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. :)
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.