Discover the Best Photography Places Near Me

by Jun 8, 2024Photography Blog

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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Discovering the Best Photography Places Near Me

A Guide to Best Location Finding Resources for Photographers

One of the most popular photography-related searches on Google is “Best Photography Places Near Me”. It seems everyone is looking for a great place to take that special photo. As someone who makes a living from photographing the landscape, I wanted to write this article to explain how I find the best photography places wherever I am in the world.

The secret is not to rely on the internet but on location guidebooks written specifically for photographers.

Why Use Photography Location Guide Books?

There are three answers to this question:

  1. Convenience.
  2. Expert Insights.
  3. Time Saving.

Let’s look at each and how it can help you find the best photography locations near where you are.

Convenience

The first thing to realize is that, unlike the internet, a photography guidebook provides a curated list of locations. You can spend hours searching the internet, finding hundreds of possible locations, but when you turn up, they look nothing like what you hoped for.

Compare this to a book produced by an experienced photographer who has already scouted the best locations in an area. They work hard to ensure every location in the book is one of the best for photography because that’s how their book will be judged. If they fill it with poor locations, you won’t be very happy.

Photographers compiling guidebooks will do everything they can to ensure you find the best photography locations wherever you are. They have scouted the locations to save you time and trouble, which makes a good guidebook invaluable.

Expert Insights

A good photography guidebook describes each location, including the best times to visit, specific points of interest, and unique features. This helps you plan your shoot more effectively and ensures you capture the best possible images when on location.

They also often include insider tips that only local or experienced photographers know. This can give you a significant advantage in finding lesser-known spots, capturing locations from unique angles or at the best time of day/year. There may also be useful information about the best weather and lighting conditions for each location.

Good guidebooks include maps and detailed directions to each location. This removes the hassle of finding the best location, especially in unfamiliar areas and often in the dark. I can tell you from bitter experience that finding a location on a deserted countryside lane is difficult. But when you also need to find somewhere to park, and you aren’t clear on which path to take once you have parked, shooting a great photograph becomes a lot more difficult.

Time Saving

It should be clear from the reasons above that a good guidebook is not only going to help you find the best photography places to visit but also save you a huge amount of time:

  • You will save time in researching the best photography locations.
  • You will save time by not visiting them in the wrong conditions and at the wrong time of day or year.
  • You will save time when on location by knowing where to find the best photographic points of interest.

Buying a good photography location guide will save you time, effort and money. It’s a great investment for serious photography.

Features of a Good Photography Location Guide Book

Now let me explain what I look for when I’m buying a photography location guide. I’ll then share some of my favourite guides:

  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Quality of Information
  • User-Friendly Layout
  • Local Insights

I’m looking for guides covering a wide range of locations in an area. Typically, I want to see maps showing me where to park, the route to take, and where the recommended best points are for photography. I also want to see information about the walking conditions. Is it flat, rocky, boggy, or steep? Importantly, how long does it take to reach each location from the parking? This helps me to plan my visit and get into position, ready for the best light.

Some photography guides I’ve seen (and bought) do have all this information, but it can be buried in long pages of text which are difficult to read. What I like to see is information about the best photography locations broken down, making it easy to use the book for reference. I don’t want to waste time reading through pages of text to determine if a location is worth visiting.

Related to this, I also want to know that the information was provided by someone who has visited the locations. Locations seen through the lens of an experienced photographer often appear differently to how someone with little experience might perceive them.

Now you understand what I’m looking for in a photography guidebook, let me share some that I like.

My Best Photography Location Guide Book List

My first recommendation for guides that help me find the best photography places to visit is a series of books.

The Photographer’s Guide To Book Series

Ellen Bowness writes the “The Photographer’s Guide to” series. An excellent example of a book in the series is The Photographer’s Guide to The Peak District.

The Photographers Guide series is perfect for answering where the best photography locations near me are

Despite living on the border of the Peak District and regularly photographing the area, I still rely on this book to help me find the best photography places to visit.

Looking through the list of books in the series that Ellen has written, I have them all, and they all follow a similar format. They provide exactly the information I’m looking for in an easy to read form. It’s also nice that the guides are small and fit in your pocket.

My next guidebook recommendation for finding the best photography places is also a series.

Fotovue Photo-Location Guides

This is another excellent series of guides. The difference is that these guides are much larger and heavier than the previous recommendation and cover many more locations. Despite the increase in locations covered, I find each location well worth visiting, and the quality of information is excellent.

As with the previous series, I own most of these guides, although my Peak District guide is probably the most used.

Fotovue series of photography guides designed to help you find the best photography places near me
Now for a new series of photography location guides.

Shutter Safari

Shutter Safari has so far published three travel or location guides to help you find the best photography places neat to you as well as help in planning your visit. These are:

  • Lofoten
  • Patagonia
  • Iceland

Kevin, who is the photographer and brains behind Shutter Safari, tells me that he is currently working on a fourth location guide covering Tuscany.

Shutter Safari guides to finding the best photography places near me
Currently, I have the Lofoten and Iceland guides, both of which I’m planning to revisit. Looking through these electronic guides is a pleasure, and they include a lot of information. Although they are eBooks rather than paperbacks, this brings a huge benefit: you can read them on your phone while on location.

When you purchase one of these guides, you can choose between two versions: the digital guidebook and the digital map. Both are invaluable and if you buy a guide, I encourage you to buy the bundle offer containing both. The map is built on Google Maps, which you can also access on your phone. This is perfect for finding the best photography locations near to your location, as Google Maps can position you precisely.

Shutter Safari website: https://www.shuttersafari.com/

Additional Resources for Finding Photography Places Near Me

As mentioned above, the digital maps produced by Shutter Safari are perfect for helping you find the best photography places using your current location.

Similar to this is a phone app that I’ve come to use a lot when visiting new locations: Photo Hound. I even used this when planning a trip to Dubai to help me find a hotel with a good view that I wanted to photograph.

iPhone shot of Dubai sunset Lenscraft in Focus December 2023
Photo Hound has a website filled with information you can access for free once you sign up. There’s also an app for iPhone and Android devices that you can use while on the go.

Although there is also a paid service, I use the free version, which I’ve found very helpful: https://www.photohound.co/

Conclusion

Time is something that we are all short of these days. If you value yours and don’t want to waste hours searching the internet to find the “best photography places near me”, I recommend using photography location guides. In this article, I’ve provided three recommendations that meet my needs. I also recommend using digital maps on your phone and making use of location apps like Photo Hound.

If you have recommendations of your own you can share, please add them in the comments below. I would be interested to read about them.

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