Getting yourself physically out into the world with your camera has a great effect on your creativity. It also works as a group activity because you’ll all have something to keep busy with.
While a photo walk can be a possibility for hosting a live event as part of monetising your photo blog, a less formal photo walk can be an amazing way to connect with other creative folks, explore a new location, and search for scenes, people, and things that inspire you. These happenings literally pull you out of your world and into a new setting, making them particularly great for those times when you feel bored, trapped, or in a creative rut.
Practically, you’ll need to prepare for a hike and a mini-location shoot at the same time. On these walks, be sure to wear comfy shoes, apply sunscreen, pack a snack, and be prepared to walk around for as long as it takes to get a picture that satisfies you. Bring only the gear that’s comfortable for you to carry around. And bring a map, especially if you’re going to be in an area without smartphone or GPS service. If you’re photo walking in a group (and most photo walks are group activities), be respectful of others’ shot set-ups and try not to accidentally ‘photo-bomb’ another photographer’s shot. And this goes without saying, but don’t photograph innocent bystanders without asking for their permission.
When you’re planning a photo walk, pick an interesting location—a verdant park, a natural history museum, a historic neighbourhood, a wooded hiking trail, a busy fashion district, a seaside cliff, a bustling ethnic neighbourhood—someplace that will offer all kinds of opportunities from portraiture to still-life macros to landscapes. Don’t head into the photo walk with a preconceived idea of what you’re going to photograph that day; instead, wait for serendipity and circumstance to show you new views and perspectives you might not have seen otherwise. Stand in one spot and look all around you, 360 degrees, scanning slowly for something that piques your interest.
Photo walks can be a great time to overcome shutter shyness or try out new styles and techniques. Because of the casual, free-flowing nature of the activity, you’re not under any real pressure to create; you’re not working for a client or on a deadline. You can make mistakes, so make lots of them now! Play around and have fun; explore new settings and objects from a range of angles. You could even use a photo walk to break in a new camera—try film or toy cameras, new lenses, or other equipment.
If you’re a solitary type, or an introvert, you might try taking a photo walk by yourself for starters. If you’re an extrovert and naturally derive energy from being around others, meet up with other local photographers you might know from blogging or from your social networks and head out into the world to get inspired together. Use Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to set up a date, time, and meeting place, and meander as a group.
Being around other photographers is a great opportunity to ask questions, get technical advice, share creativity tips, and expand your network and knowledge. You might even consider ending the photo walk with a stop at a cafe, tea shop, or bar to rest your feet, share your images, and enjoy time with your fellow creatives.
Photo walks can be great one-off events to rally your spirits and your local community of creatives; they can also be wonderful periodic events to explore your area fully over the course of a year or longer. And if you feel particularly ambitious and particularly comfortable with your photo walking group, consider planning a photo field trip to another fabulous location, perhaps a bit farther away from your home base than usual.
Blogging for Photographers by Jolie O’Dell tells you everything that you need to know about establishing your own photo-blogging website, from the basics of how to get your photos from your camera to the Internet, and looking lovely, to how you can make money from your site.