Ask anyone who has volunteered to lead a Photo Walk as part of my Worldwide Photo Walk and they’ll tell you it’s a lot of time and hard work. It’s also very rewarding in a lot of ways (not to mention the book they receive for leading a walk, but let me tell you—no one goes through all that trouble for just a free book). They do it because they want to do something special for the photographers in their community.
The downside of being a leader
Of course, besides the hard work, the downside is that the leaders don’t get to compete to win any prizes (they already get the local prize their walkers are competing for), and that’s why this year we thought it would be fun to add a special competition just for Photo Walk leaders.
Now, they get to submit one of their images taken during their Photo Walk, and compete against other leaders from around the world. I’ll pick a winner from all the Photo Walk leaders and they will snag a really cool prize package (we’re still putting it together, but it’ll be some really cool stuff).
I’ll have more details (and a list of prizes soon), but I wanted to let the leaders know now that there’s a special competition just for them.
We are off to a booming start this year, with nearly 700 walks already planned around the world, and more than 10,000 photographers walkers. If you haven’t joined a walk in your area (it’s free!), here’s the link to search for a nearby city. Ask anyone who has walked in a Photo Walk, it’s just a blast (but you’ll never know until you do one yourself).
I hope you’ll join us for this history-making photographic event! :)
(Above: Last year’s group from the Geelong-Waterfront, Australia Photo Walk)
I’m getting these questions a lot, so to add extra drama I added the adjective “Burning” so you might actually read it. I learned this technique from Fox television. ;-) Here we go:
(Above: Last year’s group from the Columbia, South Carolina, USA Photo Walk)
(1) Why isn’t there a walk in my city?
It’s because there isn’t a walk in your city. Yet. We’re approving a bunch of walks today, so if you didn’t see it yesterday it’s either that we haven’t approved one yet, or maybe it’s that nobody has applied to lead a walk there yet (or perhaps the leader that led one there last year, didn’t reactivate their walk quite yet. Just check back in a day or so and there will likely be a walk in your city you can join—unless your city is really, really small).
(Above: Last year’s group from the Melaka, Malaysia Photo Walk)
(2) So….what exactly are the rules about what I can submit to the contest?
We’ve had a ton of questions each year about this. Most recently, we’ve had lots of questions about model shoots during the walk. Here’s how I feel about it: you can shoot models as long as it happens on the walk route, during the official 2-hour (approx.) walk time chosen by your walk leader. Also, you can use Adobe Photoshop to your hearts content, as long as everything in your photo was taken during the official walk hours along on the walk route. You can’t go back at sunset and shoot it in better light, and so on. Also, you can’t add a better sky that you shot in that same location on some other day. Basically, whatever you submit, it has to be taken during the official walk you participated in. You can shoot panos, HDR, B&Ws, you can create collages, you can process them with Instagram on your iPhone—I don’t care—it just has to be all shot during your 2-hour walk. If you don’t agree with the rules, no sweat whatsoever—just don’t enter the competition portion of the walk.
(Above: Last year’s group from the Juarez, Mexico Photo Walk)
(3) How many prizes categories are there this year?
This year, we have more than ever. I pick 10 finalists from the winners chosen by the walk leaders around the world, and one Grand Prize winner. Great prizes for all those folks (even the finalists win a full copy of Lightroom 3, among other cool stuff). Then we have a “People’s Choice” award which we choose a few days later, and we’re working on the prizes they get now, but it’ll be some cool stuff, too. Lastly, this year I’m adding 30 new “Honorable Mention” prizes for specific categories I create after seeing the shots that win the local walks (if you look at my list from last year, this will totally make sense. Here’s that link). Last year, those images got mentioned, but they didn’t get a prize. This year, I’m working on a prize for each Honorable Mention (thanks to ideas shared by people who follow me on Twitter).
(Above: Last year’s group from the Los Angeles Little Tokyo Photo Walk)
(4) Can I attend one walk Saturday and a different walk Sunday?
Well, technically you could, but the idea behind having a second day is not so the same people can fill up both walks—it’s to let people who couldn’t walk Saturday have an opportunity to walk on Sunday. If you sign up for both days, chances are you’ll be denying someone the opportunity to walk. That being said, if it’s a week before the walk, and there are plenty of open slots for a Sunday walk (like 20 or so openings), then it’s perfectly OK to go ahead and join a 2nd walk, because you’re probably not stealing anybody’s spot at that point. Just be a good egg and don’t sign up too early for a 2nd walk, so other people have a chance to participate. You’re on the honor system for this one, and I trust you to do the right thing.
(Above: Last year’s group from the Mendoza, Argentina Photo Walk)
(5) I don’t get it. Is just walking around in a group taking photos really that much fun?
Absolutely. If you haven’t done one, it’s really hard to explain, but it’s actually a blast because this is such a social experience. There’s a lot of laughing, sharing, smiling, eating, networking, and making new friends with people who share your same passion for photography. These events bring out the nicest people, and there’s a very “we’re all in this together’ feeling that runs through the entire event, and everybody helps everybody out along the way. Lots of talk about camera bags, and lenses, and straps, and stuff like that. And even though there’s a photo competition aspect of the walk, you’d never know it during the walk. People are there to have fun first, and if you participate in a walk, I promise you—-you’ll be surprised at how much fun it actually is—but you’ll never know unless you sign up for your local walk.
(Above: Last year’s group from the Cape Town, South Africa Photo Walk)
So that’s it. There will be more questions (of course), but they won’t be burning questions (perhaps sizzling questions?), but we’ll cover those on the official Facebook and Twitter pages for the walk. Brad Moore is the coordinator for the walk this year, and he’s dedicated to making this year’s walk our best, smoothest one yet, and he monitors the official site and social media pages, so if you get stuck, drop us a line there. And be patient. 1,000+ cities around the world, and tens of thousands of walkers is a lot to deal with (running Photo Walks isn’t our only job).
Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to lead a walk, and to everyone who has joined one. I can’t wait! :-)
It’s official: I’m here to announce the dates for Scott Kelby’s 4th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™ to celebrate the upcoming release of my book, “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” and you’re invited to be a part of this amazing global, social photography event.
Here’s a quick Q&A with all the details.
Q. When is the official Photo Walk™ day? A.This year leaders can choose to host their walk on either Saturday OR Sunday, October 1st and 2nd.
Q. Why two days? A.We got tons of feedback from people who, for work, religious, or other reasons couldn’t participate in any walk on a Saturday, so we added the ability for leaders to host a walk on either Saturday or Sunday to give more photographers a chance to participate.
Q. But I don’t like this change! A. I know. I know. There will be a few people who will be totally cranked that we added a day, but we did it based on feedback from people around the world, so it wasn’t just an arbitrary decision (nothing regarding this walk is, believe me). Besides, there are bigger issues in the world today than adding a day to the Photo Walk, so it’s OK if those folks just kinda let this one go.
Q. Why October? I loved sweating in the sweltering summer sun! A. Again, we did it based on your feedback (well, maybe not your feedback, but feedback from lots of walkers who were drenched and exhausted at the end of their walk). We thought either spring or fall work work best, so we went with fall. If it doesn’t work out, we can always try Spring next year.
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 this year? A. Once again it’s totally free—there is no fee to join this year’s walk—just come and have a ball!
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 the first opportunity to lead a walk again this 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:
More than 30,000 photographers around the globe
We had more than 1,000 walks worldwide
More than 6,000,000 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 and click on the “Lead a Walk” button (or just click here). While you’re there, make sure you watch the brief video I 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.
Last year, we had some people put, “Well, nobody else signed up from our city, so I guess I’ll do it.” I gotta tell ya—that doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in you as a leader. So, in short, we carefully read every Leader application and if you convinced us you’d make a good leader (and there are no other walks already planned in your city), then we approve you to lead a walk.
Q. What if my city already has a Photo Walk, but I want to lead a walk, too? A. Some big cities can accommodate more than one walk, and so as soon as one starts to fill up, we add a 2nd walk if we have a leader apply and 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. What do I get for being a Photo Walk leader? A.You get a free copy of my upcoming book, “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it.” Plus, you get to pick the best shot from your local Photo Walk group and award them with a free copy of the book as well. Plus, that person 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). I’m even trying to come up with some prizes for my “special category” honorable mentions which I post a few days after the winner is chosen.
Q. Isn’t it crazy-expensive to give all those printed books to leaders and local walk winners all around the world? A. It’s insanely expensive (you have no idea), which is why we couldn’t do this without the help, support, sponsorship, and hard work of my book Publisher, Peachpit Press, and my publisher Nancy Reunzel (and the whole Peachpit team). They are making this all possible, so please show them some big love by checking out their book site, following them on Twitter, and checking out other Peachpit titles (they publish Joe McNally’s books for example, and Moose Peterson’s, and David Zisers, and mine, plus all the cool new Photoshop and Lightroom books, and all the best books on everything we care about as photographers). In short; they rock!
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). 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. 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. Are you going to have cool t-shirts for walkers and leaders this year? A.You betcha! Each year, our friend Rob Jones from Towner Jones Photography, who came up with idea last year 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 we raised over $7,000. This year, let’s make it $10,000!!!! I’m so grateful that Rob wanted to help us again this year. We’ll have a link to the online store where you can purchase your shirt later this week.
Q. So are you leading a Photo Walk again this year? A.You betcha! My walk this year takes place in Downtown Tampa, Florida near the University of Tampa. It’s a ideal place for a Photo Walk, with really great opportunities to shoot architecture and people, plus we have the river nearby, and of course we’ll end at a super-yummy restaurant where we can all hang out, grab some lunch, and look at each other’s images (I can’t wait to see how many people bring iPads and pass them around. I’m bringing mine!).
Q. What happens when a city fills up? A. It’s full. But this year, we do have waiting lists, so if someone cancels, it automatically adds (and notifies) the next person on the waiting 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. You can follow the official World Wide Photo Walk on Twitter (@KelbyWWPW) or on Facebook (Facebook.com/ScottKelbyPhotowalk). That’s where all the latest updates from me, and from official PhotoWalk Coordinator Brad Moore (and friends) 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!
First, I just wanted to thank everyone who posted a comment and shared your thoughts on tweaking the timing and days for my upcoming Worldwide Photo Walk. Your response was overwhelmingly Yes to moving the day to a more temperate time of year, and to expanding it to Saturday or Sunday, which will give more people a chance to participate (that’s a photo of my walk last year, held in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Photo by “Fuji” Ramos).
So, although this is not the official announcement, I’m looking at Saturday, October 1st, and Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 as the walk dates for this year. I have to make sure these dates don’t coincide or overlap with anything that would make them a bad choice, so for now if you could just pencil it in on your calendar, and I’ll firm it up once we do a little more checking.
Again, thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts. Each year I learn a lot from hosting the walk, and every year I try to make it better than the one before. We made some great strides in this past walk, but of course, I stumbled in a few areas as well, which gives me a list of things to work on and improve for this coming year’s Photo Walk, but I couldn’t do any of it with you guys, so thanks so much for your support, ideas, and enthusiasm for the event. More to come soon! :)
Hi Gang: I was hoping to get your input on two ideas that people who have participated on my previous three Photo Walks have put out there, and I think they’re really worth considering. Here they are:
(1) Making it a “Photo Walk” Weekend
The idea here is that the Photo Walk leaders could choose to hold their local Photo Walk on either Saturday or Sunday, rather than just Saturday. That would let a lot more people participate in walks.
(2) Changing the Time of Year
When I initially choose the date for the first Photo Walk, I chose it to coincide with the release of my first Lightroom book (which the walk leaders and winners of local walks would receive), which put the walk in the middle of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. But obviously, now we could change it to either Spring or Fall, when there’s a much better chance for better, more temperate weather. Because of other commitments here at Kelby Media Group, this would mean holding it in the Fall this year, which would move the date back by at least two to two-and-a-half months (likely around the first weekend in October).
I’m actually open to both of these ideas, but I’d love to get your feedback, as we’re trying to plan way ahead. Let me know what you think—I’d really love to get your take on all this.