Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

12 Tips for your next photo walk

What is a photo walk?

A photo walk is a gathering of like-minded people, who share a hobby for photography at a chosen destination. A leader, typically leads the group in a chosen direction towards photographic opportunities.


My favorite photo walks have been organized by a 3rd party, such as Scott Kelby’s Annual Worldwide Walk or 500px Worldwide Walk, because during these events thousands of cities and people are participating in the same event, on the same day. It’s a great feeling to know that other people are just as passionate about one hobby, as much as I am. Sure, these photo walks typically have sponsored gear and prizes, but we all need all the motivation we can get, right?! I think I would go out of my way to get a shot over a prize, as opposed to just photographing for fun.

I have been a leader for Kelby Photo walk twice and 500px – once. It gives me great pleasure to organize photographers in my city of Daejeon, fifth largest in South Korea. Most people flock to Seoul or Busan, but in Dajeon, we’ve also got some interesting parks, markets, alleys, mountains, a river, a lake and more! I believe that any city or town can be a great host to a photo walk, but to make it a success, keep in mind some of these points:

Daejombie 5km Run by allaponomareva1.As a leader, you’re responsible for researching a known or an unknown location that would bring varieties of shots (street photography, landscape, portraits, pets, action, nature, just to name a few). A leader must know his town/city well in order to pick a captivating route, if no such routes are known – do your homework and find them. Explore your surroundings my friends!

2.A leader must pick a suitable date, which doesn’t interfere with any big events/holidays, unless, of course, you bring your photo walk to/through the event. (2 years ago, I lead a very successful photo walk, which involved us photographing a Zombie Run here in Daejeon).

3. Make sure you’re well connected and are able to spread the news of your photo walk in a variety of ways (social networking sites, meetup.com, posters, flyers, word of mouth, etc). The more people are aware, the more likely you’re to get a nice big group, which results in a lot more fun!

4. To make a photo walk a bit challenging, feel free to create a theme. This will give your walkers a chance to get creative and put their thinking heads on.

Kelby Photo walk 2015
Photo by Park Min Young

5. Keep posting about your event a month/a week/a day in advance. Most people are very busy and may need more than one reminder to pencil in your event in their planner.

6. Check the weather of the event and don’t forget to remind your walkers if they need an umbrella or some snow shoes.

7. The day of the event, come prepared to answer a lot of questions/comments on your devices, so charge up! Stay friendly and calm, if someone is late or can’t make it – ’tis life.

8. Don’t forget about introductions, this is your chance to meet and greet and make new photo buddies! No matter if you are a leader or a walker, socializing is one of the greatest benefits of photo walks.

9. Go with the flow of the group – if people want to separate, let them. If they want to stay together – don’t discourage it either. Your job is just to show the way, not act as their parent.

10. At some point, gather the group for an innovative group shot to keep the memories alive.

Kelby Photo walk 2014

11.After the walk, share your best images with the group and encourage others to do so too. Thank everyone for coming and keep those connections alive after the event.

12. Just enjoy yourself and have a splash!

500px photo walk 2016

Are you ready to host a photo walk? I know you are!

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12 tips for your next photo walk by www.allaponomareva.com

13 comments

  1. Hi Alla! Joining a photography walk is definitely on my list of to-do’s. I enjoy photography and have taken some casual classes before but I can’t find the time to fully commit to exploring my DSLR. I currently live in Daegu and if there were any walks hosted here, I’d be sure to join. Maybe through your network of photographers in Korea you happen to know if there are walks happening in my city? Might be a long shot but doesn’t hurt to ask!

    • Rocio, there’s a famous photo walk coming up this Saturday – Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. I’m not sure if anyone is hosting one in your city, but I know Busan has one for sure. Check it out! Next time, you can even sign up to lead one yourself.

  2. I can’t count how many times I did photowalk in South Korea alone, but ours is some kind of a group activity or bonding moment with friends because we are all photo hobbyist. We don’ have a leader though, we just set a date. location and bring our DSLR camera and just walk around. I didn’t know a photo walk must be so organized like this, but great tips, next time I will try to apply.

  3. I’m one of the admins (and leader) of a photowalk group called Flickr in Seoul. We organize walks twice a month and we go to different places in Seoul. We have a fairly mixed group (men and women, beginner and advanced photographers) and we always try to help each other so it’s a very friendly atmosphere. Our second addiction is coffee and we always combine our walks with going to one of the many coffee places in Seoul. If someone wants to join our walks or just wants to see what’s going on, head over to our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/210090659036166 It’s a closed group, but I can add you if you apply to join.

    That said, these are all great tips Alla. I reads this one earlier and I started to use some of these tips in our walks. Especially using a theme makes the walk so much better for everyone involved, because people are focused and start make better images. Encouraging participants to share their work afterwards isn’t a problem in my experience. Promoting that work on social media platforms is the biggest challenge. That’s the next step our group is trying to do and it is hard because there are so many.

    • I know about Flickr in Seoul group and have always wanted to join. 2 hr train/bus to go on a photowalk seems a little daunting for me, but I know someone who does it regularly from Daejeon. Perhaps you know him Emre, his name is Adam or AC Parsons on FB. Thansk for sharing.

  4. Photo walks sound like so much fun! I hope to invest in a good DSLR by next year (crossing fingers!) Knowing that these kind of activities exist makes me feel like I’ll be well-sorted when I need to learn tips of the trade. And that Zombie Run shot is fantastic! Seriously what luck!

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