Our smartphones now allow us to take more photos than ever before, but even as those cameras get better, they still don’t allow you to take DSLR-quality images. For that, you still need big sensors and the right kind of lens for the right kind of situation. PhotoSpotLand is a new service for those of us who still like to travel with “real” cameras in order to take images that a smartphone just can’t handle. It’s a mix between a travel site and photographer community, with a strong focus on helping you become a better photographer.
Instead of being about sharing photos, PhotoSpotLand founder and CEO Mario Bucolo told me at Disrupt Europe in London last week that it’s about “offering you the best shared experience in travel photography.”
At its most basic, you can use the service to find great spots to take images. For that, you can either use the website or the company’s recently updated mobile app. What’s different about PhotoSpotLand compared to a photo-sharing service is that it show you everything about the kind of equipment others used in this spot to take a certain photo, and other photographers can share tips about the location, too (best time to take an image, whether you’ll need a tripod, etc.).
The other aspect is that PhotoSpotLand also tries to help you meet up with other photographers while you are traveling. That part of the service, however, will only really come into play once PhotoSpotLand launches its mobile app in the coming weeks (it’s only available in a private beta right now).
What makes the mobile app stand out is that you only need is a working cell connection to send and receive SMS messages — you don’t need to have a data connection. PhotoSpotLand smartly encodes your location and other data into a message and can receive information the same way. There is no way to share an image this way, of course, but it’s good enough for exchanging location data when necessary. The company argues that this can help users save on international data costs, though your text messages will obviously still cost you a few cents if you want to use this service. The company has applied for a patent on this technology.
For now, the service is still officially in beta, so the number of photo spots that have data available isn’t all that high. I’m in Munich right now, for example, and wasn’t able to find a single spot here (and the city has plenty of great photo spots). In Italy, however, the selection is far better, but that’s also due to the fact that the company is partially based there. The team is obviously aware of this issue — which any new online community faces — and is working on a program to incentivize travel bloggers to upload photos and spots to the service (and they are getting priority access to the mobile app beta, too).