It’s official: I’m here to announce the dates for Scott Kelby’s 5th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ (the world’s largest Photo Walk, with walks in over 1,100 cities last year) and you’re invited to be a part of this free amazing global, social photography event.

Here’s a quick Q&A with all the details.

Q. When is the official Photo Walk day?
A. The official date is Saturday, October 13th, 2012.

Q. Wasn’t it two days last year?
A. Yup, and all it did was create a lot of confusion and many upset walkers who felt that the walk lost a lot of its “specialness” by being on two days, so we’re officially back to walking on just that one Saturday around the world.

Q. How did the October time-frame work out?
A. That part we got GREAT feedback on, so we’re keeping it in October. We also learned a lot from last year’s walk and this year we’re working hard to make sure we’re more organized, more timely, better at communicating with walkers and leaders, we’ve improved the official Worldwide Photo Walk site, and added lots of other tweaks to make the experience better for everyone this year (more on that in just a moment).

Q. What exactly is a Photo Walk?
A. Watch the short video clip above on and you’ll get the idea.

Q. Is there a fee to participate ?
A. Nope — it’s totally free.

Q. Do you have any cities signed up with Photo Walks yet?
A. Yup—lots of them all over the world!

Q. How did those cities gets walks already?
A. We always give the previous year’s Photo Walk leaders two-weeks advance notice to lead a walk again in the current year (after all—they’re seasoned leaders).

Q. How many cities participated last year and how many photographers did the Photo Walk that day?
A. We had:

  1. Nearly 30,000 photographers around the globe
  2. We had more than 1,100 walks in cities around the world
  3. More than 6 million photos were taken on walks during that one day

Q. How can I find out if there’s a walk in my area?
A. Go to the official Worldwide Photo Walk website and click on the “Find Walks” link at the top right, then type in the city, state, and/or country where you want to walk, and if there are any walks already organized, they’ll be listed on the right side (and you’ll see pins on the map in your area).

Q. How can I lead a Photo Walk?
A. You apply over at the official Worldwide Photo Walk website just click on the “Lead a Walk” button (or just click here). While you’re there, make sure you watch the brief video we made for you to explain what’s entailed in being a Photo Walk Leader.

Q. What does it take to become a Photo Walk Leader?
A. We’re looking for people who have experience leading groups, so if you’re the president of your local camera club, or a college teacher, or photography instructor, or you run a local camera store, or you’ve lead Photo Walks in your area before, etc., you’re likely to get accepted to be a leader. We ask for your qualifications on the leader application, and that’s the type of experience we’re looking for.

Q. What if my city already has a Photo Walk, but I want to lead a walk, too?
A. Most big cities can accommodate more than one walk, and so as soon as one starts to fill up, we add a 2nd  or even a third or fourth depending on the response and city size. Also, if the walks are held geographically far from each other but technically in the same major city, we usually add those, too. (For example, New York City could have walks in Central Park, SoHo, Chinatown, and Times Square, and probably a half dozen other locations)

Q. Is there a photo contest?
A. Absolutely! The best photo in each city (as chosen by your local walk leader), not only gets the ebook edition of my “Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers,” but their image is automatically entered into the GRAND PRIZE competition for thousands of dollars in prizes (from those I also choose 10-finalists, with great prizes and there’s a People’s Choice award winner as well). 

Q. Wasn’t the prize a printed-book in the past?
A. It was, but getting those books to actually arrive in the winner’s and leaders hands was in, many cases, about impossible. Since this is a worldwide event, we had to ship the books all over the world, to every country you can think of. For reasons we can’t begin to control, a LOT of books never got to the winners, (they got held up in customs for months, or lost or stolen along the way — once they leave our warehouse, the whole thing is literally out of our hands). We also had a number of books each year that were badly damaged during shipping, and between those lost, stolen, and damaged and we would spend literally months dealing with very upset walkers (We still hear from walkers to this day that never received their books — they’re upset and I don’t blame them), but with an eBook we can be sure they arrive all over the world in a timely manner, and in tact, and that everybody gets their book.

Q. Do I have to enter the prize competition?
A. Absolutely not. This is a totally separate part of the experience, and if you don’t want to enter your images, you absolutely don’t have to (it’s just to make the experience more fun, and if you don’t think joining the contest if un, you surely don’t have to upload a photo for the contest). You can go and shoot for the day, and never let anyone see your photos. Ever. They can be your private “secret” photos.

Q. Did you get any complaints about how the winners were chosen?
A.
 Are you kidding? Absolutely! People get pretty outraged if they think one of their images deserved to be the winner but wasn’t chosen by their leader or by me as a finalist. I have people send me angry emails because their leader picked what they (and their friends) think is the “wrong photo,” but hey—that’s the thing about art—its subjective. At the end, I pick one grand prize winner, and 10 finalists, and I catch some heat for that, too, but I’m OK with it. Surprisingly, I’ve never heard one single complaint about my picks from any of the winners. ;-)

Q. Is there a separate Contest For Photo Walk LEADERS?
A. We have that, too! We started it last year as a way to honor the work of our leaders (we’ll contact the leaders after the walk with how to enter an image in the Leader’s competition), and we’re doing it again this year.

Q. What do I get for being a Photo Walk LEADER?
A. You also get the ebook edition of my “Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers,” and you get to pick the best shot from your local Photo Walk group and award them with a free copy of the ebook as well. Plus, that person you chose is entered into the grand prize competition for a bunch of insane prizes (or they could wind up as one of my top-10 finalists, and still win lots of cool prizes). We also have a “People’s Choice Award” where you vote for the best shot, and a special competition just for Photo Walk leaders.

Q. Do we have cool t-shirts for walkers & leaders ?
A. You betcha! Each year, our friend Rob Jones from Towner Jones Photography, who came up with idea of selling t-shirts to raise money for (you guessed it), the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. 100% of the profits from the sale of these t-shirts will go to feeding and care for these great kids. Last year (with Rob’s gracious help and contributions) we raised over $10,000 (imagine how much $10,000 means to an orphanage in Africa). I’m so grateful that Rob wanted to help us again this year.

I’ll post a link to the online store later this week (we’re updating the store with more options and colors) where you can purchase your walker or leader shirt. This year, let’s buy enough shirts to donate $15,000 to Springs of Hope Kenya (we can do it!!!!)

Q. So are you leading a Local Walk again this year?
A.
 You betcha! The local walk I’m this year takes place in Paris, France. That’s right baby, Paris!!!! My birthday present from my wife this year was to take me back to Paris (When we were there earlier this year, I was taping three classes, two on travel photography and one with Jay Maisel) so now we’re going back to relax and enjoy this amazing city. As luck would have it, our travel dates coincide with the Photo Walk so I’m doing my walk there in Paris (and man am I am psyched!!!) Hope my Parisian friend, and top-notch photographer, Serge Ramelli will be joining me, but he probably wants to lead a walk himself).

Of course we’ll end my walk at a super-yummy French cafe where we can all hang out, grab some lunch, share photos and make new friends. Also, you don’t have to live in Paris to join me on this walk  — this is a great excuse to plan a vacation to Paris!

Q. What happens when a city fills up?
A. We have a waiting list for each sold out city, so if someone cancels, it automatically adds (and notifies) the next person on the list, so definitely get on the list.

Q. How many is full?
A. Photo Walks are limited to 50 photographers. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, you haven’t seen 50 photographers coming down the sidewalk at the same time, and later all converging at once on a restaurant or pub. It’s more like a scary bike gang (except without the bikes, or gang, or scariness).

Q. I want to know more about this PhotoWalk thing; what’s involved, how do I sign up, and all that stuff. Where do I go?
A. 
There’s a detailed FAQ on the Website (here’s the link), and once you’re signed up for a walk, we’ve made it much easier for your Walk Leader to keep you up-to-date with messages on your local Walk page.

Q. Where do I go for the latest PhotoWalk information?
A. This year we have an official Google+ Page everyone can follow (manned by our own RC Concepcion, but I’ll be popping in there as well). To stay on top of all of the latest news: follow this link: [kelbywalk.com] then click the “Add” button and now breaking Worldwide Photo Walk news will show up in your stream.

Of course you can follow the World Wide Photo Walk on Twitter (@KelbyWWPW) or on Facebook (Facebook.com/ScottKelbyPhotowalk), but That’s where all the latest updates from me, and from official PhotoWalk Project Manager RC Concepcion will be posted.

Q. So when can I sign up to be either a walker or a Walk Leader?
A. Right now! Here’s the link, and I hope you join us this year as we make worldwide photographic history!