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Photographing the world’s best photo spots the right way

On Earth Day 2021 we reflect on how to photograph the world’s best spots the right way, putting nature first.

On Earth Day 2021 we reflect on how PhotoHounders are photographing the world’s best photo spots the right way; by following PhotoHound’s responsible photography principles and putting nature first.

Photographing the world's best photo spots the right way with PhotoHound
Mali Draški Vrh by Luka Esenko

PhotoHound is an online community of photographers united by a common goal; to share amazing photo locations whilst being mindful of our impact on our surroundings.  We asked 7 PhotoHounders to share some of their most precious places on this planet with their tips on photographing the world’s best photo spots the right way.

All locations on PhotoHound are curated by knowledgeable photographers. We tag each spot as ‘Shoot Freely’ or ‘Shoot with Care,’ add responsible photography suggestions and never add fragile locations to the map. We encourage all PhotoHounders to shoot by our responsible photography principles and as a team we’re committed to supporting the work of Nature First, the alliance for responsible nature photography.

Here are some ways PhotoHounders are thinking about the impact of their photography when shooting at different locations on our precious planet…

PhotoHound’s Responsible Photography Principles

1) Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountains National Park

Photographing the world's best photo spots - Sprague Lake from the PhotoHound guide to RMNP
Sprague Lake, RMNP by Erik Stensland

Erik Stensland is a landscape photographer based in Estes Park, Colorado. He is passionate about the natural world and our connection to it. Erik is a founding member of Nature First which promotes the protection and preservation of the world’s natural and wild places. Sprague Lake is one of the places in Rocky Mountain National Park where he finds inspiration for his photography.

Sprague Lake is a popular spot, however it’s still possible to get your own creative take at this majestic location. Go early to avoid crowds, but if you do find it’s busy there, respect other photographers and either find an alternative viewpoint or be patient. Respect the rules of the park and take litter home with you. Go one step further even and pick up any litter others may have selfishly left behind. We need to do all we can to keep this area of outstanding beauty pristine.

2) Banner Road Barns, Palouse, WA

Banner Road Barns, Palouse, WA – Joe Becker

Geologist Joe Becker grew up in Spokane WA. He describes his photography as an outgrowth of his love of nature. Joe is a frequent visitor to the rolling hills and wheat files of the Palouse region in northwestern USA.

Joe acknowledges that the Palouse is becoming an increasingly popular destination for photographers. Most local residents and farmers are open to visiting photographers, but it’s important to respect that they live and work here and that must take priority over photographers trying to bag the best shots. “Make sure you’re not on private property and don’t walk across fields where you might damage crops. You can get usually get a great shot from the roadside if you work creatively. Don’t be arrogant and think that just one photographer crossing that field won’t hurt, because others will be sure to follow. Set the right example and we’ll continue to be welcome here”.

3) Red deer at Bushy Park, London

Red Deer, Bushy Park, London by Jules Renahan

PhotoHound Cofounder, Jules Renahan, is a London based photographer who enjoys photographing the city’s Royal Parks. “It’s such a privilege to be able to see red and fallow deer roaming Bushy Park. However it’s important to remember these are wild animals – they are magnificent but unpredictable beasts. When you photograph the deer, maintain a safe distance and use a longer reach telephoto lens. Move slowly, find a safe spot and keep as still as possible and you won’t startle them. Don’t be tempted to feed the deer; unfortunately some visitors in the park put themselves and the deer in danger by luring the animals closer with food. Respect the park wardens’ notices and stay even further away during rutting season and when young are born.

4) Winter Eagle watching, Nemuro, Japan

Winter Eagle watching, Nemuro, Japan by Colette English

PhotoHounder Colette English has been photographing the natural beauty of Japan for over 5 years. Colette has shared some remarkable wildlife spots on PhotoHound. Her intent is to help other wildlife photographers shoot the right way. “When I photograph birds I never get too close. I took these shots of Steller’s eagles with a 500mm lens. Don’t use flash as it will startle the birds. I hope photographers who visit these photo spots will learn about the threats birds like these young eagles face. As a result of fossil fuel energy developments, wind farms, pollution, habitat loss, hunting, and overfishing there has been a steady decline in numbers. Could you use your photography to make others aware of the issues and wildlife protection initiatives?”

5) Shoab Beach, Socotra

Fisherman at Shoab Beach, Socotra by Jeremy Woodhouse

Jeremy Woodhouse, full time outdoor, travel and lifestyle photographer, shared this joyous shot with us. He is particularly known for his portraits of people around the world. Jeremy understands the need to respect people, their traditions & ways of working. “There’s nothing worse than seeing photographers treat local people as a side show. You’ll get much better shots, plus have a positive experience if you have a conversation with people and gain their trust in your work. I always try to give something back; I either buy something, offer to share the photos I’ve taken or sometimes just have a friendly chat where we learn something about each other.

6) Eiffel Tower, Paris

Eiffel Tower by Jeff Martin

Iconic photo locations are busy for good reason however it’s still possible to get great shots a popular spots if you plan carefully. This is beautifully demonstrated in this shot of the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Chaillot by PhotoHounder, Jeff Martin. Jeff arrived at this spot at least 20 minutes before sunrise. “If other photographers are already set up when I arrive, I respect that. I either wait my turn or have a backup location that I can head to. Once I’ve got a shot I’m happy with, I step out of the way to give others a chance.

7) Many Glacier Meadows, Montana

Many Glacier Meadows, Montana by Chuck Haney

Is there anything more uplifting than a field of wildflowers in spring? Photographer Chuck Haney has curated a beautiful guide to Glacier National Park for PhotoHounders to enjoy. In it he includes several spots from which to capture wildflowers. “We need to take great care when photographing wildflowers. Be sure to step carefully and place your tripod gently. Don’t trample or crush the delicate flowers or be tempted to ‘clean’ the scene to improve your shot (just find another composition!). If you can shoot from a path or roadside this is much better. I generally don’t tag exact locations if I’m sharing shots on social media, especially if there’s a superbloom as this is certain to attract the Insta crowd. If you can, use your post to educate others about the delicate flora and fauna and remind them of the need to respect nature.

We hope you enjoy putting into practice some of these ideas for photographing the world’s best photo spots the right way. Read more about PhotoHound’s Responsible Photography Principles and our commitment to Nature First‘s approach to responsible nature photography. We look forward to welcoming you to our community of responsible photographers!