas like the turkey farm, and how In the world do you manage to clear out and rent an airport? I would like to read about how some of those location shots came together.”

Locations shoots are fun to do and they add that authenticity to a session that you can’t really get in a studio.  I’ve done “hospital/exam” photos in my studio, and while they are perfectly useful, setting up a shoot in an actual hospital just adds something special.  It may be just me thinking that, as I know what that actual “set” consists of.  Also, there are all the bits and pieces in a real environment that I might not think of, or be able to afford for a studio shoot.  (Although I do have a hospital bed in my studio.)  By the way, all the images mentioned today are exclusive to Stocksy United.

stock photo: hospital

Speaking specifically to the first of the two sessions mentioned in the question, the turkey farm came about after an article in a local foodie magazine on the production of a local area farm, which included turkeys.  With Thanksgiving coming up in a few months, I thought images of the birds would make some great material for articles about sourcing of turkeys for the holiday.

I got in touch with the farmers via email, discussed the idea, and how I would give them a set of images, plus an in-field portrait, in return for the access.  I actually ended up going out twice – the birds were on the young side the first time, and the second gave a more mature look.  Both times, the weather was mostly agreeable.  There was a lot of mud the first time from a week of rain.  I have high hopes for this series this year, as there is plenty of lead time before the holiday.

stock photo: turkey farm

The airport shoots take a bit more work.  My airport session from 2013 was done at a local Illinois airport.  It was built with hopes of creating a competitor to Lambert International, but these days, just runs some cargo flights and weekly charters to Orlando.  I thought it would be fairly easy to get in there on an unused day, so again I got in touch via email.  I had to shoot for a weekend, because most of my models have “real jobs” during the week, and the airport was an hour away.  However, I discovered that on quite a few weekends, they use the airport for motorcycle training courses!

So it took a while to find a good weekend that fit for everyone.  Also, this location required a rental fee of $300 an hour, which, while painful, would eventually pay off ( I think it has) .  As well, they required being named on an insurance policy, which was no issue for me.  Finally, everything came together and the shoot was successful.  The access to the lobby, security area and carousel all came across as very authentic.

stock photo: airport security

My more recent airport session was created in the main terminal at Lambert International.  During a regular weekday, with lots of travelers moving about.  This was one of those location things you just have to deal with, since they aren’t going to close down the airport for little me.

Way back in 2006, I believe, I took a model and did some quick images in and around the main terminal.  At the time, I just asked for permission, and it wasn’t a problem.  Since then, the movie “Up In The Air” with George Clooney, as well as some local reality shows, has caused the airport authority to come up with a whole permitting process and rental fee.  This took some time to get through, and again, the insurance requirement had to be met.  The day of shooting worked out great, though.  We went with a traditionally less busy day for travel, and there weren’t too many issues with travelers getting in the way.  There was one airport worker (I think), who was very chatty with one of the female models though.

stock photo: airport

One funny note – while we were shooting, an agent jumped in the back and made a face and then said something like “just doing a photo jump in”.  I said, “What, you mean a photo bomb?” and she said “Shhh, we’re not supposed to use that word!”.  Ha!

Anyhoo, hope that answers the question a little bit.  Thanks for asking, and reading 🙂

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3 Responses to More “Ask A Stock Photographer”

  1. I enjoyed reading the blog post. Very interesting to hear a bit about how it all comes together.

  2. Brany says:

    Very interesting post Sean. Thank you for sharing this. Just wondering Sean, if you need also property release for taking photos on this kind of places like a farm and airport? Thank you.

    • Sean Locke says:

      A farm is normally pretty generic, but for any sort of commercial location, I get a release. For the airport, the multi-page contract actually serves as the release.

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