10 Tips For A Great Photowalk - Digital Photography School

10 Tips For A Great Photowalk

Rolling RockThis guest post has been submitted by Trevor Carpenter from Photowalking.org who I asked to give us an introductory post on PhotoWalking. Trevor is also the guy behind the upcoming PhotoSummit which is happening in September this year.

First off, let me explain the concept of Photowalking. Photowalking is simply the act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things you may find interesting. Photographers have been doing that for years. So why coin a new term? Well, why not?

Since photowalking can really be an event at any level of attendance and participation, I’d like to focus on a slightly more organized photowalk. One that brings in at least a few people who’ve never met before. Now, I’ve already done an article about getting a photowalking group together in your area. So, I won’t focus on those important steps here.

What I will focus on, is 10 great tips to help you get started. Then, when you’ve really been bit by the bug, come on over to Photowalking.org for more direction. Now let’s get started.

1. Pick a great location.

First off, if you don’t have a great location, not too many photographers are going to show up. The only real chance you have of fighting this one is Tip #6.

2. Plan the photowalk far enough in advance.

If you don’t let people plan ahead, they simply won’t show up. Not too many people live by the seat of their pants, so being able to get it on the calendar in advance is a real benefit. You could plan it too far in advance, loosing any hype and excitement you’ve built, so be careful how far in advance you plan.

3. Blog it.

Use multiple methods to get the word out. If you’re already blogging or photoblogging, that’s a no brainer. If you’re not already blogging, why aren’t you? Get on it!

4. Get others to blog it.

Moon & Tree RiseYou also should approach any other photography bloggers and podcasters to beg for a mention. Of course heading over to the appropriate groups at Zooomr and Flickr is necessary.

5. Pound the pavement.

Also don’t forget those who aren’t online. Consider your local community colleges. I’m sure most have at least one photography course. Approach the professor(s) there for a mention as well. And last, those local community based groups. See if there are any existing photography groups in your area. If so, get a contact and try to attend one of their meetings.

6. Get a ringer.

Get at least one local big name in photography to show up. Preferably one who is active in the photoblog arena. This will make it easy to get easy exposure for the event, since the photographer will most likely blog about it.

7. Lead a discussion.

Consider having a planned discussion lead by one of the ringers. Don’t go overboard here. Just see if one of your ringers would be willing to share a little wisdom for less than 30 minutes. No doubt, this will spark a conversation that will span the majority of the event.

8. Plan for the end.

DSC_0375Make sure you have a plan for compiling all the work when you’re all done. Blogging your images is one thing, you should still be doing that. However, planning on a tag that everyone can use when they upload their images to Zooomr or Flickr will help you find thh3 all later. I usually just use, “photowalk-122507″, with the last numbers being the date of the photowalk. But you can use anything. Both Flickr and Zooomr will allow you to make a photoset with all images that are tagged the same.

9. No, it’s not spam.

Use the first photowalk as an opportunity to connect with everyone who attends. This is the perfect time to get everyone’s h3ail or website. Now, start your list of those whom you’ll invite to the next photowalk. What, you hadn’t started thinking about the next one yet? Get on it!

10. Have fun!

PS: Most of the images in this post were taken by Trevor on a variety of PhotoWalks. The second image (of the moon) was taken by Randy Carranza. Have you been on PhotoWalks? What Tips would You Add?

Want to Organize a Photowalk but don’t know who to go with? Why not post a message in our forums and see if anyone in your area would like to join you?

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/shroti-n-shroti shroticg

    great tips. thanks, very few people understand the importance of photowalking, what u have explained in yr tips. i think photographers will take this opportunity and mak new contacts as well.

  • http://web.mac.com/francoism Francoism

    I organize something similar with our 26 things group. We pick a location and offer participants a list of 26 items/ideas/concepts and we share our shots on Flickr. We all meetup, go for drinks after but only discuss specific shots online. I don’t know, it works for me and it gets me out shooting. I need the practice anyway.

  • http://www.comeacross.info Raoul

    Very nice write-up, Trevor! Best wishes for the Photo Summit, and for your idea of an online magazine! Hope they turn out like you imagined them! :-)

  • http://www.whydontyou.org.uk/blog/ TW

    What excellent suggestions. I had never considered a “photowalk” in the past – I was certainly one of the people shroticg mentioned – but I think I might give it a shot (obviously not with many people this time round!) this weekend.

    Thanks for an informative post.

  • sanchezcl

    The tips are very useful, but i live in Venezuela and here the thieves don’t know about photograph but they know about expensive equipment.

  • http://www.goldengod.net Andrew Ferguson

    Another good tip is to have a plan ready to go for a meal or drinks afterwards. It’s a great time to wind down and chat with other photographers.

  • http://johnbokma.com/ John Bokma

    I do a lot of photowalks in Mexico (until recently I didn’t even know it was called a photowalk), see: Butterfly safari near San Marcos for an example. Since I take mostly photos of wildlife, taking several people with me would be a big no no.

  • http://blog.epicedits.com Brian Auer

    Thanks for the article, Trevor. I’ll be showing up to the photowalk on the 4th at the pier — I’m really looking forward to it… which reminds me, I need to put that up on my blog this week.

  • http://sightings.loneroad.info AC

    This is the first time I am hearing of this concept. Seems like something fun to try out!

  • http://photografr.com Chris Nixon @ Photografr.com

    Great tips Trevor. I’m taking notes for a Photowalk in Aberdeen.

  • http://freetube.110mb.com Watch Free TV

    The first shot of the bottom amongst the garbage/grass is startling because it mixes the old and the modern, the modern being the glass bottle and the old being the stark contrast between the natural (grass) and the man-made (bottle). Pictures that show the contrast between these two almost always come off well, use black & white photographs to further improve the ambience of the picture. But don’t overuse it.

  • http://www.groundlevelphoto.com Michael

    Actually, I found these set of tips to be useless. This was more about planning a photography meet-up in my eyes than actually planning out a “photowalk”.

    If one is going to present tips for going out on a photowalk, talk about the photography aspect of it. Address how to see creatively in the midst of the mundane. Talk about framing the shots and varying camera positioning (and the effect that it has on the shot).

    Sorry to be the squeaky wheel in this discussion, but when I’m looking for photography tips, I want to read *photography tips*…not ways to start a meet-up. When I started to read the article, I had anticipated reading about ways to take better photos on a “photowalk”. Instead I only read that I have to blog about it, get a “ringer” to show up, tag my photos, and have fun. That isn’t going to necessarily help us have a better photowalk.

  • http://www.unravelingtounderstand.com Patrick

    Thanks for this post. They are converting an old rail line near where I live into a very nice walking trail. I’m planning on taking a walk on it soon and these tips will come in handy.

  • Madhur

    I would agree with what Michael is saying. I had also expected some tips on actually taking photographs. Matter of fact, I read the first few points, then scrolled through looking at the pictures (which are pretty good) and finally came to write this comment.

  • Nickles

    When exactly did walking with a camera become something to blog about?

  • http://carolbrowne.com carol browne

    I love doing photowalks. I went to my first one in May and it was organized in our city via facebook. It was really fun. I’ve got another one to go to in the fall.

  • http://www.articlefarms.com/opinion Vini

    Hey great tips .It was difficult to choose my topic to shot and submit good photography assignment. I will follow all these tips . :)

  • Michael Seljos

    I think this is a great idea and a good way to network with other photographers to share ideas. To the two guys who are complaining – why not unsubscribe from this blog if you don’t like it. Complainers get on my nerves.

  • Madhur

    To M Seljos – I don’t recall reading any instructions that comments can only be in praise of the article. Its a free world, and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I for one really do no care if I am getting on your nerves. And while we are at that, since you are yourself complaining about the comments, I guess that makes you a complainer too. Hope you aren’t getting on your own nerves.

  • http://photowalking.org Trevor

    Thanks Darren for allowing me to guest post. I appreciate your commitment to blogging and photography.

    I also appreciate all of the encouragement and building up that generally comes from the DPS crowd.

    I will also say this, thanks to Michael, the negative commenter above. First, because he’s brave enough to be critical with no cowardice towards sharing his own blog’s address. Second, and more importantly, he was willing to offer not just a complaint, but a way I can do it better next time.

  • http://www.benspark.com Drew

    Excellent Photowalk tips. I’ll be using them when I plan my photowalk.

  • http://www.groundlevelphoto.com Michael

    To Michael Seljos:

    For starters, my comments were contributed to help both the author and owner of the blog understand what some of their visitors expect or hope to see when they reach their blog/article. One would hope for and expect constructive criticism if they wish to improve upon their work.

    If you read my comment AT ALL…you would have CLEARLY read the suggestions and constructive feedback that I offered. To complain for the sake of bickering about nothing at all is fruitless and pointless. And my comments were nothing of the sort.

    Rather, I’m a photographer who is always looking to improve, grow, and learn more in the hopes of becoming better at what I do. And when I visit digital-photography-school.com, I EXPECT to find things that will help me learn and grow as a *photographer*…and that would include tips on composition, understanding and mastering light, and many other fundamentals that most amateur photogs either ignore or don’t even realize as disciplines to hone and develop.

    So Mr Seljos, carefully examine what you are complaining about—complainers and the legitimate things they have to say—before you snap at others for expressing constructive feedback. EVERYONE is entitled to express their perspectives. Even “complainers.”

  • rose

    Boston has a great photoalk if you are in the area.
    http://www.photowalks.com/

  • http://7days.kiev.ua 7days

    Excellent Phototips. I’ll try it.
    Thanks for an informative post.

  • http://www.photowalkstoday.com CLS

    Thanks for the great tips. I’m just starting photo walks in my area and found your list valuable.

  • http://www.scottfillmer.com Scott Fillmer

    great idea… like you said, I have actually done this for years but making it an “event” is great.

  • http://www.tkrphoto.com Terry Reinert

    There is a new iPhone application that is really great to have on photowalks as well. It is called HearPlanet. I posted a review of it on my blog here: http://www.tkrphoto.com/2009/01/hearplanet-application/

  • http://www.PhotowalkingMunich.de Chris from PhotowalkingMunich.de

    Great Article, which puts the needful things for cool photowalk in a nutshell. Some of them we are currently using in our project at http://www.photowalkingmunich.de, but especially the points 6 & 7 we should consider in the near future. Thanks!

  • boowwet

    These are very useful tips but as Michael stated, it is more about planning. I expect something like: What to do once you started walking from Kilometer. 0 to Km end? What to do from the moment you give the go signal to walk until you get to the agreed finish line or time? I hope someone out there would enlighten me on this aspect.

  • http://vipgrafx.posterous.com/ Vincent

    Great Article – looking forward to some Wonderful Photowalks this year in the northeast Colorado area – if you are interested, please drop me a line.

  • http://svezhak.org.ua/ Svezhak

    Great tips. I will follow all these tips. It was difficult to choose my topic to shot and submit good photography assignment.

  • http://www.jamiejohnson.ca Jamie Johnson

    We have just released an iPhone app called PhotoWalkIdeas that is available on the iTunes store http://tinyurl.com/pwi-appstore that helps you with ideas to shoot. Inside the app you pick a theme (nature, people, urban, etc.) a level of difficulty, and the number of ideas that you want, and the app randomly selects ideas for you from its 5,000 word dictionary. We would love feedback on how we can improve it.

  • Shuaib

    So nice shots!

  • http://scribedscribbles.wordpress.com/ Laura

    I’m not a great photographer but I’ll improve with practice. I’m organizing my first photowalk for later this month. This article was just what I was looking for. Even the iPhone app is of interest.

    Thanks for writing it!

Some older comments

  • Laura

    October 6, 2012 11:02 am

    I'm not a great photographer but I'll improve with practice. I'm organizing my first photowalk for later this month. This article was just what I was looking for. Even the iPhone app is of interest.

    Thanks for writing it!

  • Shuaib

    September 16, 2010 09:12 pm

    So nice shots!

  • Jamie Johnson

    May 21, 2010 12:33 am

    We have just released an iPhone app called PhotoWalkIdeas that is available on the iTunes store http://tinyurl.com/pwi-appstore that helps you with ideas to shoot. Inside the app you pick a theme (nature, people, urban, etc.) a level of difficulty, and the number of ideas that you want, and the app randomly selects ideas for you from its 5,000 word dictionary. We would love feedback on how we can improve it.

  • Svezhak

    February 6, 2010 08:34 am

    Great tips. I will follow all these tips. It was difficult to choose my topic to shot and submit good photography assignment.

  • Vincent

    January 11, 2010 04:54 am

    Great Article - looking forward to some Wonderful Photowalks this year in the northeast Colorado area - if you are interested, please drop me a line.

  • boowwet

    July 24, 2009 01:59 pm

    These are very useful tips but as Michael stated, it is more about planning. I expect something like: What to do once you started walking from Kilometer. 0 to Km end? What to do from the moment you give the go signal to walk until you get to the agreed finish line or time? I hope someone out there would enlighten me on this aspect.

  • Chris from PhotowalkingMunich.de

    January 30, 2009 11:29 pm

    Great Article, which puts the needful things for cool photowalk in a nutshell. Some of them we are currently using in our project at www.photowalkingmunich.de, but especially the points 6 & 7 we should consider in the near future. Thanks!

  • Terry Reinert

    January 9, 2009 12:44 pm

    There is a new iPhone application that is really great to have on photowalks as well. It is called HearPlanet. I posted a review of it on my blog here: http://www.tkrphoto.com/2009/01/hearplanet-application/

  • Scott Fillmer

    September 9, 2008 08:16 pm

    great idea... like you said, I have actually done this for years but making it an "event" is great.

  • CLS

    May 15, 2008 06:31 am

    Thanks for the great tips. I'm just starting photo walks in my area and found your list valuable.

  • 7days

    January 24, 2008 02:02 am

    Excellent Phototips. I’ll try it.
    Thanks for an informative post.

  • rose

    August 3, 2007 11:05 pm

    Boston has a great photoalk if you are in the area.
    http://www.photowalks.com/

  • Michael

    August 2, 2007 01:38 am

    To Michael Seljos:

    For starters, my comments were contributed to help both the author and owner of the blog understand what some of their visitors expect or hope to see when they reach their blog/article. One would hope for and expect constructive criticism if they wish to improve upon their work.

    If you read my comment AT ALL...you would have CLEARLY read the suggestions and constructive feedback that I offered. To complain for the sake of bickering about nothing at all is fruitless and pointless. And my comments were nothing of the sort.

    Rather, I'm a photographer who is always looking to improve, grow, and learn more in the hopes of becoming better at what I do. And when I visit digital-photography-school.com, I EXPECT to find things that will help me learn and grow as a *photographer*...and that would include tips on composition, understanding and mastering light, and many other fundamentals that most amateur photogs either ignore or don't even realize as disciplines to hone and develop.

    So Mr Seljos, carefully examine what you are complaining about---complainers and the legitimate things they have to say---before you snap at others for expressing constructive feedback. EVERYONE is entitled to express their perspectives. Even "complainers."

  • Drew

    August 2, 2007 12:54 am

    Excellent Photowalk tips. I'll be using them when I plan my photowalk.

  • Trevor

    August 2, 2007 12:40 am

    Thanks Darren for allowing me to guest post. I appreciate your commitment to blogging and photography.

    I also appreciate all of the encouragement and building up that generally comes from the DPS crowd.

    I will also say this, thanks to Michael, the negative commenter above. First, because he's brave enough to be critical with no cowardice towards sharing his own blog's address. Second, and more importantly, he was willing to offer not just a complaint, but a way I can do it better next time.

  • Madhur

    August 1, 2007 06:46 pm

    To M Seljos - I don't recall reading any instructions that comments can only be in praise of the article. Its a free world, and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I for one really do no care if I am getting on your nerves. And while we are at that, since you are yourself complaining about the comments, I guess that makes you a complainer too. Hope you aren't getting on your own nerves.

  • Michael Seljos

    August 1, 2007 11:04 am

    I think this is a great idea and a good way to network with other photographers to share ideas. To the two guys who are complaining - why not unsubscribe from this blog if you don't like it. Complainers get on my nerves.

  • Vini

    August 1, 2007 02:43 am

    Hey great tips .It was difficult to choose my topic to shot and submit good photography assignment. I will follow all these tips . :)

  • carol browne

    August 1, 2007 01:15 am

    I love doing photowalks. I went to my first one in May and it was organized in our city via facebook. It was really fun. I've got another one to go to in the fall.

  • Nickles

    August 1, 2007 12:25 am

    When exactly did walking with a camera become something to blog about?

  • Madhur

    August 1, 2007 12:20 am

    I would agree with what Michael is saying. I had also expected some tips on actually taking photographs. Matter of fact, I read the first few points, then scrolled through looking at the pictures (which are pretty good) and finally came to write this comment.

  • Patrick

    July 31, 2007 11:55 pm

    Thanks for this post. They are converting an old rail line near where I live into a very nice walking trail. I'm planning on taking a walk on it soon and these tips will come in handy.

  • Michael

    July 31, 2007 11:08 pm

    Actually, I found these set of tips to be useless. This was more about planning a photography meet-up in my eyes than actually planning out a "photowalk".

    If one is going to present tips for going out on a photowalk, talk about the photography aspect of it. Address how to see creatively in the midst of the mundane. Talk about framing the shots and varying camera positioning (and the effect that it has on the shot).

    Sorry to be the squeaky wheel in this discussion, but when I'm looking for photography tips, I want to read *photography tips*...not ways to start a meet-up. When I started to read the article, I had anticipated reading about ways to take better photos on a "photowalk". Instead I only read that I have to blog about it, get a "ringer" to show up, tag my photos, and have fun. That isn't going to necessarily help us have a better photowalk.

  • Watch Free TV

    July 31, 2007 09:35 pm

    The first shot of the bottom amongst the garbage/grass is startling because it mixes the old and the modern, the modern being the glass bottle and the old being the stark contrast between the natural (grass) and the man-made (bottle). Pictures that show the contrast between these two almost always come off well, use black & white photographs to further improve the ambience of the picture. But don't overuse it.

  • Chris Nixon @ Photografr.com

    July 31, 2007 06:59 am

    Great tips Trevor. I'm taking notes for a Photowalk in Aberdeen.

  • AC

    July 31, 2007 06:19 am

    This is the first time I am hearing of this concept. Seems like something fun to try out!

  • Brian Auer

    July 31, 2007 05:40 am

    Thanks for the article, Trevor. I'll be showing up to the photowalk on the 4th at the pier -- I'm really looking forward to it... which reminds me, I need to put that up on my blog this week.

  • John Bokma

    July 31, 2007 05:34 am

    I do a lot of photowalks in Mexico (until recently I didn't even know it was called a photowalk), see: Butterfly safari near San Marcos for an example. Since I take mostly photos of wildlife, taking several people with me would be a big no no.

  • Andrew Ferguson

    July 31, 2007 05:09 am

    Another good tip is to have a plan ready to go for a meal or drinks afterwards. It's a great time to wind down and chat with other photographers.

  • sanchezcl

    July 31, 2007 04:30 am

    The tips are very useful, but i live in Venezuela and here the thieves don't know about photograph but they know about expensive equipment.

  • TW

    July 31, 2007 04:08 am

    What excellent suggestions. I had never considered a "photowalk" in the past - I was certainly one of the people shroticg mentioned - but I think I might give it a shot (obviously not with many people this time round!) this weekend.

    Thanks for an informative post.

  • Raoul

    July 31, 2007 04:08 am

    Very nice write-up, Trevor! Best wishes for the Photo Summit, and for your idea of an online magazine! Hope they turn out like you imagined them! :-)

  • Francoism

    July 31, 2007 03:36 am

    I organize something similar with our 26 things group. We pick a location and offer participants a list of 26 items/ideas/concepts and we share our shots on Flickr. We all meetup, go for drinks after but only discuss specific shots online. I don't know, it works for me and it gets me out shooting. I need the practice anyway.

  • shroticg

    July 31, 2007 03:20 am

    great tips. thanks, very few people understand the importance of photowalking, what u have explained in yr tips. i think photographers will take this opportunity and mak new contacts as well.

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