Scouting for Photo Locations

Sometimes I find myself struggling to find new and unique locations for taking photographs. In this article, I will be discussing different online resources that I use for scouting photo locations. These websites help me discover interesting public places that might work well as a backdrop for a project. In some cases the location itself ends up being the subject of my photographs. The map services detailed in the article below are tools for searching what other photographers (both consumer and professional) have posted online. When a person uploads a photo to a service like Flickr, their images may contain embedded GPS data that can be used to determine the location where the photo was taken. Smartphones typically embed this data into images automatically. Some of the more recent DSLR cameras offer GPS recording out of the box, but most professional cameras require an expensive accessory to add GPS tracking. If you don’t have a GPS capable camera or accessory, you are given the option to manually tag a location via Flickr, or from Adobe Lightroom. 

Flickr Map


Take a look at where other photographers have been by using Flickr’s Map feature. Zoom in to any location across the globe to see geotagged images from Flickr’s photo database. To further refine your results, you can filter photos using keywords (ex. “Panorama“) or by defining city neighborhoods (ex. “Pacific Heights“).

Google Maps – Street View


Just about everyone is familiar with Google Maps. If you are a mobile phone user, chances are that your map software uses Google Maps to get you from point A to point B. What I like best about Google’s map system is their Street View feature, which allows you to get a street-level perspective. Google cars drive around taking 360 degree panoramic photos across the United States and select foreign countries. These photographs are a great way to quickly scout for photo locations close to main roads without having to invest your time and money on gas to make the trip yourself. Search Google Maps for locations is convenient, but very limited. You won’t be able to find hidden gems that you might discover if you were out exploring on foot or even through another service like Flickr which isn’t limited to roadways. A few spots that you will find on Google Maps are integrated with Panaramio, our next featured source.


panaramio Panaramio, a Google owned company, is a website where you can view images that are plotted on a map. You can sort the available photos on a map by “Places”, making it a great tool to discover popular spots. Another great features of Panarmio is the “Sightseeing” page, which lists the most popular and interesting locations in the world.


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