How to Organize Your Own Photowalk – Inspired by the 500px Global Photowalks

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Ever Fancied Initiating Your Own Photowalk?

Inspired by the 500px Global Photowalk events organized each year (now 4 years running) by the team from 500px themselves and executed by local support and contributors, hundreds of cities worldwide last year (September 2016) are now actively involved!

create your own photowalk

Image by Lili Popper

Today I'll Discuss Some Key Points About Organizing Your Very Own Photowalk

Having organized several photowalks myself, I can assure you it is not a hard thing to do; in fact, it's pretty easy since there aren’t any strict rules per se.

However, if you want it to be successful, you’ll need to keep an eye on several key things if you want to take the role of the leader in the photo walk (or at least the person which puts it together).

Planning the Route

Photo by Nishanth Jois

Of course, it's very wise to scout the route before you plan it. Chances are, people will naturally deviate from it but make sure the general route's in an area suitable for photographing – kind of goes without saying.

Not that there are areas which have absolutely nothing to photograph, there is always something, but you need areas which will be suitable for everybody and their abilities/interests.

Remember: different people photograph different things, under different conditions. This is the beauty of how a photowalk can be so dynamic!

Diversity in the Group

Hey, it's fun to be around different kinds of people, and that especially applies to photographers too!

In the group on the Photowalk there shouldn’t be any limits. Whether there are smartphone photographers or professionals who've been in the business for more than 20 years, it's a free-for-all event, and at the end of the day, everybody is capable of snapping a good one.

Photo by liz west

Photographers with Varying Skill Sets

Let's talk about the often wide variation of skills amongst photowalk participants.

When you have people of different skill sets, relationships which are beneficial for everybody can be formed. The beginner photographers can get advice and learn from the pros, and the professional photographers get to teach beginner photographers a thing or two – probably re-learning themselves in the process.

Even though at first glance it looks as if the beginners get more of the pie, the satisfaction you get when you teach somebody something new is equally pleasing as is learning something new.

Every professional photographer was once a beginner and has learned aspects of photography from somebody more experienced than them. This chain of knowledge has to exist and be available to everybody –  it's the only way to keep the craft alive.

Encourage Sharing Knowledge Amongst Yourselves

Photo by Fred Mancosu

As mentioned before, sharing your experience with less skilled photographers and learning from more skilled photographers is what keeps the chain of knowledge alive. This is something that applies to every craft.

Yes, there are schools, courses, training, and so forth, but there is only so much you can learn there. In my opinion, hands-on experience and practice, learning from different peers is the right way to go. This complements the formal education.

If you notice that this chain of knowledge somehow isn’t present within the group dynamics, regardless of whether you are just a member or a leader, just try to encourage people to keep it going and communicate amongst one another.

All it takes is a gentle reminder or just giving a tip or two to a photographer who is struggling to capture something to get people interacting more in a “teacher-student” way.

Leaders – Be Known!

Usually, the people who organize the photowalk have the role of the leadership. Often it's because they’ve probably scouted the locations and route before hand and made sure everything is in order and know where everyone should be headed.

However, if there's no leadership, it will be quite difficult to navigate as a group since people will start dispersing quite fast. Make sure the leaders are well known to the group and make sure they are able to animate the crowd somewhat.

Also, leaders should give reasons to follow the planned route and be creative along the way.

Summary

Photo by Zhao !

Photowalks are great social events for photographers. Usually, they serve a purpose of keeping photographers closer as a group in local communities and making it easier for them to get to know each other.

Due to varying skill levels between a group of photographers, it's always helpful for everybody to share experiences and knowledge! Whether that be general tips and tricks, or constructive criticism, it doesn’t matter.

At the end of the day, photographers get to hang out around photographers, meanwhile, random bystanders will get used to the presence of photographers on the street – easing up any random-person-to-photographer tension.




Create Your Own Photowalk – Top Takeaways

  • Ensure there's a well-planned route for everyone to stick to and if possible, encourage group members to stick to it for the benefits it'll bring to the group as a whole.
  • Ensure there is a clear leader of the group (often the organizer) so that other photographers can refer back to a single person if they have a questions or concerns – even suggestions.
  • Members of the group should always be actively encouraged to help one another. This means experienced photographers demonstrating their knowledge and passion to those still learning the basics.
    This works both ways because newbie photographers still possess the ability to analyze and ask why certain light conditions or specific equipment would work best – perhaps teaching both parties through an unexpected (sometimes controversial) discussion.

Further Resources

Further Learning

Having been inspired by a Photowalk, you may wish to consider how to improve your style and develop new levels of creativity.
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Profile photo of Dzvonko Petrovski
Photographer who loves challenging and experimental photography and is not afraid to share the knowledge about it.

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