Let’s face it, unless you own a photo studio your subjects won’t just walk off the street, set themselves in front of your camera, and wait for you to press the shutter. Finding interesting shots can be difficult but they are all around you, you just need to train yourself to see them. When you walk, bike, run, or drive down the road you are looking at the world differently.
When we walk places we typically look in front of our feet to make sure we don’t step on an innocent frog or a vicious snake. When we bike down the road we are typically looking ahead to make sure some jack bag doesn’t pull his car in front of us or run us over. When we run we usually look up to the sky and pray that God doesn’t let our lungs explode out of our chest and kill us. And, finally, when we drive places we tend to mind our surrounding making sure we don’t run over little children or helpless squirrels. The point is, we need to train our brain to be constantly on the look out for interesting photographs. The only safe time to really do this is when we are walking around, otherwise we run the risk of running, biking, or driving into something.
Photo Walk – How To
Generally when we set out with our camera we have an idea of what we would like to capture, like a hunter stalking game. When you go on a photo walk try to clear your mind of what you think you may find or what you are purposely looking for. Chances are you’ve probably inadvertently done this before, typically when traveling to new places. Have you ever noticed that you spend more time photographing when on vacation and you feel like you capture much more interesting shots? This is because everything is new to you and you typically slow down and really look around as you walk around, that’s what I’m talking about. Sure, you can set out on a photo walk with a subject in mind but you may pass up some really great shots because you’re tunnel visioned on what you are looking for.
A great way to start a photo walk is to drive into a town, it could be your town or the town down the road, and park your car on the edge of town. Walk down one side of main street looking down alleys and side roads for good shots, then (at the other end of town) walk down one of the alleys and back up along main street behind all the buildings. Be safe about this, don’t go down seedy alleys at night if you feel you could be attacked. Once you get back up to where you parked, cross the street and repeat on the other side of main street. Some of the most interesting shots you find will probably be in the alleys and behind the buildings. Both shots on this page were taken in an alley (red wall) or behind a building (barn doors).
I would be willing to bet a significant sum that there are hundreds if not thousands of interesting shots right in your home town that you have not discovered. You see, we subconsciously see interesting shots all the time but a majority of the time we just think “oh, this is a pleasant looking area” and keep on walking. We usually don’t slow down and ask ourselves what it is about the area that we find appealing. In order for you to capture an interesting shot you need to ask yourself that exact question, then you need to find a way to direct the viewers eye to that part of the scene that you find most appealing.
Look for things like reflections in puddles, store windows, and car windshields. Repeating patters are always interesting, like a shot of Main St. with all the parking meters leading the viewers eye down the road towards a court house or church. Use leading lines to take the viewer right to the most interesting area of what you are framing in your camera. Think about it this way, when you are photographing a scene where you want to show someone something interesting, you want to use some sort of leading line or framing to kind of hold the viewers hand and walk them right up to the subject of interest. Don’t bury interesting things in busy photographs with no emphasis on what it is you’re trying to capture.
Do you have interesting photographs from a photo walk you did? Want to share them with the rest of the world? If you’d like to share your photographs with us hit the link under Articles called Submit an Article. You can always submit an image to the Photo Contest as well by clicking on the Photo Contest link. Enjoy!