Why your next photo should come from a photo walk

There are often some parameters set when accepting this challenge. Obviously for my macro class the intent is to use a macro lens and find details to record. Sometimes it’s just to challenge yourself to using a new or forgotten lens. Today I took my camera on my daily dog walk and took along my 85mm f/1.8 lens. It’s a lovely lens and one I don’t use often enough, so my challenge was to use it along the way.

There often is no real goal with a photo walk, other than to shoot intentionally. If you do a solo walk, you can take the time to explore, slow down, focus on composition or colors. My daily walks go through a series of parks, so if I am doing an “at home” walk I typically am looking for nature images. If you live in a more urban area, though, photo walks are just as valuable, you just will look for different types of subjects.

Another option is to shoot like a film shooter, and count out a specific number of frames for your walk: 12/24/36. In this way, you make each frame count by not overshooting, allowing you to be deliberate with when to press the shutter button.

If you have never gone on a photo walk, you might ask, “what should I shoot?” Some of this will depend on your walk location; in a park or rural setting you will likely be photographing nature, whether flora or fauna or a combination of both. In an urban setting, you might search for interesting doorways or window reflections. Street photographers often look for interesting human subjects, frequently stopping to speak to them to ask permission or to listen to their stories.

You should look for interesting light, shadow play or pockets of bright light mixed into deep shade. This high contrast light can work for you as a natural spot light on your subject, causing the background to fall away due to the inverse square law. The goal of course, is to be aware of your surroundings, observe, look in the tucked away spots.

One thing I personally love to look for are plants that cascade over paths. I use the rule of thirds, and place my focal point over the flower of the plant on one third, and let the path take up a larger two thirds of my image. This allows for a sense of place and allows the viewer’s eye to wander through the image. It also typically has a feeling of negative space and drawer the viewer right to the subject. I shoot this way with my aperture as wide open as possible to isolate the subject.

If you are lucky enough to have a four legged friend along with you, it is always okay to ask them to pose for you. In the same way, if you are walking with your small children, let them find trinkets or treasures and shoot those in their hands as well.

Where ever your walk takes you, look for interesting colors or patterns. Street art is another great subject, and can tell a lot about your location.

But most of all, be safe and have fun, and know that while not every image you take will be a keeper, if you are mindful and present, you should have no trouble finding a new subject at every turn.

And also remember that your walk doesn’t end until you get back inside your house, so if you want to linger around your yard or driveway, looking for extra friends or reflections, those still count for your photo walk.


Follow along with my Project 52 in 2023

2 responses to “Why your next photo should come from a photo walk”

  1. Lencrest Photos Avatar

    I love Macro but dont do it enough, but this makes me want to get at it again…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Molly C. Avatar

      Oh, thank you! These were mostly with an 85mm lens, but next time I’ll take a macro lens.

      Liked by 1 person

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