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How to Find Great Photography Locations
Photographers are always on the lookout for good shooting locations. Whether they are scouting potential locations for outdoor sessions with clients or are simply looking for interesting places that could present neat opportunities for pictures, it's a constant search. The good news is that there are a lot of readily available and free or very affordable resources for all sorts of locations. With options ranging from Instagram hashtags to networking with fellow photographers to asking clients, there is something for everyone. Happy hunting!
Where can you go to find great photography locations for outdoor sessions and more?
Just a Few Ideas
Photo Sharing Websites
Be on the Lookout
Google Map Street Views
Talk to Clients
Talk to Site Owners
Photo Location-Specific Sites
Photo Sharing Websites
People upload thousands of photos onto the most popular photo sharing websites everyday. You can look for general location ideas, such a great spots for photographing newborn babies, or you can search for locations within a specific area. In addition to doing general searches, don't forget to check out groups as well. Many photo sharing websites have groups for a wide range of topics. You should be able to find something that fits your specific needs. I've linked just a few of the most popular photo sharing sites, but don't be afraid to explore others, too.
- Welcome to Flickr - Photo Sharing
Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.
- deviantART: where ART meets application!
Art - community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.
- 500px is Photography
My DSLR, Eye-Fi, Snapseed, Instagram Workflow
There are a couple great ways to find photography locations on Instagram.
- Follow photographers. All sorts of photographers love to share their work on Instagram. If you can find even a handful of people who post photos that are relevant to you, you're guaranteed to get some great inspiration.
- Check relevant hashtags. The second method actually goes along with the first one. If you find great people to follow, it's likely that they use some awesome hashtags. There are tons of location-specific hashtags (i.e. #Chicago, #Wisconsin) as well as more general photography hashtags (i.e. #bokeh, #nofilter).
Stay on the Lookout
One of the simplest ways to scout new photography locations is to be on the lookout at all times. This may seem like an overwhelming, exhausting notion, but once you get in the habit, it will become unconscious. Any time you're out and about and you see an interesting spot, make a note about it. You may not have time to stop and check it out right then and there, but you can always come back and/or look up more information online. Now that a lot of people know that I'm always scouting new photography spots, I get a lot of recommendations, too, which is pretty cool.
Whether you are a hobbyist photographer or professional photographer or somewhere in the middle, it's important to get out there and meet other photographers. There is nothing like getting to discussion one of your passions with like minded people in person. Not all photographers are willing to discuss their favorite locations, as they're worried that people will steal their good ideas. While it is never okay to copy people's art explicitly, there is nothing wrong with using a great location with your own clients and own ideas.
Five Reasons Networking Is Important (For Photographers)
- Photography Forum & Digital Photography Forum
The Photography forum with photo hints, tips, advice and critique. Discuss everything from different camera models, including digital cameras, SLR's and more.
- Digital Photography School - Photography Forums
A Digital Photography Forum with digital camera reviews, digital photography techniques, tips and advice.
When you can't network with photographers in person and/or you're looking for information about locations that you haven't been able to find elsewhere, check out some photography forums. There are tons of forums online that can be a great resource for all sorts of photography topics, including locations. I've linked just a couple options on the right. Don't be afraid to explore additional forums as well.
Street Views on Google Maps
If you have an idea for a new location and are looking for more information, put the address into Google Maps and check out the street view. Unless you are searching in an extremely remote location, you are likely to get a pretty good street view. You won't get interior shots, but you may get a great exterior shot.
Sometimes clients have their own ideas for locations for engagement pictures, family photos, newborn sessions, and more. Many times these locations will be familiar to you, especially if you've been shooting in the area for a while, but you never know when a client will bring you to a great new location.
Preparation and Posing Tips for Couples on Photo Shoots
Talk to Site Owners
Have you ever come across a location that wasn't accessible but looked like it had great potential? Don't be afraid to look into it. Your inquiries may not get you anywhere, but a few phone calls or emails may get you exclusive access to a little known spot in town.
- ShutterGuides | Sharing great photography spots
ShutterGuides is the best way to share and discover awesome new photography spots around the world.
- ShotHotspot - The photography locations search engine
Find the most popular photo locations around the world with ShotHotspot. Whether its for landscapes, holiday snaps or shoots, we map millions of photographic hotspots - find one near you.
Photography Location-Specific Websites
Thanks to the capability to geo-tag photos and the generosity of numerous photographers who make use of this feature, sites like ShutterGuides and ShotHotspot can exist. Once upon a time, this type of archiving and research would have been extremely tedious and time consuming, but that is not so anymore. The best part is that it's very easy to add your own content. Once you've used one of these resources for a while, take the time to pay back the community by contributing a few shots.
Additional Resource for Finding Photography Locations
- How to Scout for Great Photography Session Locations | iHeartFaces.com
Three tips to help photographers scout for great session locations by Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman for iHeartFaces.com
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© 2013 Rose Clearfield