November 6, 2019

Planning and shooting landscape locations

How do you find photo locations and shoot them?

I am just about to embark on a project which will involve shooting around 120 different landscape locations. Many of the locations will be ones I am already familiar with. However, there will be some locations that are going to be new to me. I know for sure that I am going to discover one or two new locations during the project. I’ll show you, in this week’s blog, some tips for finding and shooting landscape locations.

Finding landscape locations

It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of returning over and over again to locations you are used to shooting. There’s nothing wrong with this as the conditions will be different every visit However, I like to try and find new locations to keep my portfolio fresh as well as my creativity.

One of the easiest ways to find new locations is to use a search engine. Try a fairly wide-ranging search phrase such as ‘sunrise locations in East Lothian’. There will usually be some interesting articles on the main page but I find the most benefit from clicking on Images. This can give you a good indication of locations but try not to simply copy someone else’s shot.

Another, good way to find photography locations is to use a walking guide website. In Scotland, we have a really great site called Walk Highlands where you can select walks with different features. A similar website that also covers the rest of the UK as well as France, Spain, Norway, Portugal and Australia is Walking World. Both these sites will give you some good ideas for potential locations.

There are, of course, lots of great travel books which you can use to find locations. I have previously reviewed the Photographing Scotland book by Dougie Cunningham. That book is published by FotoVue who has produced a series of photography location guides taking in areas such as Dorset, Peak District and even the Dolomites.

Finally, you’ll find some hidden gems by building a tribe of other photographers. You can do this by joining a photography club or society – there will often be members who have an encyclopaedic knowledge of landscape locations. If there isn’t a club nearby you could also search Facebook for virtual clubs of photographers.

Planning to shoot landscape locations

Now you’ve found a new location to shoot you need to know the best time to go. There are a few things to think about to get the best shot of the location. The shot of Preston Mill at the top of this blog was as a result of a few minutes of planning.

Firstly, you’ll need to know what the weather conditions are going to be like. It doesn’t always have to be sunny. The Preston Mills photo was taken on a day when there were going to be showers with a few breaks in the clouds. I’ve previously written about the different weather forecasting services I use. Whilst, they do get more reliable on the day, don’t be afraid to take a chance on the weather.

If you are going to be shooting by the sea then it’s a good idea to understand the tides. I always try and shoot with an out-going tide. The reason for this is that you can follow a tide out which means you are less likely to get your feet wet! The BBC Weather website has details of tide times for the next 7 days. If you want to plan a little further out then there are apps where you can buy subscriptions to long-term forecasts. My favourite is called Tides Planner which allows you to purchase annual licences.

Finally, you may want to have either the sun or moon in a particular position. For example, Circular Polarisers work best when at 90 degrees to the sun. You can plan the shoot by using one of my favourite apps, PhotoPills. It’s an unbelievably powerful tool when planning to shoot landscape locations. The Planner section in the app, allows you to calculate the position of the sun, moon and even the milky way!

Do you know any good landscape locations in Scotland?

I would love you to be part of my photography tribe. The forthcoming project will be looking at locations from Stonehaven on the East Coast all the way down to the Scottish border. It will take in the entire borders region from the Irish Sea coast on the West to the North Sea coast on the East. If you have some hidden gems that you’d be happy to share then please drop me an e-mail or comment below.

If you’ve got any questions or comments, leave them below. You can sign up for the Edinburgh Photography Workshop monthly newsletter where you’ll get regular updates on interesting things happening in photography and some great tips. Sign up by clicking here.

Kase Filters Logo

Book Now