What do you do when you move someplace new and you desperately want to get out and shoot but you simply don’t know where to go?
As a military wife, moving is part and parcel to my life. Sometimes it is easy to find the best places to photograph near my new home (like when I moved to Sicily or San Diego), other times it requires significant effort.
My most recent move to Virginia solidly lands in the latter category. My neighborhood is pure suburbia – high on convenience but low on charm. Even though I carry my camera with me everywhere, I hardly ever take it out. There just isn’t much of interest to photograph as I go about my daily life.
Instead, I’ve found that photographic inspiration requires going further afield. Often at least an hour away from home. Finding a place that captures my artist’s eye takes work here.
How to find the best places to photograph
I’m still in the getting-to-know-you phase with Hampton Roads, but the tips below have helped ease the transition to my new locale.
1. Join a Photography Club
Many local photographers, especially those who enjoy the social aspects of a photography club, are usually happy to share their favorite shooting locations and likely have tips about the best time to go.
Photo clubs & meetup groups also often host outings which is a great way to explore someplace new in the security of a group.
Two that I’ve gotten involved with:
- PICTURE THIS! Photography Club of Hampton Roads (via Meetup.com)
- Virginia Beach Photography Club (via Facebook)
Look for groups in your area on:
Can’t find a club? Start one!
2. Follow local tourism pages on social media
State and regional tourism sites usually have great information on points of interest and community events.
A few Virginia Facebook pages with great info:
3. Check out the local deals on Groupon and Travelzoo
Sites like Groupon or Travelzoo will often have discounts to popular points of interest, concerts, and other community events. You can also snag lodging discounts for weekend getaways – a great way to visit the points of interest that are more than a couple of hours drive away.
4. Pick up tour books for your region
Sometimes the easiest way to get to know a new area and find the best places to photograph is to play tourist! When I travel, guidebooks are essential. It made sense to pick up a few for my new home region.
Three in my possession:
- Backroads & Byways of Chesapeake Bay: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions
- Lonely Planet Civil War Trail Road Trips
- Framer’s EasyGuide to Washington D.C.
5. Search for walking tours
Walking tours (free or paid) can make for a great ready-made photo walk.
6. Visit photo-sharing websites
Searching your city or metro area on photo-sharing websites like 500px is a great way to virtually scout the best places to photograph before your move (or visit).
As with anything worthwhile, getting to know a new area will take time and effort. However, there are so many resources available these days that will help you find the best places to photograph. Get out there, explore, and capture awesome images of wherever it is you call home!
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