Now I know that there are official photo walks that cost money and follow a specific itinerary, but what I'm referring to only takes yourself a camera/lens and a sense of exploration.
A photo walk is when you head out for a few hours with the purpose of taking photos. These can be done on your own or with others. Generally you head out to practice an area of photography whether its photographing people, street photography, landscapes or just scenic areas. The goal is to put yourself in the locations with a creative eye and truly take in everything you see. Much like hunting or fishing you want to go home with a great catch. You aim to get a variety of well taken photos by just being in the moment.
For me doing photo walks have always been to give myself a reason to shoot more often. There are times we have client work to do or editing or we just don't feel creative. You can get in a rut and not feel creative. It happens to all of us. So, I push myself to do photo walks at least once a month. Often times I will visit the same locations when I get new lenses I want to try out as I'm familiar with these locations. Other times I want to go back and get a different look with a different lens or maybe its a different season.
Its almost like giving yourself a personal project. I'm heading out with this one lens and I'm going to try to get at least 10 good photos. Ok, I'm off. But, other times I'm looking to explore and find new fun places to photograph. Venturing out like this will help you identify places with good lighting, colors and open spaces for future photo sessions or photo walks with others.
So you'll probably see me wandering around doing photo walks and then posting them on here because I like to share. If you're not from the Massachusetts area maybe you'll get a little insight through some of my photos on what's around here.
- One of my goals is to attend a photo walk with some of the great photography educators out there. They can be pricey, but you can learn a ton from them. And I enjoy traveling.
Here are some recommendations for your next photo walk:
- Take one lens (a prime lens). This can be tricky for some as most of us are gear heads and love all of our lenses equally so why leave some at home? But, the idea is to have the lens get out of your way of taking photos. Less options will have you looking for the shot. You'll quickly notice what kind of shots might work versus the ones that won't. Instead of getting frustrated you teach yourself to get the best shot possible. You'll notice that when the next scene presents itself you're already prepared for what won't work and you'll start seeing what will. This is very freeing and a great way to view your photography differently for the day.
- Take less photos per setting. This one can be tricky and hard to do as no one will be there to count how many shots you're taking, but it is a great challenge to give yourself. Maybe at every spot limit yourself to 4 photos from that exact same position. This way you force yourself to move on to a different angle/look. One way to be able to help with this is to head out with a small memory card like a 8gb or 16gb. Can you do it?
- Get out of your comfort zone. For some their comfort zone is a 10 mile radius from their home while for others its closer to a 50 mile radius. Plan ahead and go beyond your normal radius. Research the areas where you are considering ahead of time so you know where you might be, but really get out there. If your inclination is to take landscape photos, visit a busy city or vice-versa. If you always shoot with a long lens, try a wide one for the day. Explore!
- Bring another photographer or two along with you. At times these can be fun alone where you can fully concentrate, but other times its great to be able to chat and observe how others see the world. Ask how and why they are shooting something different to yours. Maybe they saw something you didn't see or you found a interesting angle of your own. Don't treat it as a competition, but as a learning photo walk.