How I Find Photo Spots Near Me

How do I find photo spots near me? That’s a question I used to get asked all the time. As a photographer, I once scoured the area I lived for photo spots and was always happy to share the ones I discovered with other photographers. Sure, for some, hunting for great photo spots is part of the fun of photography and photo spots are a closely guarded secret. But for me, I was never threatened by someone knowing where I took a photo. I figured that everyone could take their own spin on a photo spot, and if their image too closely resembled mine, well, I needed to go back and get more creative. Besides, as a photographer, I like to cut to the chase.

I’d rather spend time out in the world with a camera in my hand than sitting in my basement scouring the internet, or worse driving for hours along back roads in search of something, anything to photograph. I grew tired of travelling the world and landing in some remote destination, having no idea where to take pictures. I have a day job, and precious few hours on the road to find and shoot unique photographic locations. I searched high and low to make it easy to find photo spots and developed a few techniques, but they always required a lot of time and research.

Eventually, my wife and I decided to jump in and build something. Thus, PIXEO was born. The irony is that we now spend a lot of our time scouring the internet for photo spots to share with you, and in the process, we have gotten very good at finding photo spots. In this post, we’re going to share some of our favourite tips and tricks to locate fantastic photo spots and answer that age-old photography question, “how do I find photo spots near me?”

I Find Photo Spots Near Me with PIXEO

When it comes to answering the question, how do I find photo spots near me, it should be evident that I will start with PIXEO. I’m not going to lie; I’m biased because PIXEO is the passion project of my wife and I. We built PIXEO to be the best tool for finding photo spots no matter where you are in the world. When we began, we wanted to make an app that you could put in your pocket and take with you wherever you went in the world. We spent hundreds of hours researching so other photographers and users wouldn’t have to. The result is the PIXEO App for iOS, which now has close to 40,000 global photo spots. We charge for the app (who wants to do all that work for free), but we know how expensive photography can be. We try and keep the price as low as possible while still making it worth our while. So, we charge only a buck a month or ten dollars a year.

We also wanted to offer photographers a free way to use our collection. In addition to letting photographers use the app for free for a limited time, we also set about building the PIXEO Photo Spots Map on our website. The map is entirely free and an excellent tool for finding photo spots. The number of locations on the PIXEO Photo Spots Map are quite a bit smaller (it would take a long time to download 40,000 places on the website), but it is still a great way to explore photo spots near you.

We categorize each photo spot in PIXEO by type. So if you’re looking for a lighthouse or an abandoned house, you can filter just for those photo spots. As well, in the app, you can build a list of favorites for your next photographic adventure. We believe that PIXEO is hands down the best tool for finding photo spots. We don’t have every photo spot in the world yet, but we spend every day adding new spots and curating the photos submitted by our incredibly talented users. So, when someone now asks me how I find photo spots near me, there’s usually one answer I give; I use PIXEO.

Find Photo Locations with Google Images

While it may seem obvious, there may be no better source when it comes to finding photo spots near me than the mighty Google. But it is more than just typing in the name of a place in the mighty search box. There is a whole suite of tools baked into Google that making finding photo spots easy. Typically, when I want to find photo spots near me when I am in a new town or place, I’ll pull over to the side of the road and type the area’s name into Google Images. This technique often results in hundreds of photos of the place I am at, taken from different angles. Also, I often find a few hidden photographic gems using this technique. I have been surprised to discover a lighthouse or abandoned building photo spot near me that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Google Maps is equally useful. I usually don’t use Google Maps to find photo spots near me, but if I know where I will be going, I will scour the area on Google Maps. Not just for the prominent landmarks, but also the topography or lay of the land. Satellite imagery also makes it easier to find photo spots to explore when I arrive. What’s more, if you create an account with Google you can also save places that show promise and use the Google Maps App to direct you to the photo spots.

A final trick I often use to find photo spots near the place I will be is to grab and drag the little yellow man over the Google Map. But I don’t drop him on the map right away. Small blue circles will appear on the map where 360-degree images have been taken when you do this. As well, it will often show trails in natural areas that you may not have been aware of before. If you see a cluster of these little blue circles and that’s a pretty good indicator, something interesting is there. This technique is particularly useful when it comes to back-country areas. Finding lookouts and other fantastic photography spots using this technique is a godsend.

Explore the Flickr Photo Map

Flickr has gone through its ups and downs. Their recent acquisition by SmugMug gives us some hope that the site will improve. Initially, one of the best and most popular photo-sharing sites on the web. When I discovered their photo map, I thought I had hit the photo spot jackpot. I can find all the geotagged photos on Flickr on the map, and it is relatively easy to explore where photographers took pictures in the Flickr collection.

The downside is that all the geotagged photos are on the map. Most photo spots on the Flickr map are pictures of animals, people, or photographs taken on private property. So when it comes to finding photo spots, it’s not bad, but less than ideal. Regardless, before heading out to a new place, I search the name of Flickr’s area and see what comes up. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and find a fantastic photo spot near me, but most of the time, I find myself asking why someone would geotag a picture of their cat.

Find a Photo Spot with ShotHotSpot

Full disclosure, ShotHotSpot is one of our competitors. The site permits its users to search for a location and then browse photos on a map similar to PIXEO. But the data itself suffers the same issues as Flickr. This problem exists because ShotHotSpot scrapes the data from the Flickr map and re-hosts on their website.

It is a little better than Flickr in that the map has more locations, and they’ve built in some filtering and categorization, but there is still a tonne of photos of cats and private property. The scraping of Flickr data also doesn’t sit well with me as a photographer. I’m not too fond of ShotHotSpot because the images on this map are often copyrighted and used without permission. For me, this is a problem as companies like this use images without permission and profits through advertising. At PIXEO we always ensure we only use photos people let us and will take down any photo at the photographer’s request.

But, if you want to find photo spots near you and the Flickr page is a bit clunky for you, give ShotHotSpot a try. It’s not perfect, but you can use it to find photo spots.

Discover Instagram Photo Spots

Instagram has changed the world of photography in a lot of ways. Some good and some bad. But it is still home to some of the most talented and impressive photographers in the world. As well, it is probably the most extensive collection of photos in the world, and there are ways to use it to find photo spots near you.

You can’t just ask Instagram what photo spots you can find near where you are, but you can type in a hashtag and search for the area by name. Typically I’ll do this from a broad view first and then drill down. For instance, if I search on the hashtag #novascotia, I will get a tonne of results. After browsing these results, quite often, a picture will serve as a jumping-off point for further research. For instance, I might see a lighthouse I didn’t know existed in Nova Scotia. A little bit of research for Nova Scotia lighthouses will usually help me find its name, and from there, I search on that hashtag. Once I know the name of the place, I can use it to find its location.

One of the other benefits of using Instagram is that many people use it all the time. For instance, if I want to know what the weather is like or how a particular photo spot looks at this time of year, a search for its hashtag will usually show me the most recent images. This technique helps me plan my shoot for photo spots near me and saves me a drive when conditions aren’t right. The varying angles taken by Instagram users can provide some inspiration and aid in planning your shoot.

I Love to Discover Unique Photo Spots Near Me on Atlas Obscura

We love AtlasObscura. AtlasObscura self describes itself as the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders. It is almost like a Ripley’s Believe it or Not for photo spots, and if you want to find photo spots near you, you can look on their website for your local area. AtlasObscura is populated by adventure seekers who share weird, wacky and fascinating locations around the world. The site is not designed specifically for photographers like PIXEO, but who wouldn’t want a snap of the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota for their collection.

When I want to find photo spots near me, I always search AtlasObscura. I love seeing things off the beaten path that are a little bizarre, and not just for the photographic opportunities, but because weird stuff is cool. Be sure to explore their web map, which is almost as fun to browse as their articles are to read.

Explore Unsplash and Other Stock Imagery Sites

Because we care about our photographer’s intellectual property at PIXEO, we are careful to only source imagery submitted by our users or published under licensing that allows us to use it commercially. Some of our favourite places to hunt for new photo spots and great pictures to share on our map are on sites like Unsplash, whose photographers permit using their imagery for commercial purposes. Like Google Images, they also can be a great way to find photo spots in popular destinations like cities or parks. Type in the name of the place in the search bar and see what comes up.

You’d be surprised at how good the photography is and how many fantastic photo spots you can discover by doing a simple search on Unsplash. These sites will not only show you the iconic landmarks of the area but also offer you a wide variety of angles, treatments and more to inspire you for your shoot. The challenge is that many sites like Unsplash are a bit thin on the information about a photo, and even more rarely do the photographers share where they took a picture. So when I’m looking for photo spots near me, it isn’t so great for finding exactly where a photo spot is. But, it is excellent at letting me know what’s in a major city or destination, and from there, I can do more research to find their exact locations.

Find a Photo's Location with TinEye and Reverse Google Image Searches

Sometimes when I’m browsing stock image sites, I find a photo spot that I think is near me, but I don’t know where exactly it is, or even what to call it. This situation happens a lot on sites like Unsplash. When this happens, I turn to sites like TinEye and reverse Image Searches on Google to narrow down and glean info about the photo spot. Uploading or copying the images URL into these sites will scour the internet for other instances where the photo is in use. Quite often, if a picture is on a web page, the web page will be about its location. This info can provide invaluable information in pinpointing a photo spots location and help tremendously in planning a photo expedition. If I want to find out if a photo spot is near me, I always do a reverse image search. As well, even if the particular photo does not come up, some clues about the photo spot can be found in visually similar images. This technique helps me nail down where my next bucket list photo destination will be.

Finding Photo Spots Near Me

Photography is about challenging yourself to explore more and find unique places and moments that speak to you. Having techniques for finding incredible places to take photos is essential if you want to spend less time at home searching, and more time out in the world shooting. Here at PIXEO, we’ve been scouring the world for the best photo spots for the last three years. For that reason, we think there is no better answer to the question, “How do I find photo spots near me?” than PIXEO. But, we also know that the world is massive and we haven’t collected every photo spot on the planet, yet.

So we hope this post on our tips and tricks for finding photo spots proves helpful. If you’ve got any other suggestions on finding photo spots near you, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Other Photography Guides

We feature our favourite photography destinations from around the world in these exclusive PIXEO Photo Guides. We detail all the best places to take photos and offer tips and tricks for travelling photographers. If you have a photo destination you’d like us to feature, or would like to contribute a guest post, don’t hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, here are more fantastic articles.