How to decide what to take on a photo-walk

• Evening Walk By The Lock •

• Evening Walk By The Lock •
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A trip out is a key part of your photography.

The photo-walk is a common photographic activity. Many amateurs take the photo-walk as the main way to enjoy their hobby. So how do you decide what to take with you each time?

The purpose?

The main problem with photography equipment is the weight. If you pack everything you will probably not use most of it and you will break your back carrying it around. The art of photography is not about equipment. It is about what you make of your shot.

Every shoot is a way to achieve something. Of course you may be going on a stroll for the fun of it – no photographic aim. Nothing wrong with that. But if you want to choose some equipment to take with you it helps to have a purpose. Then you can choose suitable equipment for the purpose.

So, if your photo-walk does not have a specific aim then create one. If you are, for example, going for a walk with the family, then decide what you think will be fun. Take a camera body and a wide angle lens perhaps? Make the aim to capture people in wide scope. Or, maybe, fix your zoom with a piece of tape so you cannot change the focal length. Then you can walk around to get the shot rather than zooming.

There are many things you can do to set yourself a task. The idea is to create one thing you can concentrate on photographically during your walk. Work with the equipment you have taken even though you may encounter lots of different things to photograph. Your decision to work with pre-defined and specific equipment will present you with new creative photographic challenges. Set a purpose and develop your photographic skills.

Purpose determines direction

When you have a specific aim in mind for a photo-shoot the situation is already specific. You have a purpose to choose your equipment around. The best way to move forward is to plan what you want to do at the shoot location. Your choice of equipment should be closely aligned to what you expect to achieve.

I find advance planning makes the difference. Even if you have not been to the location you should be able to find out about it. Do a Google search and check out the situation. Also do a Google image search for the location so you can get ideas from shots other people have taken. The idea is to narrow down what you want to get from the location. If you think you need one specific type of lens then take only that. For flexibility I try to take a maximum of two lenses to a shoot. One to tackle the main shoot. One to expand my options if that is possible.

Lenses are the core of your equipment and tend to be weighty. Limit them to keep the weight down. Flash units, light modifiers, batteries, memory cards, cloths, light meters… there may be other equipment you want to take. If your planning is good you can cut that list. The type of shots you want to take will determine your lenses. The weather and time of day will help you figure out most of the other things you need. It is all about understanding what you are going to encounter. Then, be ruthless. Pack the equipment you need to meet your plan and nothing else.

The point is…

…have a purpose. Make sure every time you go out to do some photography you have a purpose in mind and plan to achieve it. That way you will be able to plan to get the most out of the situation.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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