Photo Trip Research Tools
Software,  Travel

12 Must Have Tools for Planning Your Next Photography Adventure

Are you planning your next photography adventure? Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, having the right tools can make all the difference in capturing stunning images. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing 12 must-have tools for planning your next photography adventure. So, pack your bags and get ready to travel to that ideal photography destination!

ChatGPT
ChatGPT

1. ChatGPT

Artificial Intelligence (AI) search tools are the newest way to search and conduct research on the Internet.  AI search tools are basically software that use artificial intelligence algorithms to give users a better search experience. These tools use AI to understand the context and intent behind a user’s search query and provide more accurate and relevant results.

ChatGPT is a conversational search tool. Essentially, it’s like having a conversation with a highly knowledgeable research assistant.  At least for now, ChatGPT is free.  Sign up at chat.openai.com.

Here are some examples of research questions you can ask ChatGPT that will speed up your research of photography locations:

  • What are the best locations to photograph in Colorado?
  • What are the best places to photograph the sunset in Oregon?
  • What are the best waterfalls to photograph in Pennsylvania?

You can also ask follow up questions, just like you were having a conversation.

  • What are the hiking distances to these waterfalls?
  • How difficult are the hikes?
Google Maps
Google Maps

2. Google Maps

Google Maps can be a valuable tool for researching potential photography locations and other resources for your trip.  Here are some ideas on how you can use Google Maps.

  • Use the Street View feature to get a virtual tour of a location and see what it looks like from different angles.
  • Zoom in on Satellite view to help find potential spots for landscape, nature, and aerial photography.
  • Google maps can be used to find parks and other photography attractions close to where you are staying.
  • Find restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations close to where you are staying.  I like to map these out and document them ahead of time to save time when I’m at my travel destination.
  • Plan out distances and travel times to photography locations.
  • You can also save locations and make custom maps of your own, to have easy access to locations you want to visit.
Badlands National Park Facebook Group
Badlands National Park Facebook Group

3. Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups can be a valuable resource for researching potential photography locations. Many groups are dedicated to photography, and within those groups, you can find photographers sharing their experiences, photography spots and tips.

By joining a group dedicated to your specific type of photography, you can ask for recommendations on locations, get feedback on your own photography, and see examples of photos taken at different locations. You can also use the search function within the group to look for past posts about specific locations or photography tips.

There are also many Facebook groups dedicated to specific locations like: Badlands National Park, Blackwater NWR, Florida Birds.  These groups can give you ideas on what to photograph at a location, the current conditions, bird and wildlife sightings, etc. 

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes people may post photographs from the past and may not be indicative of the current conditions.  Some groups require that you include the date a photograph was taken.

Location Scout
Location Scout

4. Location Scout

Location Scout is a good tool for researching potential photography locations. It is a dedicated platform for photographers to find and research locations for their travel.

With Location Scout, you can search for locations by subject and location, making it easy to find the perfect spot for your photography. You can also view photos and videos of the locations, as well as information on the crowds, timing, photo themes, fees, and travel information.

While it’s not fully robust with locations, it has quite a few locations for a lot of areas.  It’s a great place to start your research for a photography location.

Maketimetoseetheworld
Maketimetoseetheworld

5. Maketimetoseetheworld

maketimetoseetheworld is a great tool for researching potential travel locations. It is a travel blog and website which provides detailed information about various destinations around the world.  While the site is not dedicated to travel for photography, it can give you ideas for things to photograph, excursions and tours, restaurants, the best time to visit, and other travel information. 

You can search for specific locations using the search bar to quickly see if there is relevant information on your destination.  While it’s not specifically aimed at photography, maketimetoseetheworld can provide important travel information on the destination itself.

Google Earth

6. Google Earth

Google Earth can be a powerful tool for researching potential photography locations. It allows you to explore the world in 3D and view satellite imagery, terrain, and even street views of different locations. It can be helpful in identifying potential photography spots and visualizing the layout of a location before you visit.

You can also use the “Map Style” feature to overlay information such as roads, labels, and points of interest, which can give you an idea of the location’s accessibility and potential subjects to photograph. Additionally, you can use the “Measure” tool to get an estimate of the distance between two points.

National Park Service App
National Park Service App

7. National Park Service App

The National Park Service app can be a valuable tool for researching potential photography locations within the national parks and national lands of the United States. The app provides detailed information on the various national parks and lands, including maps, park hours, and contact information.

You can also find information on specific locations within the parks, such as trails, photography spots, amenities, trailheads, park news, and campgrounds, which can help you plan your photography adventure. Many parks also have webcams and live streams, which can give you a preview of the current weather and lighting conditions.

Additionally, the app also provides information on park programs, events, and ranger-led activities, which can give you an idea of the potential subjects to photograph. With the National Park Service app, you can plan your route and make the most of your time in the US National Parks.

National Park Trail Guide App
National Park Trail Guide App

8. National Park Trail Guide App

The National Park Trail Guide App can be a valuable tool for researching potential photography locations within the national parks and lands in the United States. The app provides detailed information on trails, including trail maps, trail descriptions, elevation profiles, and temperature / precipitation averages by month. You can also find information on trail conditions, parking, and facilities.

This app can help to plan your trip and the time required for a hike at these locations.  The app also has a photos section for each location that can give you an idea of what can be photographed at each park.

YouTube Search on Everglades National Park
YouTube Search on Everglades National Park

9. YouTube

YouTube can also be a good tool for researching potential photography locations. Many photographers and travel vloggers post videos of their trips and adventures, which can give you a good idea of what to expect when visiting a location. You can search for specific locations using the search bar.

By watching these videos, you can gather valuable information and inspiration for your photography adventures, such as the best time to visit, the type of accommodation, and the best way to get there. Additionally, many of these videos also provide tips and advice on photography techniques, which can be helpful in planning your shoot and making the most of your time at the location.

Flipboard
Flipboard

10. Flipboard

Flipboard is a popular news and information platform that can also be used as a tool for researching potential photography locations. With Flipboard, you can create your own custom magazines by curating content from various sources, such as blogs, websites, and social media, based on specific topics, such as photography locations, travel, and nature. By curating content in this way, you can keep track of new and exciting photography locations, and gather valuable information on the best time to visit, the type of photography that can be done there, and any other useful information.

Additionally, you can also use Flipboard to follow other photography and travel magazines and #hashtags which can be helpful in finding locations to photograph and plan your own photography adventure.

By using Flipboard, you can quickly and easily research potential photography locations, stay updated on the latest photography news and trends, and gather inspiration for your next photography adventure.

PhotoPills
PhotoPills

11. PhotoPills

PhotoPills is a powerful tool for researching potential photography locations. It is a mobile app that provides detailed information on the best times for photography in a given location, including the times for sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset, as well as the position of the Milky Way and the timing of celestial events like eclipses.

Additionally, it provides information on the angle and direction of the sun and moon, which can be helpful in planning your shoot and making the most of the natural light.

PhotoPills also offers a planner feature that allows you to plan your shoot in advance, by visualizing the location and the movement of the sun, moon and Milky Way. The app also allows you to save your favorite locations and share them with other photographers.

If you’re an iPhone user, TPE also has a widget so you can always see the sunrise and sunset of your current location on your home screen.  Clicking on the widget will bring up the PhotoPills app giving more detailed about blue hour, golden hour, and nautical twilight.

The app has a bit of a learning curve, but it is very powerful in planning the details of your photography shoot.

The Photographer's Ephemeris
The Photographer’s Ephemeris

12. The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE)

The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) provides similar features as PhotoPills. It is a mobile app that helps you plan outdoor photography photoshoots by supplying information regarding the direction and altitude of the sun, moon, and Milky Way, along with the timing of crucial events like sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset for any location on earth.

In TPE, you can view locations in different styles of Google Maps: Standard, Hybrid, Terrain, Street Map, and topographical.  There is also a light pollution view that can be enabled if you set the time after sunset.  TPE also has a Skyfire feature that helps to predict where to find the most colorful sunrises and sunsets.  Skyfire is only available thru an additional paid subscription.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris AR Mode is a photography planning tool that allows photographers to visualize the movement of the sun and moon in the sky in relation to a specific location on earth. With its augmented reality (AR) mode, users can visualize the sun and moon’s position on their smartphone or tablet camera view, giving them a more accurate and immersive way to plan their shoots.

You may not need both TPE and PhotoPills. I included both since the interface is very different between the two and you may prefer one over the other.

In conclusion, there are many tools available to help photographers plan their next photography adventure. From apps that provide detailed information on the direction and altitude of the sun and moon, to social media platforms that allow you to connect with other photographers and gather inspiration, there is a tool to suit every need. By using a combination of these tools, photographers can research potential photography locations, plan their shoot, and make the most of their photography adventure. Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, these 12 Must Have Tools for Planning Your Next Photography Adventure will help you to take your photography to the next level and capture stunning images that you will treasure for a lifetime.

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