Written by 8:44 am Behind the Scenes, Photography, Videography

Inspiring Before & After: How 8 Creatives Transformed Empty Shooting Locations

These photographers and videographers demonstrate how they make the most of their shooting locations for professional results.

These photographers and videographers demonstrate how they make the most of their shooting locations for professional results. An empty space offers creatives the opportunity to bring something new to the world. An abandoned train station becomes the scene for a music video. A white-walled studio becomes the backdrop for a passion project. Blank space leads to big ideas and these 8 professionals show us how they transformed each of these shooting locations to make their visions come to life.

Menswear Moves with Photographer Melissa de Mata

Freelance photographer and creative director Melissa de Mata shares her creative process behind this Menswear shoot.

How did you get into photography?

Melissa: I’ve always taken photography seriously but didn’t see myself pursuing it as a career full time until two years ago. I was at a place where I was able to work part time from home and dip into freelancing slowly. After about six months, I felt comfortable enough to fully freelance and it’s been the best decision I’ve made career-wise.

What drew you to this shooting location?

Melissa: I’m inspired the most when I see a blank canvas. That’s what I saw in this studio space – a blank space that I could create on. It didn’t distract from the subject and allowed him to be front and center.

What was the concept for the shoot?

Melissa: I’ve always been interested in what makes an individual unique and bringing that out without any extra distractions. I knew I wanted to find someone who would be able to stand out and perform with little to no props and someone who has a great sense of style and magnetic personality that would translate on film.

Man dancing in hat in front of well-lit white wall.

After: See the final short films and photos from the shoot.

ESPN and G-Eazy Take Over an Abandoned Train Station

Viet Mac, owner of Mac House Productions, has made unique shooting locations a vital part of his business. When he was commissioned by ESPN to create a video featuring rapper G-Eazy for the Golden State Warriors, his approach was no different.

What drew you to this location?

Viet: It was a perfect match. Everyone at ESPN was totally stoked on that shooting location and that we were able to book it on that kind of timeline. The idea that there’s this platform that allows us to be able to create something out of nothing and bring people together to make their dreams come true is amazing.

See more behind the scenes from this music video shoot.

Shoedazzle’s Lookbook Set in a Beachy Cabin

Shoedazzle’s Creative Director, Jimmy Matsuki, creates a wintery escape for their Cabin Fever collection. He shares more about the shoot and why he chose this shooting location.

What was the creative process for the Cabin Fever lookbook?

Jimmy: The concept for this shoot was Cabin Fever, a collection for Winter Escapes. Our mood board was planned about a month in advance of shooting and included core colors such as Tapioca, Shadow Grey, Sequoia, and other key fashion trends happening in the month of December. We drew on those colors and fashion trends to conceptualize what type of location we were looking for as well as styling, model choice, lighting, and hair and makeup.

What drew you to the LA Modern Beach Cabin?

Jimmy: We were drawn to the LA Modern Beach Cabin because it encompassed rich wooden textures. We scouted the location and learned from the owner that he hand-built his cabin and really took the time to find different wood to lay throughout the house. The outside of the house is lined with deeper and polished wood textures while the inside has a lighter and roughed texture that really caught our eye. We fell in love with the architecture of the space and booked it!

Model sitting in front of an outdoor fireplace.

After: Learn more about this Cabin Fever lookbook.

A Lifestyle Shoot with Sun Basket

Third Culture Production produced this shoot for their client, Sun Basket, who were preparing to launch their new Family Plans. From the experience of cooking to sitting down and sharing the meal, the idea was to capture families enjoying time together.

Why did you choose the space?

TC Production: We chose the space because it was in line with the client’s direction and it had the perfect balance of modern elegance and rustic charm. They wanted a kitchen that was beautiful and felt accessible to their audience. It was bright and light and had reclaimed natural wood, making it homey and inviting.

How did you transform the space to fit your needs?

TC Production: We didn’t transform the space too much beyond just the dressing of the scene. Our prop stylist brought in kitchen and dining room accessories that fit the client’s brand. Part of the reason we loved the space was because of its existing elements, so we really just played off that with dishes, cookware, and other details.

Woman on a shooting location using kitchen table for family scene.

After: Learn more about Sun Basket.

Harper’s BAZAAR Camera Ready Production  

Angel Lenise, HarpersBAZAAR.com and ELLE.com’s video producer, is a storyteller at heart (proof from her Instagram). Here she shares how she made the shoot come together so seamlessly.

How’d you get into video production?

Angel: My background is in journalism but my true passion lies at the intersection of music, culture, and style. I picked up my first video camera as a mass media major at Clark Atlanta University and continued my studies at Columbia Journalism School where I earned my master’s degree. Building my craft in New York City — full of life, energy, and creativity — really encouraged me to steer away from hard news and meld my love of visual narratives with a more artistic pursuit. I’ve been at Hearst, where I produce video content for ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR, for a year now. And it’s been the perfect place for me to do just that.

Why did you choose the space?

Angel: My team was looking for a space that was multidimensional. Our aim was to style our model for three different occasions: a day at the office, a night out, and a weekend about town. This particular space was furnished to fit that need. We didn’t have to buy any props or do much staging! We also loved that the loft had a very clean, crisp aesthetic. It wasn’t cluttered and it was easy for my team to reset from one look to the next. That definitely made for a seamless experience, especially since we were working on a tight schedule.

How did you transform the space to fit your vision?

Angel: Luckily, we didn’t have to transform the space at all. Again, it was important that the space we booked was camera-ready. And we were able to find that (literally, in less than an hour) using Peerspace.

Woman in suit in front of windows and desk.

After: See the finished video and stills from the shoot.

Zach Allia Takes His Shoot to the Sea

Photographer Zach Allia created a coastal shoot on one of Peerspace’s vintage yachts.

How’d you get into photography?

Zach: I’ve been taking photos for 17 years after taking a photography class in high school. I really enjoyed the process of developing my own film and making prints but it eventually got too expensive. I took a number of years off working in tech before saying goodbye to that space and pursuing photography full time.

What was the concept for this shoot?

Zach: We brought a group of photographers and models on the yacht so we could use the space to its maximum potential and get a number of unique looks. The space was perfect as is and the only thing we did to transform it was to bring it out on the water up the coast.

Why did you choose the yacht as your location?

Zach: I love to shoot outdoors and also love the ocean. When I found this vintage yacht, I was immediately sold on using it for my location.

Athena Grace for Sackcloth x Ashes

Athena Grace is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle. She worked with Sackcloth x Ashes to create this cozy lifestyle shoot.

How did you get into photography?

Athena: I have always been a storyteller and everyone always told me I’d end up a writer one day. Words have always been a means of healing and identity for me, but it wasn’t until I picked up a camera that I found visual storytelling to both satisfy my own heart and bless others.

What was the purpose of this shoot?

Athena: The shoot was to provide lifestyle images for Sackcloth & Ashes’ website and social media. The blankets have become more than a product – through strategic marketing and intentional cultural timing, the blankets have actually become a touch point for community, adventure, and generosity. Young people from around the globe are purchasing blankets and exploring incredible places, getting together with friends and strangers, and uniting to support a very underreported, controversial but beautiful cause.

What drew you to the sunlit studio in Pioneer Square?

Athena: That both the walls and floor are white, with wood accents and incredibly large windows, providing stunning light.

Couple dancing on top of gray couch.

After: See how photographer Athena Grace brought this brand’s story to life.

Cheetah is the New Black Styles a Sonoma Farmhouse

The blogger behind Cheetah is the New Black, Alicia Lund, worked with HP to style this fall shoot. Using natural elements and rustic-inspired props, she was able to create a dreamy feature.

How did you get into styling?

Alicia: Styling started out as just a hobby. I created my blog, Cheetah is the New Black, when I was 23 (so I’ve been blogging for almost eight years now). The blog opened the doors to many styling projects and opportunities. When I was living in New York, I worked for ELLE and was offered a couple styling projects without much experience. But once I worked behind the scenes and realized how much I enjoyed styling, I jumped right in.

What was the concept for this shoot?

Alicia: I wanted to celebrate the start of fall so I put together a dreamy feature using all natural elements. The wood, organic colors, and local produce came together for a rustic farm-to-fork meal. I also wanted to capture a group of girlfriends cooking together in the kitchen and enjoying each other’s company.

Why did you choose this location?

Alicia: I was actually hired as a stylist for a shoot there this past spring. I had been thinking about that Sonoma farmhouse and wanted to go back there to shoot something that I came up with creatively on my own.

Outdoor wooden table.

After: Get photography styling tips from blogger Alicia Lund.

If you need a new shooting location to bring your idea to life, check out Peerspace, an online marketplace that gives you access to the most undiscovered and unique locations. Follow Peerspace on Instagram to see more creativity from the community.

Tags: Last modified: July 7, 2021