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Tips for Setting Up a Photo Walk

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  • Tips for Setting Up a Photo Walk

    I've organised and been a part of a few photo walks, and so I thought I'd share what I've learned for those of you who are thinking of organising photo walks, but are feeling a bit apprehensive or unsure of how to do so.

    1. Pick a Date:
    Yes, it sounds presumptive to pick a date, but it really is a good starting place because it makes it easier for people to know if they'll be around. You may want to pick a few dates (different times, days of the week, etc) and figure out which one works the best for the most people. But it's also, as one person in my photo walk group in the past said, a good way to put a stake in the ground and let people know you're planning. It also goes back to the first part of what I said, people know if they're available and can also organise to make themselves available.

    2. Pick a Place to Start: It sounds premature to pick a place to start, but selecting a meeting place is also really good. You might want to meet somewhere beforehand for coffee or a light meal to give people time to arrive and get to know each other, and food is a great way to do that. Make sure you pick somewhere close to where you'll be walking and try to select something that isn't cost prohibitive. We've had someone organising walks who kept picking a place that was a little out of budget for most of us, and that definitely kept people away. So knowing that is good. It's also good to pick a place to start where you can mull around a bit to wait for late comers. I suggest waiting about 15-20 minutes from the time set just to make sure everyone who's going to arrive does so.

    3. Pick a Place to Walk: I know, you're going to say why should I pick a place when I don't know if there's any interest? But when it comes down to it, people often like something a bit more specific than "Wellington" or "London". It may be because they work in a particular part of town, it may be because they are really fond of the type of subject matter that tends to come up, it may just be because often times it makes us feel a little more sure of what's going on. I'm not suggesting a google map with a specific route laid out, but something more general. You can even suggest the type of photography that's well suited to the area. For example, if you're suggesting a part of town known for interesting people, why not suggest a meet based on street photography.

    3a. Pick a Topic: This isn't always necessary, but we've had some great meets that focused almost entirely on one topic where we all learned a bit about it together or all got out of our comfort zone. For example, a model shoot where the leader organises for a model to be present. Or another one I've done is a Portraits for Chocolate shoot where we set up a few colourful backgrounds and offered people chocolate in exchange for taking their photos. Those are the kind of topics where you learn something new and can take away even more than just the fun, social aspect of going out with a group of people.

    4. Pick an Ending Location: This doesn't always happen depending on what kind of walk you're going on. Night walks, in my experience, less frequently have an ending location because of time. But it's handy to know if your walk will circle around so people can park their cars closer to the start or if they need to park somewhere between the start and finish. And it's also handy for those people who get rides to and from the location. You might also consider finishing the walk somewhere near public transportation, just in case.

    5. Set Up a Place to Share: That can be in one of the threads here, that could be a Flickr Group, it could be something else altogether, but it's great to be able to see the various shots that people in your group took, all in one place.

    By no means am I an expert at this, but I have taken part in a number of walks, both as a participant and a planner. So feel free to add your own tips, suggestions, questions, etc. Maybe we can create a knowledge base for those who are just starting out with photo walks. I'll try to post a few tips for "during the photo walk" as well in the future too.
    Nikon D600 | D90 | Sony NEX-3
    Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 70-300 | Lensbaby 2.0 | Nikkor 85 f/1.8D | Nikkor 105 f/2.8 VR | Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 | Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8 Fisheye | Sony 16 f/2.8 | Sony 18-55 | 2xSB600 | Orbis Ring Flash Adapter
    My Flickr

  • #2
    photo walk tips

    good tips, thanks
    American Pro Photography


    • #3
      Thanks for the tips! I also think that having this dedicated section of the forum was a great idea.
      Suzanne Scott Photography


      • #4
        Great tips. You should sticky this one.
        camera: Nikon D90
        lenses: 50mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8, 55-200mm VR, "Dreamy Diana"
        flash: Nikon Speedlight SB-600
        software: Adobe Photoshop CS4
        see my photos: Flickr


        • #5
          Security in NYC

          Hello Friends. I think to travel to New York in the month of August and the security has always worried to me whenever I travel. I ask, Is safe to walk taking photos in the street from New York.?


          • #6
            Great post Nicole,

            I would like to add some tips also:

            1. Prior research on the route is important, what to see and what kind of happenings on the place.

            2. Number of people should be limited depending on the place you're going, you don't want it to look like a tour group

            3. Don't walk too fast, around 30 or more minutes in an area so the participants can absorb the scenery or get to know the people they intend to shoot.

            4. A topic is indeed important, it helps the participants to define the gear they will be bringing... like tripod, wide or long lenses, extra shirt, etc

            Hehe, I smell a photowalk brewing
            God creates the moment, we simply capture it!


            • #7
              Excellent photography tips. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for providing the list.
              NYC wedding photographers


              • #8
                Early Morning Photo-Walk McDowell Mtn Regional Park

                Are there 2-3 folks out there who would be interested in an early morning photo-walk in the McDowell Mountain Area on Saturday June 4th?
                I am curious about the morning light and interested in the desert landscape, but I am not local - I have this small window of time Sat AM, sunrise to noon- to explore the landscape, after a conference and before I return to the WindyCity.
                Chasing the light


                • #9
                  Love the idea of photowalking groups. I am pretty new to doing this as a hobby and have several friends that would love something like this. I now have a new something to do! Thanks!


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the tips about photo walking. But I am new to photo walk groups. I have never done such a thing. How much should be the strength of the people involved in photo walking.


                    • #11
                      Leading Your Own Photo Safari - my free book for you

                      What a great forum thread this is! I'm really enjoying reading your ideas...and look forward to seeing so many more great ideas come forth in the future.

                      I want to offer all of my DPS friends a free download of my most recent eBook, Leading Your Own Photo Safari. It's a 120-page book that I pulled together after a series of several very successful photo safaris (or walks).

                      I think you will enjoy it.

                      Here's the link -- Leading Your Own Photo Safari

                      It's a PDF and you can pop it over onto your iPad very easily for your leisurely reading.

                      I welcome any suggestions, additions, etc. that will appear in the next version of the book.

                      Keep up your great work here. And, please pass along to your friends the information about this free eBook for anybody who enjoys photographing with a group.
                      Last edited by LarryAnderson; 09-08-2011, 06:34 PM.
                      Dr. Larry S. Anderson
                      Founder/CEO, National Center for Technology Planning
                      P. O. Box 2393 Tupelo, MS 38803
                      Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2000


                      • #12
                        these are great tips, I might start doing at my home town. It feels like taking a photo tour


                        • #13

                          I am brand new here, and this thread is the best idea I have seen in a long time. I would love to "thumb" through it but it isn't loading? Could someone help me out?


                          • #14
                            Thanks for Photo Walk tips

                            Great advice. I just joined yesterday and still trying to figure out how to use this forum.
                            Photo walks sound exciting and considering how close I live to two universities and one college, there are endless possibilites for photo walks.


                            • #15
                              I was amazed at the resounding popularity of photowalk in Google+ until about a month ago. (I have no idea about them now.) That had inspired me to go on a photography adventure (I called it "photowalk" back then) even if I was just alone because people in my area aren't much enthusiastic about it. However, it was a unique experience and as a beginner I felt the need for carrying a few accessories like an extra battery and extra memory cards when I go on such walks. This proves me that I am just a beginner but it also proves that I am up to my words!

                              I wish to be able to go on new adventures soon.
                              Prem Gaire
                              Budding Art & Photography Blogger
                              Sketches, Paintings & Photography