Shooting in a good location is the starting point of any great photo.
Finding great locations is always a challenge, especially when you have been shooting for some time.
Location scouting is a skill that you need to learn if you want to bring your landscape photography to the next level.
Today, we’re going to share 5 location scouting tips that can bring your landscape photography to the next level.
Web App and Mobile App
In this digital century, the internet and smartphones can play an important role in photography. There are apps that can help you with landscape photography location scouting.
Shot Hot Spot
￼Sites like Flickr support geo-tagging – ShotHotSpot can easily search with different databases and give you photo ideas within a certain city or town.
When you get to ShootHotSpot homepage, simply type in the location you are looking for. For example, I searched for Hong Kong.
After a few seconds, you will get the result. You can filter it by photo types or by Hotspots keywords. Let’s select Tsing Ma Bridge, for example.
Now you can see lots of photos of Tsing Ma Bridge. You can also zoom in and out of the map to check for a more accurate location.
Stuck on Earth App (iOS and Android)
This is a free app created by Trey Ratcliff, photographer of StuckInCustom. Similar functions to Shot Hot Spot, but available on a smartphone.
When you first start StuckOnEarth, you need to input some details, such as your name.
This app is great because it provides voice tutorials on using the app.
Once you have adjusted your settings, you can start exploring your nearby spots. Let’s try “Explore Spots Near You.”
You can then see lots of location points with the corresponding photo. Tap to enlarge those photos and check the exact location.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris
This is a web-app that can help you visualise how your shot will be in a particular location. You can see how light falls on your spot, both day and night, by the sun and moon location calculator.
For example, if you want to photograph the blue boat house in Perth, WA, you can see where and when the sun will rise on a specific day. You can also check it with sunset, moonrise, etc. The Photographer’s Ephemeris also includes an iOS and Android version.
Online Sharing Platforms for Photographers
When you want to scout a new location to shoot, look around different sharing platforms. You will not only find new locations, but also learn from other photographers techniques.
Here I will show you three popular platforms that you can use to scout your next location.
Even though they seem a bit old school, many photographers are still actively participating in forums. From sharing their works to helping other photographers to improve, forums can be one of your best platforms to find location ideas.
Flickr is an international photo sharing platform. Thousands to millions of images are uploaded every day. You can easily search for a particular location or topic. However, the quality of images varies on Flickr.
World map is a great tool to explore your next trip. You can scout lots of different landscape photography ideas.
You can find lots of amazing images on 500px. From sunrise, to milky way – there are all kinds of great landscape photos. 500px supports keywords function, so you can easily search a location with their database.
For example, if you want to find a Tokyo landscape – just type “Tokyo” in to the search bar.
In the results page, filter the categories to landscape. This will give you a better idea of what Tokyo looks like.
When you click on a photo and select “detail”, you will have a chance to see the location map for the shot.
No one knows shooting spots of a city better than the local photographers. You can easily scout a new location via these local photography communities. You can also find photography buddies and network with other photographers.
Here are a few ways to find local communities.
There are lots of landscape photography experts sharing their experience and photos on Facebook groups.
The best part is that you can find lots of local photography groups.
After you type in the keywords, click the bottom one to show all results.
Then you can choose to show groups only on the navigation menu.
In Google+, you can easily search with a hashtag or keyword.
For example, you want to search for a location in London. Simply type “London Landscape” in the search box.
You will get lots of results, both people and pages, which you can use to find a great location.
IM App Group
People love to use instant messagers like WhatsApp and Line. Some photographers create group chats to share their experiences, skills, locations etc.
Try to join some of these IM group chats – you may find a wealth of new locations.
As you can see, I have joined a Line group with 131 people, as well as a WeChat group with 152 people. These fellow photographers always come up with new ideas for landscape locations.
Just Walk and Drive
When you are stuck for photo locations, don’t think too much and just go for a walk or drive. When you get to somewhere you have never been to, you may discover awesome new scenes that no one has discovered.
Look for a Different Point of View
When scouting for locations, try to look for high points – the top of a mountain, the roof of a building, etc. You will have a different view, which others have yet to capture.
You can also try to look for a low angle and shoot up. This will also bring you to a uncommon angle which normally leads to great photos.
Make Use of a Drone
When you get in to Aerial Photography, you will start a new chapter in your landscape photography. With a professional drone camera, you can shoot some impossible angles.
You can have a new angle for every old location that you have visited. Even though I am yet to try it, I have seen that lots of photographers are capturing stunning photographs with drones.