If you’re like me, and love to shoot outdoors in pretty nature spots, there are a few tips to bear in mind to keep you and your clients (especially all the sweet little children you’ll be photographing) safe.
1. Find a good safe location.
When looking for a good spot to shoot, I always try to find a nearby community park, nature park, or public preserve. Do a Google Earth search of your town and see what public parks pop up in green, then go check them out.
2. What to look for with parking.
At each park, I look for a sweet little spot to shoot in, as well as ample parking spaces. It’s also preferable if the park has restrooms, playgrounds and lots of room for the little ones to run and play in a safe area.
Often some pretty fields may be in a remote area just off the side of the road. At these spots, I check to be sure the parking area is big enough for at least two vehicles with a safe distance between my parked car and other cars traveling on the road. If you plan for a client, especially one with young children to meet you there, be sure it is possible for them, especially with young children, to depart the vehicle and enter the field safely. Also be sure it’s public property or that you have the owner’s permission to shoot on their property.
3. Get those boots out!
You never know what critters might live in a field, so I always wear tall boots. Here in Texas there are a lot of poisonous snakes, fire ant hills, chiggers and other critters. When entering the field, I take the child’s hand to lead the group, and ask the little ones and their parents to follow my footprints. As I walk I stomp the ground – to scare off critters, and keep my eyes down to watch out for ant hills – and direct clients to avoid them.
4. Keep those bugs away!
Remember those chiggers I mentioned – bug spray can help. While any bug spray can be helpful, the most success comes from using a bug spray with DEET. Spray before you leave your home, and may sure to shower well after the shoot.
5. Just in case, have a First Aid Kit accessible.
In our family we have two little boys, so there is always a First Aid Kit in the back of my car. You never know when a client’s child may fall and it’s great to be able to handle minor injuries in the field without having to cancel the photo shoot. A minor first aid incident is a time when a park with a restroom and water could be helpful.
6. Keep your camera equipment close.
Recently I switched to a backpack style camera bag. I find with the movement of the children I am photographing, and the sun setting across the field, I am constantly moving about the field. With my equipment on my back, I am hands free and always know another lens, battery, or card is easily within reach. As well, I know where my equipment is and that there’s no chance of it being damaged or stolen from the field.
7. Keep Hydrated.
All the running about makes me especially thirsty. Be sure to bring a water for yourself for after the shoot. Recommend it to your clients too especially for a long shoot and/or in a remote location.
8. Last thing, before you go…
Be sure to tell your husband, family, and/or close friend the address of where will be shooting and the time frame you expect to be there. Go the old route and write the directions down on paper as you may not get cell reception in some field locations.
And be sure to put your car keys in a zippered pocket before you head out to the field.