7 Ideas For The Ultimate Photography Experience


There are so many amazing photography experiences worth trying!

They are vastly enriching, and many go beyond the mere act of pressing the shutter button. Here I’ll describe several activities that I think can correctly be called The Ultimate Photography Experience.

This list is not presented by hierarchy but is simply a combination of experiences I have tried that have added great romance to my love of photography. Please feel free to share your Magnificent Experiences in Photography with us in the comments section.

ultimate photography experience
Image by Dan Gribbin

Taking Your Photography To New Heights…For The Ultimate Photography Experience

1. Printing Your Work

Image by Static Pexels
Image by Static Pexels

During my early work with Point and Shoot cameras, printing was the great moment at the end of collecting images. Everything was new, therefore I was clumsy as hell, and I printed my first images at a supermarket express thingy on 4×6 “photographic glossy paper”.

Even though the quality of the prints was seppuku-worthy, they brought me great joy.

I've become a little more technical and systematic when it comes to printing my work these days. Every time I finish uploading work to an album on my website, I print it as well within a couple of days, for my own satisfaction.

I invest in two types of prints:

  1. The first set is pretty poor quality, but I do it just to see the images physically and to showcase them when friends and relatives come home.
  2. The second type of print is the best I can get in my country, and the quality is amazing. It is so fantastic that I don't feel ridiculous manipulating them with latex gloves. They are worth it. These prints are reserved for my portfolio and for selling.

Seeing your best images, your most beloved ones, come alive on paper is almost the ultimate photography experience (certainly right up there for me).

Every passionate photographer should try this, not just once, but constantly, as part of their workflow. I'm even considering investing in a good (but still domestic) printer to take this experience to the next level.

Understanding Light is the main ingredient to begin producing photos you can be proud of, which is why Photzy have laid this more advanced book out. Learn about discovering the secrets to controlling, manipulating and ‘reading' light used by the professionals – you'll be amazed at the improvement to your photography!

2. Join A Local Photo Walk

Image by Kaique Rocha
Image by Kaique Rocha

Photo Walks are a liberating experience.

Getting together in a social event whose main purpose is photography is great, and doing it while practicing your art seems perfect to me. On photo walks, you get to experience walking the streets safely, with peers who will share with you, their vision and their goal for being there with a camera.

Many great tips have been given to me during these photo walks. I also try to help people when I feel I can – give and take creates a great bonding experience between photographers and your fellow peers!

Some photo walks conclude at a friendly meeting place where the participants share their shots and ask questions. The ambience at the end of a photo walk is a mix of pride and glory, mixed with a share of wise philosophy. You always feel as though you walk off with more than you came with!

I love photo walks that break down into little clans or groups. As photographers, we need our space – and sometimes it is huge. But it’s great to share terrain with people who understand and respect your own photographic philosophy.

So whenever you hear about a local photo walk, give it a try. You may like it, or not, but it’s definitely a photography experience worth trying.

3. Scout Out Local Photo Clubs & Join One!

Gathering with a group of photographers can boost your technical and cultural knowledge (not to mention confidence).

Photo clubs have the advantage of being formed by photographers with different skills and niche specializations.

Getting involved with a club can be truly worthwhile because of this. You can not only get access to other photographers’ workflow, but also decent valuable feedback that you’d have a hard time finding in online forums or similar groups.

4. Critiquing Work – Giving & Receiving Photographic Criticism


The way in which we showcase our photographs has evolved thanks to the modern dynamics of the internet and Social Media. Sometimes we post images expecting to get valuable feedback, and we just receive lazy comments that in most cases, circle around gear.

Social Meda Comments: They rarely go beyond “great shot” or something similar. Not exactly satisfying or genuine for you the photographer?

The great experience of critiquing goes both ways, giving and receiving. Getting structured and nurturing critique on hard-won work is extremely satisfying.

We need to have an open mind and consider applying the advice that other photographers can offer us in order to improve our skills. Giving valuable feedback and critiquing the work of other photographers is very satisfying too.

A great way to get involved with this form of commenting on images – beyond the (often) unhelpful feedback of social media – is through the disciplined platform of 1X.com. You should try it sometime.

It’s a great way to get better at photography, and they require you to write 3 well-structured critiques in order to post one image into the pool. It is slow, I know – but what's the rush? Growing in a discipline requires time and patience.

5. Teaching Others About Photography Can Be An Amazing Experience

Don't be selfish, hey. Try to encourage more people to get involved with photography. When somebody asks for advice, be a good sport and share your knowledge. Sharing is caring.

People with no formal knowledge, who are snapping away without much of an idea, might just want some direction or advice as to what they're doing right or wrong. If someone you know (or don't know) just wants some simple pointers, offer straight out and leave that invitation open.

You can bet no one had “a great photography experience” by just hoarding their special images and knowledge! True, isn't it?

6. Buying Photo Books

There's a time in a photographer's life when buying gear reaches a certain limit, and you start to invest in something less fragile and full of knowledge and passion.

To me, photo books are the summit for many photographers, and buying these pieces of work will bring you some magnificent photographic thrills. This is a total experience in itself.

From the smell of the paper to the tones of the printing and the images that you hardly ever see on the internet – photo books are the best place to seek inspiration (for me, there’s no doubt about this one).

7. Film – An Everlasting Photography Experience…

Image by Nathan Anderson
Image by Nathan Anderson

Film is the king of photographic magnificent experiences. You must try shooting with it!

I’ll divide this one into three parts because each has its own magic:

  • Shooting on film

You have 36 exposures before you need to change a roll of film. You need to think wisely before pressing the shutter button, you can't change your ISO, and to make things more interesting, you can't see the image after pressing the shutter button.

All these elements result in a completely different way of shooting – and believe me, this is the best exercise if you want to improve your good shots/shots taken ratio.

  • Developing film

To develop film you need to prepare your chemicals, get to the right temperature, follow instructions, and do some exercises with your hands. And don't forget that you need to get the film out of the can in complete darkness and twist the wheel of the development tank.

Pretty hard, huh? But totally worth it.

The most valuable experience will be when you pull your developed film, after the final rinse, off of the reel. Here’s when you see your images for the first time, in a long strip of 36 exposures. There’s nothing more beautiful than this.

It makes me smile every time (except when I've been sloppy and ruined everything…damn).

  • Making prints

If that wasn't enough, printing film is even more magical. I don't have as much experience here, but I've done it a couple of times with all the chemicals prepared. Trust me: seeing your image appearing in a positive form on a floating piece of paper is just unbelievable.


Well, I really do hope you enjoyed reading about the photography experiences I consider to be my ‘ultimate'. I feel that regularly, you need to take a step back and assess where you are in your photographic journey.

There's no end destination, but there are many distractions along the way in the form of gear, reviews, forums, recommendations, new concepts, old concepts rehashed – you get the idea.

So just take a step back and experience what photography means to you, not how a current trend is apparently taking the world by storm.

Understanding Light is the main ingredient to begin producing photos you can be proud of, which is why Photzy have laid this more advanced book out. Learn about discovering the secrets to controlling, manipulating and ‘reading' light used by the professionals – you'll be amazed at the improvement to your photography!

Further Resources

About Author

Federico has a decade of experience in documentary photography, and is a University Professor in photography and research methodology. He's a scientist studying the social uses of photography in contemporary culture who writes about photography and develops documentary projects. Other activities Federico is involved in photography are curation, critique, education, mentoring, outreach and reviews. Get to know him better here.

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