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How to Find Inspiration Photographing Locations Near Home

Everywhere you look there are thousands of images depicting beautiful places in the world. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I could travel so I could take the same photographs?” The reality is that most of those photos were taken by people who live close to the locations, or have the ability to travel there multiple times.

It is a statement that you hear from many photographers. It may be true, but the truth is most of us live in wonderfully rich photographic areas. The problem is that you see it every day, so it no longer seems interesting.

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Knowing that a storm is coming, then being able to get to a good location quickly, is an advantage when you photograph near where you live.

What would you recommend to a visitor

If another photographer was coming to your area and wanted to know places to go, what would you recommend? Think about what someone else might be interested in, that is a way you can photograph it. Try to look at your area from another point of view.

How to find something to shoot

There has to be something unique or different about where you are located. Look at the history of your town or area. See if you can find out about an event that happened where you can visit the place. Use the history as your motivation for photography. Google the area around you, and see what you can find.

Think about interesting buildings, ones that are abandoned or still in use. There may be some interesting landmarks that can help tell a story. Perhaps there was an industry there that no longer exists.

For example, suppose in your area the local hospital started as a home for incurables. Then the land was given to the city for a permanent hospital. How has that hospital shaped the town? Is the original hospital still there? Has the hospital gone, but now something else is in its place?

There is always the possibility that nothing has ever happened. Maybe your location is devoid of that, and in which case you could photograph the normality of it. What makes it boring? What does the main street look like? Is there anything interesting there at all? There will always be something.

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An older part of the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg.

How far are you willing to travel?

Mark a circle on a map of where you would be willing to travel to in a day. For instance, you might be prepared to travel at least two hours to get somewhere. Perhaps time isn’t on your side, and you can only travel 15 minutes in any direction. That becomes your zone, and the area you are going to photograph.

My area is two hours, or around that. I will travel somewhere for the day and take photos. I will go back to the same areas. There is a lot that is within that area near where I live.

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