22 Nov


A Photographer’s Guide to Ordinary Locations

Turning ordinary locations into the picture perfect backdrop is something that, as a photographer, you learn pretty quickly. It’s like uncovering hidden treasures in plain sight. From a neighbor’s front yard to an unassuming parking lot, each place holds potential for creative and unique photography. 





1. The Art of Seeing Differently

Embrace the Unusual

The key to utilizing everyday locations is to see them through a new lens – quite literally. What makes a place photographically interesting isn’t always its inherent beauty, but rather its textures, patterns, and the story it can tell.

A simple front yard can offer a variety of settings. From the intricate patterns of a wrought-iron gate to the whimsical look of a blooming garden, each element has the potential to add depth and interest to your photographs. Parking lots, especially during golden hours, can provide a minimalist backdrop with their clean lines and open spaces. The trick is to use the vastness and simplicity to your advantage, creating a contrast with the subject.

Utilize Light and Shadows

Lighting plays a crucial role in photography, and when you’re working with everyday locations, it becomes even more critical. The soft, warm light during sunrise or sunset can transform any location. The long shadows and golden glow add a layer of magic to the most ordinary spots. Use shadows to create drama and depth. The interplay between light and dark can turn a plain wall or a simple sidewalk into a canvas for striking compositions.


2. Crafting Stories in Every Setting

Incorporate Movement and Life

Everyday locations often come with their own set of dynamics – people walking by, cars moving in the background, the rustle of trees. Use these elements to add life and movement to your photos. Capture the essence of everyday life with candid shots of people and activities. The hustle and bustle of street scenes can add a lively, authentic feel to your photos. Even in urban settings, you can find touches of nature. A lone tree, a row of bushes, or a patch of grass can break the monotony and bring a fresh perspective.

Play with Perspectives

Changing your point of view is another tip in this guide to ordinary locations becoming interesting ones. Don’t just shoot from eye level. Try different angles – shoot from a low point to emphasize height, or from above to capture patterns and layouts. Utilize reflective surfaces like windows or puddles to add an artistic twist. Textures like peeling paint or rust can also create fascinating backdrops.


3. Color and Composition: The Photographer’s Palette

Bold Colors and Monochromes

Colors can dramatically alter the mood and impact of a photograph. Use them to your advantage. Bright colors can make your subject stand out against a neutral background. Look for walls with graffiti, colorful doors, or even street art. A monochromatic color scheme can create a timeless, classic look. It works especially well in urban settings with concrete, metal, and glass.

Compose with Care

Composition is critical, especially in unconventional locations. This classic photography rule helps in balancing your photo and creating a pleasing composition. Place your subject off-center for a more natural and engaging layout. Use lines – sidewalks, fences, or building edges – to lead the eye towards your subject. Frame your subject with natural or architectural elements to add depth.


The world around us is brimming with photographic potential. As a photographer, my joy comes from unveiling these hidden opportunities, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Whether it’s the simplicity of a front yard, the geometric appeal of a parking lot, or the untamed beauty of street life, each location has a story waiting to be told through the lens.


Guide to Ordinary Locations: The Reinbold Family


I used this guide to ordinary locations with the Reinbold family. We took their family photos at the Springville Museum of Art, but were chasing the final bit of Autumn colors. We went for a little walk across the street where we found the stunning foliage in the front yard of  someone’s home  😍.

We stayed on the sidewalk, but we were still able to capture that color we were looking for. Just browse their gallery below!

Let’s venture out together and use this guide to ordinary locations and turn them into your personal canvas of memories. Contact me to book your session, and let’s create magic in the most unexpected places! P.s. View my other galleries over on IG >> @brookebakken