If you’ve ever asked yourself what is a photo walk, chances are you’ve come across the idea and seen it as a great opportunity to further explore photography.
Like any creative craft, photography usually starts with just you and your camera.
But somewhere along the way, you find yourself wanting to do it as often as possible and maybe even exploring ways to make money off it.
This article about tips for a successful photo walk will guide you on how to make the most of it and enjoy the whole thing at the same time.
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How Do You Do a Photo Walk?
A photo walk is pretty much a walking tour done by photographers. It’s a great way to meet fellow photographers and camera enthusiasts and be exposed to different places and sceneries.
It will also help hone your skills and expand your perspective as you get to exchange tips and advice. Perhaps even collaborate with them.
But how do you do a photo walk, exactly? Here are some useful tips:
1. Bring Only What You Need
You may have the urge to bring everything you need. But to have a successful photo walk experience, you’d want to pare that down to the essentials. Only bring what you need.
Know the type of photography you want to do, say street photography, and bring only the lenses that are for such type of photography. Extra batteries and nothing else.
This is to make sure you can move around comfortably without carrying a big camera bag.
It will also help you stick to one camera lens instead of changing it from time to time and truly immerse in the experience rather than focusing on the gear.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothes
This sounds like a no-brainer but wear comfortable clothes. Choose shirts that are in neutral shades like black, brown, or gray, so you don’t stand out. Instead, you sort of blend in with your surroundings.
Use the right footwear too. You don’t want to go by the bear wearing leather shoes.
Know where you’re going and choose the right clothes so you can enjoy the whole experience without being uncomfortable with what you’re wearing.
3. Don’t Rush It
Because it’s a photo walk, naturally, you will walk around the place and capture things and/or people. That’s how the whole thing works.
However, you wouldn’t want to rush too much. Enjoy the whole experience, and take your time. Walk slower. Sit a lot too.
Be one with your surroundings instead of clicking that shutter button too much.
Be observant and see what grabs your attention. Rushing too much might cause you to miss amazing things to photograph.
4. Try Different Techniques
Just because you pared down your gear doesn’t mean you cannot play with your camera.
Even if you’re using only one lens, allow yourself to play with different techniques. Do what you are used to, and then try something else.
Try the techniques of others. Maybe do something you’ve always wanted but never did.
See what will happen if you really lower your exposure level. What is a photo walk anyway if not for trying new things?
5. Be respectful of your surroundings
Tip number 5 for photo walks is to be respectful of your surroundings.
The best way to enjoy your photo walk experience is to make sure you are doing it with such grace and respect.
Be aware of the rules and make sure you’re not photographing something that’s not meant to be photographed.
If you want to do portraits, ask people nicely if it’s okay to photograph them instead of randomly holding up your camera.
The last thing you want to do is offend someone.
What are the Benefits of Photo Walks?
So, why do photographers hold photo walks? What are the benefits of photo walks anyway?
A lot. One of which is fueling your creativity. Photo walks mean experiencing a new place and meeting new people, and these two things have tons of positive contributions.
Here are more benefits of photo walks:
One of the biggest benefits of photo walks would be skills development.
You get to do what you’ve always been doing and how you’ve always been doing it, but in a new and different scenario.
This new setting will encourage you to hone your current skills and develop new ones.
Opportunity to Practice Different Techniques
Practicing different techniques is another reason why photo walks are great events.
As you surround yourself with creatives, you get to exchange techniques with them, and this photo walk could also be the best place to practice those new techniques.
Learn from Fellow Photographers
Speaking of other photographers, photo walks are always great events to learn from one another.
You will meet amateur and professional photographers, and this is an opportunity to learn from them.
It’s also an opportunity to build your network. The photography world can feel so exclusive sometimes.
One great way to connect and network with other photographers is by attending events where, well, there are lots of photographers.
Build Potential Collaborations
Another benefit would be the huge potential for collaborations.
Since you’re exposed to people with the same passion who do things differently than you, why not collaborate with them?
Why not explore your creativity and see if there are ways to build projects with them?
Sharing and Receiving Feedback
Photo walks are also perfect events to share and receive feedback.
While creativity, in general, has no rules, feedback in photography and the techniques used are necessary.
Exploration and Inspiration
If you’re hungry for inspiration and exploration, photo walks might just be the solution.
These events will help those creative juices going, and as you surround yourself with other creatives, inspiration will flow naturally, too.
Discovering New Locations and Subjects
From the name itself, you can expect to do a lot of walking.
And you can expect yourself to discover new places along the way.
Perhaps you’ve never really explored that street before.
Or maybe see what the rooftop of this building looks like during the golden hour.
If the photo walk is being held close to nature, even better.
Gaining A Fresh Perspective on Familiar Places
As important as it is to discover new places, it’s also vital for creatives to get fresh perspectives on familiar places.
Photo walks can help you do that as you explore the same place but now with fellow creatives who will offer you new perspectives and new ways of looking at those same spaces.
Where Do You Find Photo Walk Groups?
If you’re new to the idea, where do you find photo walk groups? There are lots of places for this, and social media will never fail you.
But to get started, here are three solid options for you:
Check your town for local photography groups.
Most towns usually have a few of these groups, so you can consider asking the barista at your local coffee shop.
Or perhaps see if you have a town directory.
Connect with your friends, and maybe they know any camera clubs or people who hold photo walks every now and then.
Meetup is a dedicated social networking site for in-person and virtual events.
This is also a great place to find photo walks and perhaps other photography-related events.
Another solid place is Facebook groups. Today, there’s a Facebook group for pretty much anything.
You can join a couple of local groups and see if they know of photo walk events in your place.
Even better if there’s already a dedicated Facebook group for photographers in your area.
What are Some Topic Ideas for a Photo Walk?
Whether you want to lead a photo walk or attend your first one, here are some topic ideas for you to try:
- Urban Exploration – Think street graffiti, night lights, and neon signs. Pay attention to what you see in public spaces, but this time, instead of seeing it as a random graffiti you pass by every day, see it as a subject. Explore historic buildings, photograph people walking on the streets, and take unique angles of skyscrapers.
- Nature and Landscapes – Nature is probably one of the best photography subjects there is. There are always subtle changes happening that are so special when you capture them. Forest trails, woodland creatures, and lakes are only some of the most common nature and landscape subjects.
- Wildlife and Birds – Another one from nature would be wildlife and birds—this is especially if you want some challenge. It’s not easy photographing unpredictable subjects, but visiting local parks and animal sanctuaries is still worth it. Of course, let’s not forget macro photography and the best subject for it—insects!
- Cultural and Historical – Taking advantage of local festivals and parades is also perfect for photo walk ideas. Explore historical landmarks in your area or spaces where traditional crafts are showcased. See if there are museums and galleries as well.
- Architectural Wonders – Architecture photography is a subgenre that focuses on buildings and structures. If this is your thing, you’d love ancient ruins and abandoned buildings. Warm up by photographing bridges and simple infrastructure, and then look for other architectural wonders that will spark creativity in you.
- Portraits and People – If you want to be a portrait photographer, photo walks are also great for this style. Imagine spending the way walking the streets with other photographers and taking candid shots of various people. If there are buskers and street performers, they make perfect subjects too.
- Seasonal Theme – Seasons are also perfect for photo walks. Think about the autumn foliage and winter snowscapes you can capture. And the spring blossoms that are also great subjects for macro photography. And who doesn’t want to photograph the beach vibes during summer?
- Night and Astro Photography – Astrophotography will always be mesmerizing. Capturing star trails and the Milky Way isn’t easy, and it would greatly depend on both your skills and your gear. You can also start with cityscape and nightlife. This is also a perfect opportunity to apply light painting techniques.
- Macro and Close-ups – We already mentioned macro photography, but this style in and of itself can also be a solid photo walk idea. if you have the essential photography gear, Flowers make great subjects for this because you can really capture the texture and other small details, as well as dewdrops and reflections.
- Transport and Movement – Capturing movement is not always easy, but definitely fun. And what are photo walks supposed to be if not fun? Think train stations and busy intersections. Think airplanes and boats. Of course, you can also photograph the spaces related to these, like airports, marinas, and train tracks!
Photowalk Tips | Final Wrap-Up
The more you photograph, the wider your personal lens gets.
Simply put, the more creative you become, the more open you are to exploring places, spaces, and different perspectives of different people.
So if you’ve ever wondered what is a photo walk, it is an experience that expands you as a photographer.
Tammy Danan is a freelance storyteller and the founder of Moss Content Studio. She’s a highly visual person who loves exploring how the art of photography intersects with our everyday lives.