There are lots of organised photo walks available these days and they can be informative and huge fun. If you’re a first-timer, though, you may be wondering how to get the most from one. Fear not, we have some advice.
1. Go Prepared for the Photo Walk
Expect to cover a lot of ground, so make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes and check the weather forecast to ensure you have clothes to cover most eventualities.
If it’s an all-day affair, check what the eating arrangements are and if necessary, take a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of water. Creativity is not often a friend to hunger.
2. Travel Light on Photo Walks
Many photo walks are themed, which may give you a clue about what kit you need to take. If you’re going to be shooting street photography in broad daylight, for example, you can probably leave your tripod behind and you likely won’t need a 400mm lens.
A backpack can be more comfortable to carry all day, but a shoulder bag will give you quick access to your kit if you need to swap lenses in a hurry. Alternatively, if you have a coat with big pockets, you may be able to get away with popping a lens or two in those.
If you’re feeling decisive, you could just take one lens and carry your camera on a strap. As well as reducing your load, plumping for just one lens can make you more creative as it’s one less decision for you to make when you’re shooting.
3. Shoot the Theme
As we said in the previous point, many photo walks are themed and the route will be selected with this in mind so that you encounter interesting subjects. Now we’re not saying that you should necessarily ignore a once-in-a-lifetime shot, but if you focus on the intended subject/theme you’ll become better at photographing it.
If, for example, the photo walk is about shooting candid street portraits, and you allow yourself to become distracted by architectural shots, you’ll probably miss some great portraits and not pick up the key lessons.
4. Start Shooting Straight Away
Try to start shooting photographs as soon as the walk begins as it will get you into the swing of things quicker. If you’re not sure what to photograph, stick close to the walk leader and either copy them or ask for their advice to get you rolling.
5. Aim to Get Better - Review your Photography
Once you’ve got a few images on your card, show them to the walk leader and ask them if they have any tips for improving your shots. Then look for similar shooting opportunities and try to improve on what you did last time.
Take a look at what everyone else is doing, do they shoot from angles you have never considered? Maybe you should try that.
6. Get to Know People
Chatting with other photographers, and looking at their images, is a great way of learning and improving your own photography. It’s amazing how different two shots of the same subject can be so it’s interesting to compare your images with other photographers’. Don’t be afraid to ask about their exposure and composition decisions.