Scouting a Photography location

November 3, 2017 by Mike in Hints and tips How to 0 comments
Scouting a Photography location

Scouting a location

When I’m shooting in a new location, or I want to find new places to photograph near home, there’s nothing better than getting out and about.

I search on google maps for things that stand out, I look to see what other photographers have captured in the area to get inspiration and then we go out hiking, up in the mountains, along beaches, etc, and find the things we’ve seen on line.

Step 1

When searching on google, look for things you might find interesting….you have to use your imagination a little here, but any big standout features can work.

Step 2

Find out what other photographers have captured in the area. This might seem like you’re copying others, but you need to learn your craft, and what better way than to learn off others.

When you learn to play an instrument, you pick your best songs, find a “how to play” video on YouTube and then learn to play it. Once you get good enough and know the principles…..and want to take it to another level….you start to write your one songs. Photography is the same, learn from the best, and then make it your own!

Another way to look at this is to go to the popular sites and take the classic well known images at that location, and then find your own compositions.

Step 3 

Getting out and about is not only good for your health….it can be good for your photography!

Now you have done your research online, it’s time to get out there and explore. Do a little research on hiking in the area and find some trails that will safely take you to where you think will be a good spot and then get out there.

Remember, good hiking boots, appropriate clothes for the weather then enough food and water for the hike you’ve chosen. Also check with the local mountaineering club or tourist information bases about where is safe and what is advised on your proposed day out.

This first journey isn’t so much about getting a good shot as scoping the area for what it might be able to offer you. I tend to do this in the day, when there are plenty of daylight hours and good weather. We prepare all of our gear, make sure we have supplies for the day and then head out and explore.

Once you’ve scouted the area, and found a potential site. Use an app like photopills or the photographers ephemeris to work out where the sun might set or rise, or where the moon or milky way might be at a certain time. You know, all of those people taking selfies…..maybe they were just using the AR function on PhotoPills (Little “in joke” for those that know the app! :-))



Then you can plan when you will come back….when the light will be best, and when there might be an interesting sky. Also another good reason to scout a location is that if you are planning a night shot, you will be familiar with the lie of the land before heading back to the location in the dark. I always try and do this when on an astroshoot.

Sometimes you’ll have to keep heading back to a location time and time again until you get the conditions you want. Some photographs I’ve envisaged haven’t come together for a long time….I still have some images I want to take near me….I’m just waiting for the right conditions.

We nearly got stuck on our day out, so we learned that we need to get a 4×4 and not underestimate the terrain here in the UAE.

This is one of my experiences recently

A few months ago, we went to Mt Bromo in Java, Indonesia. We spent three days there and went to the classic lookout points. Once I got the classic sunrise shot, we explored the area as much as possible to find other places to photograph. I have others that I like more and they were ones that I have never seen before. I explored the composition and just shot it as much as possible for there days.

So With a little planning and some exploration, you can find photographs that are unique to you no matter where you are in the world. Now go do some research and get out there and explore!

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