A photography location scouting app that provides students with resources to discovering photography locations without pre-planning.

Academic Project

Spring 2019

Vianey Garcia
Braxton Huff
Joan Nandi
Kalynn Porter
Reis Novakovic

UX/UI Designer

Adobe Illustrator, InVision

User Research, UX, UI, Branding, Prototyping, Wireframing



Photography students lead busy lives, they manage course work, and other activities therefore they need to simplify the photography process to get the most out of their shooting time.  Location scouting is the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process.


Photography students primary purpose is to practice and share their photography, but the current market is not tailored for photographers. Students have to spend time pre-planning a shoot and mentally noting intersting locations as they pass them. The comments on the most popular photography posting sites are not constructive.


SPOT provides users with resources designed in assisting in discovering new and interesting photography locations without having to go through rigorous pre-planning phases. Photographers can search by keywords or browse the most popular locations in the area. They are also given all the necessary information to plan their shoot: weather, directions and sun tracking. Users can share photographs and locations with other users.


Design Challenge

How might we make it easier for student photographers to scout for a location?

Competitive analysis

When tackling the competitive analysis my team and I researched and compiled an analysis individually. Then we consolidated our research and mutually determined our main competitors.

  • None have location details
  • Most do not suggest location
  • ShotHotSpot and Instagram have filters but Photomapper and Google Maps do not.


Find photo spots worldwide on an interactive map.


Find photo spots worldwide.


Photo, video sharing social network.

Google Maps

Google’s web mapping service that offers images and location information.

Direct Competitor

iOS / Android





Location Suggestions

Location Details


Who are our users?

Interview Learnings

  • Pre Planning and location safety is important. Photographers want to focus shooting at interesting locations without hunting for them.
  • Photographers want to share.
  • Constructive feedback on their photos is important so they can improve.

Important considerations:

  • Sun Direction
  • Lighting
  • Weather
"Geotagging is perfect it gives you the exact location of where you are and if you liked that place you could go back to where you took it."


SMC Photography Student
"Comments on my photographs are how I know I’m doing something good... It’s nice to see what about it you like."


SMC Student Photographer
"I find the best places to take pictures through friends, sometimes Instagram geotags, a lot of the times Google."


SMC Student Photographer

Conversation Domain Expert

Instagram is important as a portfolio:
Instagram is increasingly more important as a portfolio site. It is becoming a standard way for photographers to share images.

Backgrounds decide photo location:
When deciding where to take pictures look for interesting backgrounds and what to put in front of the background that compliments it.

Student goals:
Gain the skills to become professional photographers.

Emphasis on pre-planning and technical features.

"Being aware of industry trends is important, but staying true to your style and approach is important too. Trends can be like a fad that later is not relevant."

Josh Withers

SMC Photography Professor

Target Users

Solving the Problem

Experience Map

The experience map recognized the users need for a bookmark button so the user could save a location or image. It is valuable in providing solutions for possible problems and new features.


Dan needs to get his photography assignment before the deadline but cannot find the right backdrop for his model.


Find a photography location easily without extensive research.

Dan's Experience Map



Dan wants to take a picture but doesn't know where.


Uses SPOT to search and navigate to the location.


Dan found the perfect place to take his photographs.


He sets up his camera and takes pictures at his ideal location.

Building SPOT

Site Map

Creating a site-map helped narrow down the key components and necessary pages. It aided in page consolidation and reinforced the user's journey

Card Sorting Features

Refining the features with card sorting lead us to prioritize location searching as the most important feature. Weather and light tracking is also important to consider for early iterations.

Paper Prototype Iteration #1

Feature matrix

Version 1

Initial App Idea

Version 2

All Necessary Features


Upload Images


Search Function

Locaiton Description

Image Gallery


Weather Info

Light Tracker


Photo Tips

Terrain Rating

Photo Rating

Social Media Sharing


Low fidelity prototyping helped us refine the user flow and understand what pages are important.

SPOT User Flow
Paper Prototype
Paper Prototype: Location Page


Usability testing


  • Login
  • Use search function
  • Choose and save location
  • Leave a comment
  • Navigate to location


  • Moderated Usability Testing
  • Design Prototype Testing

Design System

Orange is a stimulating color that evokes enthusiasm, creativity, and youth.



6 Column Grid

High Fidelity prototype

Try the InVision Prototype


I learned that photography students have different intentions depending on what stage they're in their photography journey. Beginner students primarily focus on positive feedback and finding a location. Whereas intermediate and advanced students want the feedback to be constructive.  They also need to know more detailed information about the location before choosing it.

I feel that SPOT would benefit the market for location searching, but I might have done something differently with its sharing and commenting features.  In the future, I would pair down SPOT to its essentials: finding the location and giving the user information about that location. I would revise the commenting feature. Instead, users can garner feedback through other photography-sharing platforms that link to SPOT.

Vianey Garcia

2022 Vianey Garcia| created with Webflow and Freepik