Is there a particular movie or TV show you love? Location hunting is a great way to feel closer to that production. It can be a magical experience to stand in the same spot as the stars, and seeing the same buildings and background that you’ve seen countless times on the screen! Often, getting started with location hunting involves a simple Google search will give you the exact address of what you want to see! Sometimes, a little more work is needed.
If you’ve never visited a filming location before, it’s good to start small. Pick something close to you, or a really famous movie. You’ll find that certain movies and shows have loyal fanbases, and thus, their locations have become a big draw.
You cannot watch the original Ghostbusters without knowing that it takes place in New York City. For fans who visit the city, memories of this classic 80s movie instantly come rushing back. While there are lots of spots in NYC that were featured in Ghostbusters, the firehouse is the holy grail for fans. No matter the day, you will always find people outside the building taking photos and selfies. Along with the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, there is perhaps no better spot to take a selfie with the caption “Guess what city I’m in???”
My site, and many other awesome sites (see links) will help you make your own bucket list of places to visit. Between myself and other hunters, we have tracked down many famous locations.
If the location you want to visit can’t be found from a simple google search, sometimes you’ll need to invest more time and effort. I have done this quite a bit, and have a variety of techniques.
I’ve had to do a lot of research and digging to find some of the spots I’ve featured. I often start with a screenshot of the location. Having a visual reference is very helpful. Sometimes I need to study the photo. Sometimes I notice something helpful, like a street name or business that can help.
At times, I have resorted to getting in touch with contacts in a certain city like Los Angeles. Often local residents can help narrow down what part of the city the photo is from. Never discount the help a local can give you!
I find Google Maps is a great tool to try and match up a screenshot with an actual location. It can be particularly satisfying when you finally find that special spot that you’ve spent a lot of time searching for. It feels like finding a lost treasure!
Ok, you finally found your spots. You know the locations you want to visit, but unless you live nearby, you may need to travel. Some people will just wait until they are visiting a city, while others will specifically book a trip to see these locations.
Once you book flights and accommodation, what next? It’s time to figure out how to get around. The options will depend on where you are going.
First, I generally plug in the locations into google maps, and figure out the best route. You don’t want to be crossing a city 6 or 7 times, which can be a big waste of time. Google can help you determine the shortest distances between locations.
Next, decide on how to get around. In a city like New York or London, public transportation is your best bet. The easiest and fastest way to get around is to hop on a subway or bus. In other locations, the easiest option is to rent a car. Many locations can be outside cities, or in residential areas, and having a car will make it much easier to get around. If you aren’t comfortable driving, you can look into a taxi or Uber to get around.
When you are getting ready to visit your filming location, there are certain things you’ll want to have. First of all, you’ll want your phone. Phones do almost everything these days, and are essential for location hunting. You’ll want access to the GPS to navigate, for one. Also, you will obviously want to make use of the camera as well.
As much as phone cameras have advanced, you may still prefer to use a digital camera. I always carry mine, along with my phone, and take photos on both. Sometimes the camera will take higher quality photos, but phones can sometimes adjust for lighting better. Also, god forbid you lose one, you’ve got some photos on the other device. My preference has always been a middle-of-the-line Sony Cybershot. As I’m not a professional photographer, this camera still gives me high quality and high resolution photos. I also like the 30x zoom option, as sometimes you can’t get very close to the filming location, but still want a quality photo.
If you are traveling by car, make sure you have a charger in the car. Even if your devices are fully charged, it doesn’t hurt to top them up through the day. If you don’t travel by car, having a power bank is a really good idea. You never want to run out of juice as you are visiting a filming location!
I also suggest having this combo self-stick/tripod, especially if you are traveling alone. I am usually alone too, and my short stubby arms don’t produce very flattering selfies. This mini tripod lets you set your famera up and take great photos. And the small remote lets you get in place and then snap as many photos as you need. It’s been a real game changer for me.
So you finally pulled up to the location. You made it! Congratulations! You’ve done your research and it’s time to enjoy and take it in. Take photos and selfies. Maybe do a live broadcast on social media. If there are other fans, don’t be afraid to say hi. It’s interesting to see how far people have traveled to visit the same spot as you.
If you are visiting a residence, school, or other private property, don’t forget to be respectful. Check out my guidelines to help.
So you’ve done it. You visited your location, grabbed some photos, and logged it into your memory. You now have bragging rights! But don’t forget to share your experience. Post on social media and share your photos and experience! Use hashtags so fans and location hunters can find your media and enjoy it!
I hope some of these tips help you with getting started with your location hunting. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.Follow me: