Great portrait locations.
Great portrait locations are everywhere, depending on what kind of portraits you are creating and what your are looking for. Light rules. If the light is awful, find another location. Every town or city has great portrait locations, it is just a matter of finding places that provide backgrounds that are not too busy and don’t overwhelm the subject(s) and you need to know the time of day when the light will be perfect. High noon is not great, ends of days are. (note: I have photographed many noontime weddings, where I use flash, or decide to blow out backgrounds if I have to to capture good portraits or action at high noon. This article speaks to the ideal light for portraits only)
This example above was literally a pretty bush by the side of the road! I loved the colors against her neutral clothing, and the woods behind her were not distracting. The most important thing was that the sky was wide open (no big trees) at an angle slightly to the side and in front of her so I could use it to light her face. It was late afternoon warm light with the sun backlighting the trees behind her which was beautiful in my 200 mm lens. I used a reflector on one side to fill in some shadows and pop some highlights in her eyes.
If you were able to see the area and roadside where this portrait was taken, you would probably not think it would be a great portrait location. (Too bad I did not think to photograph this area alone, but will make a mental note next time I run into this situation.) While I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing and being really excited about what I was seeing through the lens, her mom could not figure out what was so great about this bush by the side of the road. It turned out to be one of their favorite photos.
Next, there are the wide open expanses of water, fields or cityscapes. These make great backgrounds and locations too. This photo was from an engagement session at Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI. Another great portrait location. We found soft evening light, side lit on their faces for dimension, the background of water was not busy and set off the couple beautifully and the land across the bay holds it all together. Plus, I always love shooting through wildflowers! This was a great portrait location that we had planned together because they love the sea.
The take away here is that there are great locations everywhere. Most professional photographers know how to read the light and know where to go in their area for great portraits.
I have many spots for different times of the year that I know are great near me. Old Barns, fields, stonewalls and beaches. It is a fun job to have.