Ideas for Photo Walkers

As we approach the World Wide Photo Walk on July 24th, here are a few ideas…

First and foremost, think of your health and safety. Bring a hat, sunscreen, water, rain jacket, bug spray and an extra pair of clean underwear, Okay, you can skip the last one, but think about where you are walking (and the time of day) and prepare accordingly.

If you’re a first-time walker, Larry Becker has put together a very helpful video that you can watch here

Of course it’s up to you, but personally, I don’t plan on bringing a tripod. It’s certainly nice to have for some shots, but as the walk wears on, you may be less and less happy that you brought a tripod. (At the very least, consider bringing a lighter, more portable model if you can get your hands on one). And don’t forget, some locations don’t take too kindly to tripods.

As far as lenses, I would either bring one lens that gives me some options (such as an 18 – 200 mm), or if you want to give yourself a challenge, bring only one lens and make it a fixed lens. Last year I only brought a 50mm lens and it really made me work a little harder since I couldn’t just zoom in or out to get the shot I wanted. Again, you can bring a whole camera bag full of gear if you like – I like the idea of trying something different.

Speaking of challenges, if you are a veteran photowalker and want to stretch yourself a bit, try couple of ideas from a previous blog post of mine:

• create a self-assignment, such as colors, shadows or circles

• cover up the LCD so you can’t always be checking up on yourself (see also Scott Kelby’s “old school” contest for more ideas along these lines)

If you find yourself walking around an area that doesn’t inspire you, try looking at something other than “the big picture”. It won’t win you any prizes, but try capturing textures that you can use later in Photoshop. Corey Barker and I were talking about this idea, and he plans on bringing only a point and shoot (albeit a pretty nice one) and shooting textures and shapes that he’ll use in Photoshop. (As an aside, Corey is working on an online class on that very topic of how a point and shoot camera can be a creative tool for Photoshop users).

Here’s a few thoughts borrowed from the excellent online class “A Day with Jay Maisel”

“Take that off and put it in your pocket”. Jay suggests keeping the lens cap off all the time so you don’t miss anything. And he keeps his camera turned on all the time (“But you’re draining the battery – so bring an extra battery!”)

“Life is going on while you’re chimping”. If you’re too busy looking at your camera’s LCD, you could miss a great opportunity for a shot

Another thought paraphrased from Jay: even though it’s a photo walk, sometimes you gotta just stay in one place to see what develops. If you are walking, walk slow enough to see the relationships between people and to be able to see things that are going to happen before they happen.

Overall remember that first and foremost this is a social gathering where photographers can gather and enjoy some time taking photos. Yes there are prizes available, but perhaps the best reward is just being part of the experience and trying something new.

Enjoy your walk!


  1. Shanna

    July 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

    great ideas! Last year, I challenged myself and took only my 50mm lens. It was kind of tough, missing out on some shots that I really wanted to snag. In the end though, I got some wonderful shots.. just not the ones I was anticipating.

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  3. Kurt Larson

    July 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    This is great, I am going to link it for my walkers to read. I could write my own but why when you have done such a good job. It was good to meet you in Orlando and I have the photo that you took of me on my website… NICE! Enjoy your PhotoWalk.

  4. simon

    July 13, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    last year I shot only with film cameras. might do that again this year.

  5. Elizabeth Gower

    July 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Thanks Dave, some really good ideas.

  6. Tom Peterson

    July 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    All great reminders. Might try the theme type walk this year.

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  8. Damien

    July 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    If you’re doing a night time photowalk, the moon will be near full on Saturday. In California (San Francisco area), the moon will rise around 7:41 p.m. So depending on where you are in your time zone, you may get a nice moon shot.

  9. Kate

    July 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks for the helpful hints and links. I plan to travel lighter on this year’s photowalk – I’m leaving my camera bag behind, taking just one lens and keeping my lens cap in my pocket. ;-) I really enjoyed and benefited from “A Day with Jay Maisel” – love his perspective.

  10. hasifleur

    July 23, 2010 at 8:06 am

    When I walked last year I took too much gear, so this year I’m cutting back. I’m leaving behind 2 of the 5 lenses I took last year, forgetting about my tripod, bringing only one flash. Luckily I’m walking in NYC so there’s grocery stores on every corner selling bottles of water, paper dollar bills are much lighter than multiple bottles of water.

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