how do photographers find locations

How do you find outdoor photoshoot locations near you? Everyone has their own methods to finding great spots, usually a combination of what they’ve learned and what they find works for them. So, how do photographers find locations?

Here are a few tricks I use to find new areas to capture images.

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How do Photographers Find Locations? How do I Find Photoshoot Location Ideas Near Me?

What you don’t want is to be always capturing images of over-photographed places. Now if you’re looking for that iconic view or photograph that you’ve seen online, then by all means go for it.

I tend to have more of those images in my portfolio if I’ve never visited that specific area before. Here are some examples of “touristy” or what I call “basic” images that I captured when we were in Monument Valley in November; the iconic shots of the Mittens at sunset, nighttime, etc. Not what I would call original or creative, but they truly capture what you think of when you think “Monument Valley” and that was my goal here.

vancouver island photographer
mittens at sunset monument valley

What are Good Places to Take Pictures Near Me?

When planning I seem to use the same resources over and over again. I suggest starting your planning in advance of when your travelling or planning on shooting. Then you won’t feel rushed.

Photoshoot Locations Ideas Near Me Quick List

How do photographers find locations? Here is a list of some of the resources I use that can help you discover new outdoor photoshoot locations near you.

My Favorite Ways to Find Photography Locations
– Instagram
– Pinterest
– Google Images and Streetview
– Google Earth Pro
– Local Parks and Recreation Websites
– YouTube
– Local Photographers Work for Inspiration

5 Top Tips (and 1 Bonus Tip!) to Find Locations


First, I search Instagram for photographers in that specific area and check out their profiles for inspiration. Searching popular hashtags from the area in a great way to narrow down your search, if you’re planning on a specific spot for shooting.

Pinterest and Finding Photoshoot Locations

Second, I will make a Pinterest board for that location and pin all my favorite images and tips and tricks for the area. Everything from just images to hiking tips, local guides and tips for photographing that area. This helps you get a “feel” for the area, and makes planning your trip that much easier.

Google Images, Streetview, and Google Earth Pro

Third, after deciding which images I want to capture, I take a look at through Google Images, Streetview, and Google Earth Pro. The database of images on both can really provide you with a clear lay out of the area and what you can expect from your images. Walking the streets with Google Streetview is like walking natural areas with Google Earth Pro. You get down and dirty and can scout out a location virtually before you physically scout it, saving time.

Don’t forget to turn on the “terrain” option which let’s you see the actual lay out from the ground level. It helps you to see rock formations or anything else on the terrain that can enhance or get in the way of your image. You can download Google Earth Pro, click this link here.

Check out Other Local Photogs for Inspiration

I always love checking out local photographers in the area for inspiration on Google too. Google the local experts in your area or the area you’re travelling to, and follow them on social media, including YouTube.

YouTube Influencers

Photography influencers with or without large followings might have an episode or two dedicated to the specific area you’re interested in filled with tips and tricks. Don’t discount photographers with smaller followings: they have expertise too!

Is Finding Great Photography Locations Near Me Hard?

Absolutely not! Actually, it’s more time consuming and tedious than hard. Really good photo spots require some out of the box thinking and planning if you want that prized original shot. It’s the planning that can takes days and maybe even more than a week to properly execute. rarely is a good image just luck of the draw, coincidence or right-time-right-place.

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How Do Photographers Find Locations: Bonus Tip!

My absolute favorite thing to do lately, is to go onto the municipal or regional government parks and recreation department websites and search for their Parks Listing Document. The one for my area is a PDF that I downloaded to my phone for on the go access.

In detail, my local area government has listed any and all parks, even the ones that are so small, they are about half or a quarter of the size of a city block! These little pocket parks are so small, they aren’t even visible on Google maps unless you hardcore zoom in. They detail how accessible they are, # of parking spots (if any), if there are any bathrooms etc.

These tiny parks are clean, undisturbed and best of all, free of people! All the compositions are YOURS! I’ve lucked out lately and been finding some killer comps along with deep dynamic sunsets to pair with them and NO interruptions during shooting! If I remember to bring my drone, the coastlines are perfect for some cinematic slow rolling.

vancouver island landscape photography vancouver island photography tour how do photographers find locations
Sunset and a Sailboat
North Saanich BC
Vancouver Island Gallery

My Favorite Photography Locations App

Hands down I use Photopills as much as I can (or as much as I can understand!) It’s helped me take some neat astrophotography shots like this one below at Lost Dutchman State Park in Phoenix. My favorite app to use on my desktop is Google Earth Pro. The terrain view is a god send paired with the sun/moon/star movements so you can really plan anything.

american southwest night landscape photography how do photographers find locations
Lost Dutchman State Park
American Southwest Gallery

What are Your Favorite Places to Take Pictures?

Let me Know below what are your favorite places locally to capture images!

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