On a visit to New Zealand recently, I took over one hundred photos in one day at an important setting in my current manuscript. Many were of signs and haven’t been referred to in the story, but having those photos gave me a choice to choose what would best fit.
For example, the photo above may seem insignificant, but it was a location two characters passed over. How would I remember it months later when I wrote that chapter without photos?
As well as travel and photographs, I read novels and articles, scan the internet, listened to pod casts, and interview people to get the facts right; be it historical facts or a setting.
I’ve done all of the above for a story I’m presently editing. So my point is, over-read/research is always better than less.