5 Ways To Scout A Location Before You Get There

It would be amazing if you could actually “see” your travel destination before you actually got on a plane and traveled there. Think of the advantages and opportunities you would have. You could eliminate guesswork, figure out best times to shoot, where the sun was optimal and when the people were there (or not there).

Well I have some good news for you – a lot of this is available today. Here are 5 ways to scout out a location before you actually go there.
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1. Google Maps
I know, this one is obvious. However there are some interesting tips for you to consider. First, street view lets you get a street-level view of major areas. Secondly, once you are at street-view level, images taken at nearby locations are displayed at the bottom of your screen. Most of you know this already. Now, clicking on an image brings it up full screen and once full screen, a tab pops out on the upper left corner. Clicking on the Google Pin will take you to where that photo was taken within close proximity. Print out the photo to take with you so you can show folks exactly what you are looking for.

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This is a nice little trick when you are starting out in Travel Photography. Go to and type out the city you will be visiting in the search bar. You will be presented with a wide array of really nice images. Pick one you like and click to display the EXIF information. You will see a wealth of very informative info! Time of day shot, focal length used, what lens was used, how fast the shutter etc. This really comes in handy for night shooting where you can see what the long exposure was and ISO used. Pick some images that you would like to capture and make notes!


3. PhotoPills
This handy iPhone App has a lot of great features. One is the ability to “see” where the sun is at any location at any point in time. You can also easily determine sunrise and sunset. Not only that, PhotoPills will give you more info like how high the horizon is, time lapse calculations and a very cool Augmented Reality mode that shows you sun moon and stars as an overlay (use this part once on location to see exactly where on the horizon the sun will set).

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This is a very cool site that will show you a wide variety of interesting locations. You can search by keyword, country, city, and more. Searching on Country and city will give you some off-the-beaten-path locations and some interesting locales. LocationsHub is designed for film and video professionals. However, viewing these locations can give you great insight into an area and the kind of images and venues available.

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This is a VERY cool website that allows you to see many images from any city in the world. A combination between Google Maps and Locations Hub – but for photographers like you and me. Type in a city and you instantly get a map with multiple location pins. Click on a pin to reveal a bunch of great shots.

These are just 5 ways top scout a location. How do YOU scout your locations? Leave me a comment below!