Not every photo walk will yield even one good photo, let alone a great one. But some will produce the odd gem to be proud of. On one of my early photo walks I came home without a decent photo but with a realisation that I had become more observant, a invaluable skill in photography. It is well worth getting out and about as often as you can. These are my tips for a successful photo walk.
1. Be patient.
Patience has never been my strong point, but I realise that I am not going to get the perfect picture first time out (or even hundredth time out!) so I have to cultivate this valuable attribute. Some of my success will come from reading tips from photography writers, looking at how 'real' photographers create award winning pictures and perfecting camera techniques. But most of all it will come from getting out and about with my camera, being patient, and trusting that one day I'll take that picture that will give me a real sense of pride.
2. Watch for interesting subjects, but look past the obvious.
Beautiful landscapes make for acceptable photographs, but these views of the world can be seen by all who look around. The photographer has to see things differently, see things that others might not notice, fleeting moments that can only be captured as they happen. The photographer has to feel the 'story' behind the image which makes that image come alive.
3. Be prepared.
A great advantage of the camera phone is that it is always available, ready to capture that special moment. It's harder to have a chunky DSLR camera always on hand so I have had to make a point of taking the camera with me on as many occasions as possible, on the off chance that I will be presented with a good photo opportunity. And if that great opportunity does present itself, and I don't have my camera at the ready, the phone camera is better than no camera. It's all about grabbing that picture when you can!
4. Become more observant.
Now that I am serious about improving my photography skills I find myself becoming more observant, even without a camera in hand. I am beginning to think like a photographer and look at the world around me as holding countless opportunities for a great photo. While contemplating whether my first 'real' lens would be a zoom lens or a macro, I began to look up more often at what was going on above, and down at the movements on ground level, that had previously gone unnoticed. I am amazed at what I have been missing!
5. Go on your own.
This is a piece of advice borrowed from a photography writer but one with which I agree. For walking companions there is nothing worse than someone constantly stopping to take a photo, but equally, for a photographer there is nothing as frustrating as not being able to stop at will, take your time to get the right angle, to compose the best picture, to watch and wait until the conditions are as right as they can be.
I like the idea of capturing moments in time. There are lots of photographs of a man and his dog, but not this man and this dog in this place at this moment in time.