My current Work In Progress is set in my former home of New Orleans. I was recently writing a scene set in the French Quarter. My character walked through Dutch Alley on his way to the Canal Street Ferry. He passed the charming statues of people who lived and worked in the Quarter when the French Market was new. But I couldn’t remember if he would pass the woman seated on the bench or the butcher displaying a fine cut of meat first. Not to worry. I knew I would be in New Orleans in a few days for an end-of-summer visit. I would take some reference photos.
I’m not sure what the official term is, but I call these pictures reference photos. Reference photos are rarely displayed in frames or photo albums. These snapshots are usually of places, not people. They are a writer’s reference to make sure details are correct when a story is set in a real place.