How to Find Photography Locations While Travelling – Podcast 031

In this episode B and Jack talk about how to find photography locations while traveling. First, they outline the reasons why it might make sense to research good places for photos. After they provide the 9 main online tools to find photography locations.

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1. Summary

1.1. The topic within the Digital Nomad Life System [2:43]

  • The Digital Nomad Life System is a 6-step system created by us at Nomad Tactics that aims to explain how someone can go from living a non-nomadic normal life to living an optimized digital nomad life.
  • The fifth step of the system is called “Nomadic Living”. This is the broadest of all steps in the system. It basically can be understood as all the advice that would be relevant to a digital nomad when he is living in a base. This is of course very much context-sensitive depending on the specific situation of the digital nomad. You will only be taking photos (as well as researching about good photography locations) while you living in some locations as a digital nomad, thus we place this topic in this step.
  • To have a general overview of the Digital Nomad Life System you should listen to this episode.

1.2. Reasons why you would want to find photography locations while you travel [3:55]

  • Good photos: The first and most obvious reason why you would want to find interesting photography locations while you travel is because you can take photos. Genius, I know. Since taking and sharing photos is one of the most common hobbies among digital nomads, this was the driving force for why we decided to record this episode.
  • Record your memories: Despite if you know how to take photos well or not I think there is a good case to be made for simply taking photos no matter what (even amateurish ones) while you travelling in order to properly record your trip. Thus, going to interesting photography locations making sense. I will not extend myself too much on this topic of how to record your travels since I plan to record an episode dedicated to the subject.
  • The majority of interesting places for photography are also interesting places to visit no matter what: This is perhaps the least commonsensical reason why it makes sense to find good photography locations while you travelling, yet, it seems to me, a very valid reason. Many interesting photo locations are also interesting locations to visit independent of you intending to taking photos or not. This is because, at the very least, these are visually interesting places. Even though not all the places you will want to visit while travelling will be because of aesthetics (there are many places that are visually uninteresting although relevant to be visited due to a number of reasons; like historical significance), many of them will be. Thus, it makes sense for you to search for good places to shoot, even if you do not intend to take photos at all, but rather simply visit for the sake of looking.

1.3. How to find photography locations that are interesting while you travel [6:14]

A.Photo-sharing platforms

These are websites where users upload their photos to share with other people. The most popular one being Instagram. Some of these websites are used by the general public and some focus more on professional photography. Even though these websites were not directly created with the aim of providing photographic locations, you can use those to find interesting places to shoot. The way to find photography locations will vary slightly from website to website.

  • Instagram: In the case of Instagram you should search “geotags” and “hashtags”  of the cities or countries you intend to visit. You will be presented with a number of photos that were shot in those locations. Now it is only a matter of scrolling down the feed and finding visually interesting places. Usually, you will not be provided with the exact location where the photos were taken so perhaps you will need to ask the person that took the photo for the specific location.
  • Flickr and 500px: Flicker and 500px are websites mostly used by professional photographers. Instead of using hashtags or geotags to search in these websites, you will simply need to search the name of the country or city and use relevant filters (e.g. “most popular”, “most relevant”) to find relevant images. Now it is only a matter of scrolling down the feed and looking for interesting images. I tend to have more success in finding good photo spots on these two websites if compares to Instagram. Also, the good thing about these websites is that in many instances the photographers upload images with metadata that provides you with the exact coordinates of where the photos were taken. If those are not available, you can, just like when you were using Instagram, ask the photographer for the location.

B. Photo scouting websites

These websites were created exactly with the intention of allowing people to find photography locations around the world. These websites aggregate, by a number of different methods, interesting photography spots. What you will do when using these websites is to simply type the name of the country or city you are and it will show you photos of some of the main spots

There are a number of websites with this aim, yet these tend to provide you with somewhat different results, so I would check them all. The main websites that I check are the following: Photohound ,Shothotspot ,Locationscout ,Pixeo

C. Local photographer’s Facebook groups

Another method that you can use is to join local photographers’ groups on Facebook. There you can simply the interesting photos and/or directly ask other photographers for suggestions

D.Google research

Search on the Google search engine the following terms: {[“location name” (i.e. city or country)] + [“shooting location” OR “most beautiful places” OR ”unique locations” OR “intagrammable spots” OR “photographic locations” OR “photogenic locations”]}

You will be able to find many websites and blogs that provide you with such information especially if the place you search is a somewhat popular destination. 

Alternatively, you can use the same search terms just mentioned and use Google Images (instead of the conventional Google search) to search directly for images, find the ones you find interesting and then dig the location of those by clicking on the page they were posted.

E. Pinterest

Pinterest usually is used for other purposes (e.g. fashion, style) but I find it also a useful tool to find photography locations. Especially when you are looking for some more odd or unique kinds of locations

Somewhat similar to Google search you should use terms like: {[“location name” (i.e. city or country)] + [“shooting location” OR “most beautiful places” OR ”unique locations” OR “intagrammable spots” OR “photographic locations” OR “photogenic locations”]}

F.Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura is a website that shows you the location of unique, odd, abandoned and strange places around the world. There should be no surprise that many (though not all) of these places are also great locations to take photos. What you will do here is simply type the country or the city and look at the photos of the different spots indicated on the website. Using this service goes back to the idea that great photography spots can also be great places to visit regardless of you wanting to take photos or not. In fact, I will record an episode in the future to exclusively talk about how to find interesting places to visit (which is a broader category than good photography locations).

G. Where Is This

On this website, some people upload photos on unknown locations and others try to help to find the respective locations where those photos were taken. Think of a website like Quora but dedicated to finding out photos’ location. The website is great because most people only upload images of visually interesting places, since these are the kind of places that would intrigue someone enough in the first place to ask where is the location. So you can simply search for the name of the country in which you are going to and see which photos appear with their respective locations. Sometimes you will be able to find some hidden gems.

H. Google Maps

Many people use Google Maps to check the reviews of places and for directions. What not many people know is that Google Maps is also a great tool to find photo spots. First, go to the city in which you are looking for photo spots in the map and then click on the small arrow upwards next to the street view icon in the right down corner of the page. A pop-up bar should appear on the bottle part of the page. There it will show you photos of places that are frequently photographed and indicate where are those on the map. Yet, keep in mind that these are places that are simply frequently photographed, thus sometimes these are simply famous and popular touristic attractions rather than truly good photographic spots.

I. Google Earth

In the same way that you can use Google Maps to find photo spots, you can also use Google Earth. In fact, Google Earth can be used in a number of different ways to aid you with your photography. I shall cover this in the future, but today I will limit myself to talk about the simplest way to find good photo locations using Google Earth. What you will do here is to simply go to the Google Earth page in your browser and click on the menu button in the top-left section of the page. There you will be able to turn on the option “Photos”. Now what you will simply do is to search the name of the city/country in which you intend to shoot and you will be able to see in the map little bubbles with photos. These are the photos of places that are frequently photographed.  Yet, keep in mind that these are places that are simply frequently photographed, thus sometimes these are simply famous and popular touristic attractions rather than truly good photographic spots.

2. Transcript

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3. Resources