Innovative Way For Friends To Collaborate On Great Shoot Locations

Innovative Way For Friends To Collaborate On Great Shoot Locations

Have you ever been driving around and saw an amazing place that would be perfect for your next shoot? Only to forget all about it later. This evening my friend Jeremy Kester, owner of H.H. Boogie, shared with me an innovative way for photographers to share shoot locations. It's free, it's easy and it's probably already on your phone.

My guess is you already have the Facebook Messenger app on your phone. Most of us do. It is a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends. But did you know that each time you send out a message you are also (unless you turned the feature off, which most of us have not) sending out your exact location as well. This little feature that most of us probably don't even realize exists is actually happening each time we send a message to anyone from our phone. Using the GPS on the device, Facebook embeds your location inside the message.

Now I am not talking about the city and state that it shows on the bottom of the message. I am talking about your exact location down to a few feet. Kind of scary when you actually think about it. After all, this feature could be used in bad situations - for instance giving your location away to someone that might use it to harm you. To avoid this from happening I'll share how to turn this feature off a little later in the article.

But, it can also be used for good. One fantastic idea that came to mind as Jeremy and I spoke this evening was to have an ongoing chat among a few photographer friends that are local to your area. As you each come across a great area that could be used in a shoot - take a photo of the location and post it into the ongoing chat. You and your friends can now always reference that location and get the exact location to it including a map. Here's an example from a chat this evening.

Fstoppers Facebook Messenger Location Saving Idea

Here's how it works. Once someone posts a message from their phone, click on the message. Make sure you are clicking on the message not the photo. There you will be able to click on the details button. Once you've done that you will bring up a map of the general area.

Fstoppers Facebook Messenger Sharing Location

Click on it once more and it will use a map app from your phone to zoom right in on the location, within just a few feet. You can now use your map app to help navigate you to the location and if using Google Maps even see the street view.

Fstoppers Facebook Messenger Sharing Location 4

How cool would it be to have a group of photographers with an open ongoing chat where each time someone found a cool location that they want to share with a group of close friends they could post a photo along with a brief message? Then in the future either that person or their friends in the chat could access the exact location just by clicking on the accompanying message. No more need to write out an address, or try to describe how to find the location. Simple, free, and uses an app most of us already have on our phones.

Now as I mentioned above this little location tracker could also be used for unscrupulous reasons. If you would like to turn it off permanently just dive into the Messenger app settings and look for the "Location" menu. There you can request that it not track your location and include it with your messages. You can also turn it off selectively by simply clicking the blue arrow which is located right next to the SEND button. But you need to do this before sending your message. As long as the blue arrow is greyed out your message should not include your location information.

So there you go. An innovative way for photographers to collaborate with their friends (or team) on shoot locations and have the exact GPS coordinates to get there, all through a simple messaging app most of us already use on a daily basis.

If you found this tip helpful go visit H.H. Boogie's website and show them some love. They make incredible handcrafted products for photographers to sell. All kinds of goodness there.

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I would gladly have you in my location group homie. haha. Good article Trevor!

This is the best idea I have ever heard!!! Also, I totally forgot about the whole GPS in facebook messenger, creepy!!

Personally I use a very cool little app called Rego ( It's pretty good. I'd have to say that I'm fairly protective of locations though. It's not that I'm nasty about it, I'm not, but you have to be a pretty good friend of mine for me to share mine with you.

Using a Google Map for this. It's much easier to have one large map with the locations than having to scroll through a list of messages.

hmmmmm, maybe i'm old and crusty, but when i find a location i like.......i don't share it with the world.

steven tippett's picture

i share every location, that's what keeps me on my toes, if i take a photo there, and then the next day someone goes and takes a better photo i need to learn how they took there photo and improve on my methods... its one of the ways i improve...

Sharing is caring. Keeps you from getting stuck in one place.

Thanks Michael for the Rego App suggestion!

this seems like a great idea..but i get the impression from reading this that people normally keep their GPS 'on ' ,on their mobile by default , all the time? i normally always keep the GPS turned off unless driving ,not for security reasons but to save the charge on a android user and so are my friends and they keep them Off am wondering - is it a Ios thing to keep the GPS on all the time??..and why, whats the benefit?

So it's kinda like.."Hey Guys, I found this awesome new mushroom picking spot, you can get a ton of Chanterelles there... here's the GPS coordinates"... said no one ever.

I think the big difference is that it's nothing like hunting mushrooms. There are endless locations to shoot from and many combinations of ways to shoot there. Sharing among the group of friends is nothing like picking mushrooms that will be gone until next season.

isn't it just easier to take a picture at that location and have your phone embed the gps data in the photograph. That way you have the location, can see what it looked like and have a record of it

I'm not flying to St Louis to find some trees - we have some in Uk ;)

You could even create a special Instagram account, where you take snaps of all the locations & add the map location to it & BOOM. You've got a whole feed of scouted locations you can either share or keep private. Thinking about doing this today, because I'm so scattered brain & this would keep everything in one place & organized.

Matt Dutile's picture

Sounds like a great tool for location scouts.

I use Springpad.. which I keep a notebook of any shoot Im doing with whatever crew IM using.. all info is in this notebook.. sharable.. emailable.. I can create shotlists, reminders, map locations GeoTagged photos, notes, scan barcodes of products.. etc etc.
Its my go to pre production tool.
Images have the gps data in them. So im set. I've only done it twice.. but it works in a pinch.. and is packages with the rest of the pertinent info for the shoot.

EDIT I just realized Ive also used Voxer to do the same thing. ( you can toggle location on or off when sharing) And Voxed a photo of a spot I want to save to my producer.