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How To Find Photography Locations Like a Pro

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If you want to take your photography to the next level, then you need to be able to create unique photography. Many will say that composition is important, though, I believe that being able to show something your audience has not seen before is the real game-changer. That is why today I’m going to share with you how to find photography locations like a pro to take unique pictures.

In this tutorial, I’ll be showing what I consider the 3 main steps of photography scouting which includes:

  • Finding Inspiration
  • The Perfect Location
  • Getting Ready
  • In Location
  • Plan B

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Finding Inspiration

Getting ideas about what to shoot once you arrive at the location is easier than ever. Apps like Instagram or webpages like 500px make it easier than ever to find already great looking -and new as well- places to shoot.

The real thing is how to search them inside of these apps. For example, instead of searching in a popular hashtag where millions are uploading images, follow dedicated accounts that are already filtering the “good” images. 

A good example would be that rather searching for #japan, you’d follow As you can notice, this account has already done the job for you of finding the best images. 

Instagram page

The Perfect Location

Shrine in Japan

Now that you’ve found ideas of places you’d like to shoot, it is time to get the perfect location for that photo.

Let’s we found some great looking images about mount fuji while we were researching. Now it is time for you to look where those images were taken. See if they have a geolocalization tag or any reference point for you.

Then, you want to discover the place in Google maps so you know where exactly -or as close as possible- it is located. This way you won’t be missing time searching here and there not knowing where to go. 

At the very least, you want to have an idea of where the place is and how to get there. Use the 3D view mode and see if the location you’ve found and the image you saw match or not.

Shrine in Japan with Mount Fuji

Also, while Google maps is always my first go to web page for finding the perfect location, TripAdvisor is always helpful to find other images about the place. Besides, in TripAdvisor you’ll be able to see if the place is just for a picture or if you can arrive earlier and enjoy a bit of the area ?

Getting Ready

Now you’ve have an idea of what to shoot and the right places to shoot, you want try to maximize certainty for the photoshoot to happen. Do proper research on how can you make the best images in that location. It is well known that Cherry Blossoms in Japan occurs once a year for a period of roughly 2 weeks, or if you want to be enjoy the best foliage in Patagonia, then be sure to be there by April as it is in the Southern Hemisphere.

All these tiny details help enormously when it comes to creating a fantastic image, because we are looking to create the next level photography and not another holiday pic.

That’s why, be sure to check on apps like Photopills, Accuweather MapsMe to research if it will be rainy, at what time will the Golden Hour happen and how to get there if you happen to not have wifi.

In Location

Machu Picchu Panoramic
Instead of taking the classic “Machu Picchu” picture, I took a Pano. The result, a fantastic and original photography.

Now that you are in location, there are few things I want you to research for:

  1. What are the times of the day when there’s less people?
  2. Is there any possibility to take a great picture that isn’t the “common one”?

Generally speaking, there are always fewer people during early mornings than during sunsets. Though, there are certain locations that “must be visited during the morning”. This way, always try to arrive earlier than the rest to find a good spot and, if you weren’t able, then try to simply “get out of the box”. Shoot something different, take a look at my mastering composition article to get some ideas on how to make fantastic compositions

Plan B

So you’ve lost the train, it was rainy, a meteor hit the touristic destination and now you can’t take the image? Let’s be honest, if after all this planning you weren’t able to take it, simply comfort yourself with “it was meant to be”. Sometimes plans don’t go according to what you expect, and that’s a reality.

Now, heads up and remember, if you are here is because you are trying to create a next level photography! You job is to head back, reorganize, find close locations that could be of interest or simply forget about that dreamed shot and go shooting something different. Try shooting locals, cityscapes or food, the main thing is that you shoot. If you shoot, you have content and as long as you have content you can create something. The dreamed shot will be for a future time, no worries!

Now that you have read “How To Find Photography Locations Like a Pro”…

Remember that most of the work is before getting to the location, do your the research by following the next steps:

  • Finding Inspiration: look what to shoot for
  • The Perfect Location: find the perfect spots to shoot what you looked for
  • Getting Ready: make everything to minimize the risk of not getting the shot
  • In Location: check out when there’s less crowd and how to shoot new angles
  • Plan B: keep shooting

Hope explorers this “How To Find Photography Locations Like a Pro” was helpful for you. Remember to share this article and save this pin in your photography boards!

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