I've talked about photo walks before and if you're a regular reader, you may have already figured out that I'm a big fan of them! But you may still have some reservations or questions about why you'd want to attend, or maybe even lead one. Hopefully this Top Ten list will clear up some of the “why” questions for you.
If you are still a bit confused about “what” they are or what happens on a photo walk, you can read some of my previous articles on walks (see the link to related articles at the end of this one)
Top Ten Reasons why to get your Butt to a Photo Walk
- you get to hang out with people that like the same thing you do – photography! The social aspect of photo walks is huge! I've met people who I am still in touch with, even from walks in other cities like San Francisco.
- you might make a new friend or two – see #1! You already have something in common so it's not all that unlikely you'll find someone you really hit it off with. I've seen more than a few friendships formed, myself included, with people who've met on photo walks. At the very least you might make a photography buddy, someone to go shoot with on a regular basis and bounce ideas off each other.
- gives you a reason to get out and photograph something in your home city. How many times do we leave our camera at home in our native city, but we always have it with us when we are travelling. Make it a habit to bring it along wherever you go, this is a good time to practice.
- an opportunity to share your images with others. I highly encourage this, there is usually a Flickr group, Facebook group or Google Plus event and group for the walk so there should be somewhere to share your images and see everyone else's shots.
- meet people with all levels of photography experience. This gives you a chance to learn something from someone, teach someone else something or perhaps even both.
- provides ideas and inspiration to try something new. We tend to do what we know, so photo walks give you an opportunity to see how other photographers approach a subject and how their vision differs from yours. Different is good!
- it's a chance challenge yourself. Try something you don't usually do like shooting with only one lens, shoot in all black and white, or all vertical images. Challenges help you to improve your work. If you haven't already subscribed for updates on the site, head up to the top right hand side of the page (look for the big red arrow). Once you have confirmed your subscription you will have access to my free ebook 10 Photography Challenges to Improve your photography without buying more gear. In 2011 I led a walk through Metro Continuing Education and
- get off your butt and get a little exercise. Get away from the computer/tv/ipad/etc. Today many of us live way too sedentary lives with too much sitting. Why not doing something as simple as walking AND use your camera at the same time.
- practice, practice, practice – the more often you shoot the faster your work will improve. I constantly get asked how long will it take to “get” all this stuff and the best answer I can give is that it is directly proportional to how often and how much you are actually photographing. The more you shoot, the faster your work will improve.
- you might meet a famous photographer! Many well known photographers lead photo walks all the time, you just have to follow them on various social media sites like Google Plus, Twitter, etc. Guys like Trey Ratcliff, Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion, and Thomas Hawk have large followings and do regular walks. I haven't met Thomas yet but I did get to go on a walk that Trey was leading, and I also recently interviewed him.
I've been in NINE walks now and counting!
I have now participated in 3 walks and led another 6, including one in a city I've never even been to before, Portland! I first found about about Photo Walks in 2009 when I heard about the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk. I signed up, joined the group and had a great time. I made a few new friends that I still keep in touch with, and ended up having the winning image for our walk! I was hooked!
Since then I have been a walk leader for the Scott Kelby official World Wide Photo Walk event in 2010, 2011 and will host one again this year here in Edmonton, AB. This year, at the suggestion of one of my students I also hosted 3 photo walks here in Edmonton. Each walker chipped in $10 and the group selected the winners from amongst their entries. Here are the winning images from each of those walks. These are regular folks like you, having fun, and making some really cool images.
Spring Summer Photo Walks in Edmonton
Photo Walk May 2012 Winner
Photo Walk June 2012 Winner
In June we had some bad weather and had to reschedule, but got a nice river valley walk in and our winning image for June is by Sue Thompson (click on her name to see more of her photos). You can see my images from the June walk here.
Fort Edmonton July 2012 Photo Walk Winner
This one turned out to be very popular with vintage car day and staff in period costumes that made for great photography subjects. This image of the steam train was voted as our winner from this walk, it was taken by Barry Ryziuk – see more of his work on Flickr. Head to my Photo Walks page on my portfolio to see my images from this walk.
Attend Photo Walks in other Cities
I had the opportunity to attend a large organized photo walk in San Francisco as part of the Google Plus Conference for Photographers. The one I was on was led by Trey Ratcliff, infamous HDR photographer of Stuck in Customs fame. Over 50 photographers shot for over 4 hours and we got some tips from the master, had an impromptu dog photo session and even a model.
In July I was in Portland Oregon, attending another completely unrelated conference, called the World Domination Summit (if you're curious what that's about, you can read my article on it here). As part of the conference many extra curricular events were going on and they wanted someone to lead a photo walk. No one was stepping forward so I just went for it, even though I'd never been to Portland before. I used my network of new friends from Google Plus to get some location and route tips and it turned out great. Over 40 people showed up and I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all – maybe you can tell from these photos. We had iPhone shooters, little point and shoots and a few DSLR's. You don't need to be a pro, or have a big fancy camera to go on a Photo Walk – just the desire to go, and a passion for taking photos. That's it!
Join the World Wide Photo Walk 2012 October 13th
This year I'm once again leading an official walk for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk event. The maximum number of walkers for this walk is 50 and I already have 35 slots filled. If you'd like to join me, it is on Saturday, October 13th this year – you can get more info on the times, our route and register for my walk here. It is 100% FREE, and there are great prizes provided by Scott Kelby Media, one winner from each walk will be chosen. You can see the 2011 winning image from my walk here. Children are welcome and encouraged to register and enter too!
If you do not live in the Edmonton area but want to participate, remember this is a World Wide event. So just go to the “Find a Walk” section of the main site and enter your location to find a walk near you. If there isn't one listed, you can apply to lead one. Don't be afraid to do so, it's easy and they give you directions and guidelines to help you lead a successful walk. You do not need to be a pro, a teacher or even an expert, you just need to have good organizational skills and enthusiasm!
I'll be posting some of my images from the walk after the event, and of course the winning image. I hope to see some of you there, and I'd LOVE if you shared your photo walk images with us in the comment section below.
Have you Photo Walked before? Share your experience with us!
If you are an experience Photo Walker, please share your experience with us in the comments below. Tell us what you liked about it! Share your images with us!
Keep on walking and shooting, hope to see you on Oct 13th!
Cheers – Darlene