Drone Photos: Using Google Maps to Scout Locations

Further to the April 2022 earnings report, I’m loving my new drone and taking full advantage of the improving weather to capture amazing scenes in Portugal. In this short post I’ll discuss using Google Maps to scout for locations and provide you with one actual example and two further locations that I’m scouting to soon capture.

Capturing Wall-Hangers that will sell

Clips are awesome (obviously!) but I’m also looking for capturing potential wall-hangers and book covers to upload to Arcangel, of which so far they’re loving up.

Many already accepted, such as the following:

Check out Cicero Castro’s amazing drone work that has inspired me

Cicero Castro, a professional photographer based in the beautiful Portuguese island of Madeira, has some amazing drone shots and highly recommend you checking out his Instagram and Itsy store.

We chat often and he has provided many valuable tips on types of drone shots / techniques.

Cicero’s first book cover sale!

We have a lot in common and he’s also at Arcangel with a growing portfolio (444 images) and has recently had his first sale on there – congratulations!

Now back to scouting locations for drone shots…

Exploring is cool but for best results, plan ahead!

I’m still putting in the flight hours to improve my pilot skills, while still exploring. But what I’ve begun doing and recommend you also do if you’ve got a drone or thinking of investing in one is to plan suitable locations ahead using Google Maps.

This video on YouTube goes into more detail.

Scouting Example 1

For instance, I was looking for the best angle to capture this scene of a beautifully symmetrical garden next to a cliff overlooking the sea. So I headed over the Google Maps to check it out, from a bird’s eye view, wondering if I could replicate it…

Google Maps view

The next day, I took my bird over there and managed to capture this shot:

Pretty close I must say!

Also a good idea to check out the year the image was taken on Google to avoid disappointment if you’re shooting something that is time-sensitive – thanks for the tip, Theo!

Scouting Example 2

The next two locations, further down the coast, I haven’t had an opportunity shoot yet. For the first one, what I’m looking to capture at this old fort is a nice symmetrical shot of the four iron cannons overlooking the sea with plenty of copy space.

Scouting Example 3

Further inland and closer to Guincho beach are some pedestrian footpaths elevated from the vegetation (for preservation of the fauna / flora). This is one of my shots with a less interesting DSLR, which has sold a few times.

Couldn’t find the original

I’ve also seen people horseback-riding around there, even on the beach (not my pic)…

The shot I’m trying to capture

I see a spot that is covered in sand, would be interesting to explore and maybe get in closer (following all the rules, of course).

Anyway, the drone shot I want is this one (if I can get some horses in the frame / at the beach on the same day will be a huge bonus).

Let’s see how I get on!

So, that’s it for now, I’ll get on with work and explore these places, hopefully give you an update in a few weeks on how I did or didn’t 🙂 until next time!

I’ve begun putting up the prints at Photo4me

Last but not least, as one of my goals for the year, I’ve begun to invest more heavily in selling prints. Please check out my work at Photo4Me. You would greatly support the blog if you would order one for a friend/relative/colleague!

I’ll also reinvigorate my Fine Art America site soon and put new pics up.

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Lisbon, Portugal, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.

Most recently I’ve gone all in on submitting book cover images to Arcangel Images. Oh and also recently purchased a DJI Mavic 2s drone and taking full advantage.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography

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