You know that frustrating thing, when you’re driving along and suddenly you see that great scene and that lightbulb goes on inside your head, “Man, that would be a great car photo shoot location”. And then it’s gone as you pass by. It could be an industrial park, a great landscape view or simple a great section of road for a tracking shot. But you’re driving, cannot stop and you spend the next few minutes trying to memorise it.
Back to the job in hand of driving to where you need to go. Then afterwards you’re suddenly reminded of it. Too late. It’s gone. What was that road? Where were we? It wasn’t that far away, surely? Here’s a great way to develop an entire database and collection of great car photo shoot locations using your phone and two free apps.
How to Develop Your Photo Location Database.
Any car photographer, especially working in editorial, will tell you that the biggest single waste of time on a photo shoot is not having a location sorted out in advance. You then waste time racking your brain trying to think of places that might work, that you haven’t already used over and over and that you know won’t get you into trouble with permissions and trespassing. Not having a good location already set adds a huge amount of pressure and can make or break a shoot.
Having a whole collection of possible photo locations is a vital part of a car photographer’s toolkit. Very often, if you shoot for a living the photo location is something you have no control over. However there are other times when you’ll arrive for a shoot and everyone turns to you and asks, ‘So where are we going, then?”
That’s when your professionalism kicks in. You’re way ahead of them and already have a couple of options in mind. And whether you do this for a living or just for fun, it can save you so much time that it’s a really important thing to start out doing. And all you need is your phone and two apps.
You probably already have Google Maps. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google account. You will also need Evernote. If you don’t have Evernote yet, why not? It’s a superb productivity app, great for recording notes and works across all of your devices. Best of all, the basic version is free.
Seen a great location? Drop a pin. If you don’t know already, it’s easy to drop a pin to mark your location in Google Maps. Each time you open the app, it moves to your current location. So as you pass that location you want to remember, open the app, then push and hold the screen to drop a pin.
Now, here’s the important part. If you see another location a little later and drop another pin, you will lose your first pin. You need to save it. You can, or course, save it in Google Maps by opeing up the pin and hitting save, then adding to a list. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I prefer to save it to Evernote as a secondary backup. Go to the top right of your screen and select the ‘share’ options. You’ll see Evernote there along with your other favourite apps.
So why do I do this instead of simply saving to Google Maps? Two reasons. One is simply personal, I love Evernote and live my life in it. So whenever I need something, I go looking in Evernote first, then other resources if I don’t find it there. Secondly, more importantly, the note you just created in Evernote serves as a complete note about the location you just found. You can add more information later about it. Little things like access for a low riding car, whether it’s a good tracking location, whether it is under cover and a host of other things. Indeed, if you need permission to access it and you’re successful, then you can add the contact details here. And you have everything all together in one resource.
And then the next time you’re planning a car photo shoot somewhere and you’re pretty sure nobody has thought through where you’re actually going to do it, you’ll be the one that’s prepared and ready. You can thank me later.