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Photo Contest Insider Blog

Tips for Scouting Stunning Locations for Your Next Photo Shoot

March 17, 2017

Often, a location can either make or break an image, so it’s important to choose the most perfect scenery as possible for your next photo shoot.

Finding these can be quite difficult, however, even if you’ve lived in a particular city or state your whole life!

Today, we’re going to break down all of these uncertainties by sharing our top tips for scouting stunning locations for your next photo shoot. Let’s go adventuring!

For those who don’t want to leave the house

If you’re not exactly the adventurous type (or you simply have a last-minute photo shoot to quickly find a location for), then you’ll be pleased to hear that you can even scout your perfect backdrop from the comfort of your own home.

Armed with a trusty smartphone or computer, scouting locations is now easier than ever before. Three platforms recommended to us by professional photographers include The Photographer’s Ephemeris, Panoramio, and Shoot Local App.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris is helpful for those who already have a general idea of the area they want to shoot in. It lets you see the terrain and elevation of certain locations, along with important information such as how the sun or moon will appear at the specific time you want to shoot there. For example, it gives you the exact angle that either the sun or moon will be appearing at, therefore helping you to determine what kind of light you’ll be photographing in. Now that’s high-tech!

Tips for Scouting Stunning Locations for Your Next Photo Shoot

Panoramio is a website which is available as a layer in Google Maps and Google Earth. It lets users learn more about a specific area by viewing photos that other users have taken at that place. This gives you a great idea of the kind of scenery and landscapes available, helping you to determine the perfect location for your photo shoot.

Shoot Local App is a relatively new app which allows photographers to index the interesting photography locations they have scouted, therefore sharing them with other photographers. Josh from ExpertPhotography explains: “everyone is a location scout adding wonderful scenes and picturesque backdrops for you to capture in your next project.” Who doesn’t love a good collaboration?

Get lost

If you’ve been bitten by the adventurer bug, then this is the location scouting method for you. Basically, it’s good to always keep your eyes peeled for the perfect photo shoot location, even when you’re walking your dog, going for a run, or simply partaking in an afternoon stroll. Don’t be afraid to venture off the path (if it’s safe to do so of course!), take a wrong turn, or wander aimlessly – who knows what gorgeous locations you’ll stumble upon! Trust us when we say that some of the most intriguing and stunning shoot backdrops have come from arriving at a place by accident.

Tips for Scouting Stunning Locations for Your Next Photo Shoot

Find inspiration

With websites such as Pinterest and even through admiring the work of other photographers, it’s not too hard to discover new and exciting locations which are perfect for your next photo shoot.

If a photographer within your local area snaps a gorgeous landscape and showcases it on their Instagram, don’t be afraid to ask them where it is (if they haven’t already shared that information in the caption or location field).

Alternatively, you might search for a particular city, state, or town on a site such as Pinterest to see what popular images are being showcased from that region. This is a great way to discover pristine beaches, scenic woodlands, or even quirky cafes – the options are endless!

Tips for Scouting Stunning Locations for Your Next Photo Shoot

Things to keep in mind

While there are quite a few ways of scouting stunning locations for your next photo shoot, there are also some important factors you must take into consideration to determine whether the area is perfect for your next shoot.

Firstly, keep in mind what story you want to create with your images and ask yourself whether or not that location assists with telling this tale. You’ll also want to visit your location at the time that you plan to shoot there, as this helps you to determine important things such as the light, possible weather conditions, and whether or not the area draws a crowd.

Additionally, take into account how easy or safe your location is to get to – can you imagine yourself being able to lug your heavy equipment here, along with a team, on the day of the shoot? Don’t forget to also determine whether there is shelter / a ‘plan B’ in case of wet weather.

Lastly, don’t overlook the fact that some locations require permission to shoot there, especially if it’s not an outdoor space that’s available to the public (i.e a National Park). It’s always best to be on the safe side!

Tips for Scouting Stunning Locations for Your Next Photo Shoot

Will you be using any of these tips for scouting stunning locations for your next photo shoot? We wish you the best of luck if you are!

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