What Are the Differences Between On-Location and Studio Photo Shoots?

Capturing cherished memories in photos has become more than the stiffly posed pictures from the past. Today the trends are for more natural and relaxed photos that show off a family’s personality.

And when choosing how best to capture those images, the decision to have a photo session in a studio or on location photography will come into play. But how do you know which one is best for you and your family? What are the differences between each?

Let’s dive into what makes each of these options unique so you can make the best choice for your dream photo shoot.

On-Location Photography

Having an on-location photo shoot means going to a specific location, outside of the studio, to take pictures.

Usually, this means being outdoors, but it can also include a house, hospital, party venue, or anywhere in a different location than the studio. This option has become more and more popular over the years.

There are several advantages to this type of photography which include:

Unlimited Backgrounds

In a studio, you can only work with what you have. And even if that includes many different options, it still may not be able to capture the exact look you’re going for… then what can you do?

But shooting on location solves all of that. You literally have the world as a backdrop at your fingertips.

Whether you want a natural photo taken in an open field or park setting. Moments of your little one born in the hospital. Or a warm feeling of your family all gathered in your home.

An on-location photo shoot lets you have a seemingly endless array of possibilities for your dream photo.

More Personalized

When you have a photo shoot taken in a studio, you’re limited to the options that everyone else is given. It takes the uniqueness out of it.

For a more personalized setting, on location is where it’s at.

Where better to capture special family photos than in your home or at your favorite park? Or a maternity photo shoot at the site of your first date or location of the proposal?

The backdrop tells a story just as much as the subjects of the photo do. And when that backdrop is a meaningful place, it makes the picture that much more special.

Dynamic, Natural Shots

Shooting on location gives a photograph an energy that you just can’t replicate in the studio. Whether that energy comes from the natural surroundings, a candid shot, or unique backdrop, it’s beauty can’t be denied.

Nature itself gives a special kind of beauty. Natural sunlight provides a glow like none other. And you’d be surprised what effect natural light combined with artificial light can give.

Wind through the grass or trees in the background, and even through the subject’s hair, also gives a feeling of movement and life.

And there’s a sense of creative energy when you’re able to engage with the environment around you. If you’re shooting in a public space or just a quiet familiar one, there’s a unique interaction between the location and subjects that can complement each other in a photo.

Studio Photography

Studio photography takes place inside the photographer’s office or studio location. This space will house all their camera equipment, lighting, backdrops, and props.

Having photos taken in a studio has been the long-standing traditional way of having a photo session.

There are still advantages to taking this route which include:

Controlled Environment

While being on location can give you beautiful shots, but there’s much about it you can’t control.

Bad weather and limited sunlight are enough to ruin any photo shoot.

On an open set, there’s always a concern for distractions. The photographer could be worried about onlookers messing with equipment. Or the photo subject can’t concentrate because of too much activity around them.

But you don’t have to worry about any of that in a studio.

All distractions are gone. The environment is ideal. And you can concentrate on the task at hand.


Many people can be uncomfortable in an on-location setting, simply due to the lack of privacy.

Any open setting has the possibility of onlookers. And trying to pose for pictures with people staring at you might not be the relaxing atmosphere you may need.

And it’s especially true if you’re having a photo shoot with a bit more intimacy involved. Such as certain maternity shots. Some things just shouldn’t be on full display for the public to see.

In studio gives you all the privacy you need. You can feel comfortable and more relaxed, which will show in the quality of your photos.


Sometimes a studio is convenient, not only for the controlled environment and privacy, but for easy access to any photography equipment or props that may be needed.

Natural lighting is ideal, but sometimes a photo shoot calls for more specific lighting. Especially when there is a certain look the photographer is after. Being able to dial in and create the exact effect needed can make all the difference.

And there’s no need to worry about forgetting any props. It’s all already right there! The same holds true for camera equipment.

Plus, if you have potty training little ones who need to get to facilities asap, being outdoors might not be ideal for them… or you!

Studio or On Location Photography Can Capture Memories for a Lifetime

Depending on your preference and needs, choosing to be in the studio or having on location photography is sure to give you photos you will cherish forever. It’s all in knowing what is right for you and your family.

Ready to schedule the photo shoot of your dreams? Contact us today! We’d be happy to answer any questions and schedule your next session.

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