I often get asked where I take my pictures or how I find the perfect spots for photoshoots. When you’re not on vacation where everything seems beautiful and special it can be hard to find the perfect setting. We often underestimate where we live and don’t really see the beauty around us because it is part of our day to day life. I love street photography, the rural industrial vibe, simply because the outfit becomes a show stopper in an environment that is minimalistic. When travelling in Europe and taking outfit pictures in the streets of Paris for example, you could literally be wearing a plastic bag and it would still look good. The architecture steals the show and of course I like that whimsical style but we hardly have anything comparable in Canada; hence why I love the rougher look. Industrial settings have been a big part of high fashion and editorial photography. On an artistic point of view when working with a rustic location it is challenging to find the perfect outfit and it really needs to be on point to soften the aesthetic of the general image you’re trying to create.
So now that I’ve shared my love for the abandoned warehouses (just kidding but that is actually my thought when I say industrial), I will share how I find all these perfect locations. When I first moved to Toronto I was doing a lot of freelance modelling and would pick and choose editorial projects. That’s when I realised I liked modelling but I preferred organising the whole thing; finding the photoshoot location and putting the outfit together. I found out how much I loved abandoned locations when I did a photoshoot and the photographer brought me in an alley way. At first I was quite skeptical and felt uneasy (I remember even telling him is that the scene where you kill me and then laughed) because I was new to Toronto and didn’t know the area at all. The alley was perfect it looked like it was out of a New York movie, the metal emergency escape stairs, graffiti and garbage bins(of course). All this to say that to this day I look for this exact type of location, the location that opened my imagination to the editorial world.
When my boyfriend moved to Buffalo a few months ago I found the perfect editorial city. Most people find Buffalo sketchy, apart from the downtown area of course, but I saw beauty everywhere. A big part of this city is abandoned warehouses. The first time we drove through I felt like it was a ghost town but obviously you come to know where to go and where everybody hangs out. My boyfriend would even get annoyed at times because I wanted to take pictures at every stop light. So here are my pointers when looking for a rustic look: First, it needs colour, you can’t just find any concrete wall and call it rustic. It needs some sort of “vavavoum” like they say, a mural, a simple pale colour. Second, an accessory. If the location is bland and doesn’t have some sort of background to it you need something you can sit on or hold on to for example, a railing. Third and last, the outfit needs to stand out. You can’t wear a bland outfit when you have a simple background it will just get lost in translation. In this articles pictures I saw this vintage looking ice-cream shop and fell in love with their wooden sign. I obviously had to take some pictures with the sign and my boyfriend had trouble understanding my concept(men?). Oh and if you were asking yourself why I am not holding an ice cream cone it was part of the plan but they had no lactose free ice-cream. Yes, I am one of those people that doesn’t eat lactose and I am not going to buy something to make a picture “instaworthy” like they say.
On that note, I hope I was helpful and this will help you figure out your next location for an Instagram photoshoot!
Photos by: Tom Morrison
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