This is always a dilemma for me. I live in Maine, one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. There are gorgeously colored leaves in the fall, picturesque snowfalls during the winter, beautiful flowering meadows in spring, and some of the most scenic beaches anywhere in the world for the summertime. However, not all of these things are easy on a camera, or on photography subjects. Bring people outside on a typical Maine winter day and within a few minutes, you are going to have bright red noses and frosty fingertips! And you know how people say that sand gets everywhere? They aren’t kidding. Sand is not very friendly to my very expensive camera equipment, to be sure.
I tend to prefer the studio for pictures. I can be in control of the lighting, the temperature, the props, everything. We don’t ever have to reschedule due to weather problems. There’s no constant adjustment to the lighting because of cloud cover, no rushing for cover when it abruptly starts to rain, no racing to get done before it gets dark. I find there is less stress on me and on the clients. Doing indoor shots at a venue like a client’s home is the second favorite of mine, for the same reasons.
The problem is that nothing really compares to the outside. No matter how realistic of a background I put in the studio, it is never going to look like the real thing. And no amount of fiddling with lights in the studio is going to meet that perfect goldenhour lighting I can get outside. I can’t control most of the variables when I’m outside with a client but the pictures come out so beautifully most of the time—if that’s what they want, then I am always happy to comply.
It’s one of the reasons I like weddings. They are often indoor and outdoor, so I can take pictures in both settings. I often have the bride and groom, or even the whole bridal party, come into the studio either before or after the wedding to get a few shots done, too. This way, if the weather is really challenging that day, I usually have an alternate place to go and take the requested shots. But if the weather is great, there’s nothing better for wedding photos than being outside at some of these gorgeous venues.
It is kind of a balancing act. If the client wants something specific that I know is going to come out better in the studio or outside, I will make my recommendation. I always explain why I would prefer to do it my way, and sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t. I haven’t lost too many jobs over it. Mostly because I tell the client I’ll do it any way they want, regardless of my opinion.