5 Tips For A Successful And Enjoyable Photo Walk

By Jason D. Little / March 9, 2018

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “photo walk”? I know a lot of people envision a pack of photographers, most of whom are strangers to one another, roaming around a given territory darting suspicious glances at each other while scoping out the best shots for themselves. Ok, that’s not how all photo walks go, but the whole group thing isn’t for everyone.

As an alternative, and my personal preference, I recommend solo photo walks. Here are 5 ideas to make your next (or first) solo photo walk an enjoyable and successful experience. 

Go Off The Beaten Path

When it comes time to decide exactly where you’re going to conduct your photo walk, why not choose a not so obvious destination? Head to an area you rarely frequent. This will present you with novel situations and subjects. Newness can be exciting, and that excitement will be reflected in your photos. Or go to an area that isn’t teeming with other people. The feeling of openness and solitude will help relax you and get your creativity flowing.

Photo by Jason D. Little | Olympus OM-1 | Cinestill 50D

Limit Your Gear

An enjoyable photo walk, in my opinion, doesn’t consist of sore shoulders and constant lens swapping. One camera. One lens. That’s all you need. This type of minimalism will force you to become more adept with whatever focal length you choose (unless you opt for the versatility of a zoom lens), requiring you to play with composition, framing, and perspective in order to get the shot you want. If you’ve never limited yourself to working at one focal length, it may be frustrating at first but I think you will eventually find it freeing. With that freedom comes the ability to relax as you shoot. And a relaxing photo walk is what we’re after, isn’t it?

Photo by Jason D. Little | Minolta XE-7 | Kodak Gold 200

Don’t Think Every Shot Has To Be Amazing

Most of what you capture on your photo walk isn’t likely to be stuff you’ll print and hang on your wall. If you do come back with print worthy shots, that’s great! But don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. A photo walk is about being in the moment and giving yourself the freedom to simply follow your instincts — no matter where that takes you — and not worry too much about the outcome. If you capture something that you’re particularly excited about, check to make sure it’s sharp and composed to your liking before moving on.

Photo by Jason D. Little | Minolta XE-7 | Kodak Gold 200

When In Doubt, Take The Shot

Just shoot what you like. This is, again, all about instinct. If your gut tells you to take the shot, take it. It’s a rule that street photographers live by and it’s one that photographers of all stripes might find value in. It’s definitely a rule to abide by when you’re on photo walk. You have nothing to lose…other than a potentially good shot, because no single opportunity that you pass up will ever recur in exactly the same way. Going home with regrets about all the times you didn’t press the shutter button is going to mar the overall feeling of your walk. Don’t let that happen.

Photo by Jason D. Little | Canon Elan 7ne | Fujifilm Acros 100

Be Patient

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a solo photo walk is that you don’t have a group to keep up with, so you can take all the time you want in one spot. You don’t necessarily have to spend the whole photo walk actually walking. In a street/urban scenario, for example, you can find a scene you like, establish a strong composition and wait for something to happen within that frame. Move to the next scene your leisure.

Photo by Jason D. Little | Olympus OM-1 | Ilford HP5+

Final Thoughts On Solo Photo Walks

A solo photo walk should be a bonding exercise for you and your camera, free of any critical expectations and time constraints. Use that time to develop new skills, refine skills you’ve previously acquired, see new things and see familiar things in a new way.


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About the author

Jason D. Little

Jason Little is a photographer (shooting macros, portraits, candids, and the occasional landscape), writer, and music lover. You can see Jason’s photography on Flickr, his Website or his Blog.

  • Dale says:

    Love that..going to give it try this weekend. Have a good one

  • Danielle says:

    Great idea

  • Redshed says:

    I love this. I want to try these tips.

  • Sam Yaffe says:

    On the other hand, a solo walk in an unfamiliar area can net some perfectly wonderful shots.

  • Jason – Great Advice – Chatted with you a lot and enjoyed your work hung at the Basin – Joe Rothenberg

  • toby turley says:

    great advice, gonna give it a go 🙂

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  • Brad Robb says:

    I like going out with other people. A good photo walk includes a stop at a good pub at the end of walk for craft beer and some good food.

  • Diane says:

    excellent points. I had a solo walk today in a strange location. It was rejuvenating. I plan to do more of these — thanks.


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