Hi gang, and greetings from my hotel room in Denver. :)

Just a quick update on what’s been going on, because I know a lot of you have questions about cities, sign-ups, and stuff.

First off, things have been crazy on a scale we hadn’t anticipated. Our first problem arose when we learned that we had over 20 million inquiries on the PhotoWalk web site in the first 24-hours. We weren’t fully prepared for that flood of traffic, and neither was our hosting company, and we are struggling to keep the backend working properly, and we’re patching and fixing things as we go. The good news is:  we already have thousands of people signed up for walks, and new walks coming online daily and….

….well….just thanks so much for your patience through all these growing pains.

Last year, by the day of the actual Photo Walk itself, we had 236 active cities. We had more than that in our first day this time around (we have 316 active cities as a write this, and more than 340 walks already approved).

That brings us to the reason for this post: if you go to a city page that says “Page under Construction,” that means that we have approved that city’s leader request, and we’ve sent them an email with their user name and password. However, nothing further happens until that leader updates their city page with a description, starting and stopping times, the location on the map, their photo, the meet-up restaurant and all that stuff.

So, at this point, we’re not in control of when that city is available for sign-ups—the leader is. When the leader completes the info for their page and hits the submit button, that’s when that city “goes live” for sign-ups.

Also, there are some cities that have been approved for walks, but since their city hasn’t “gone live yet” other people have requested to lead a walk in that same city. I’m waiting a few days to see if the original leader gets their page up and running. If that city start to fill up fast, I’ll release the next leader request for that city.

Also, anytime a city fills up, we start looking for other people requesting to lead a walk in that city. If we have one; we release it (like I did yesterday with a 2nd walk in San Francisco). A number of cities have their first walks already full (like Washington DC, Portland, Guadalajara, Mexico, Baltimore, Detroit, New York, one of the Chicago walks, Philly, Ybor City, FL, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Portland-Washington Park, Stockholm, Sweden, and Austin, Texas).

A number are getting close to being full, like Vancouver, London, Laguna Beach, Brooklyn-Coney Island, Boston, Tarpon Springs, FL, Bangkok, Falls Church, VA, and a few more, so if you want to participate, make sure you snag your spot soon!

So that’s the late night update. Thanks to everyone who has been so patient through this. We are making progress every day, and we’ll be adding new features, bells and whistles once we get everything settled down.

-Scott

P.S. I’ll have some cool news about some new prizes, new sponsors, and other stuff on Thursday, so I’ll talk to you then. :)

pswakcty

Just a quick update on yesterday’s official launch:

  • After a few Web site hiccups in the morning, we got most of the kinks worked out and a number of walks were completely full by dinner time (I believe Terry White’s Detroit Photo Walk was the first one to fill up) so if you’re thinking of joining a walk; I wouldn’t wait.
  • I approved dozens more city leaders last night (including walks in China, Portugal, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Canada, France, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Germany, and a dozen or so other countries, including dozens of locations in the USA) but until those leaders activate their pages, you won’t be able to sign up for their walks.
  • We have a fast-growing list of cities, and you can find them by going to the official Website, then clicking on Cities, and when the map appears, click on the “List by City” link just above the top left side of the map.
  • If a walk in a particular city fills up, we’ll check to see if someone has applied to be a leader, and then we can see about adding a 2nd walk.
  • The NAPP Gang: RC is leading a walk in Dunedin, Florida. Brad Moore is going to be leading a walk in downtown Tampa. Matt Kloskowski and Dave are also leading walks, but I’m not sure where yet. Corey Barker is leading the walk in Safety Harbor, Florida.
  • Just a note: the folks this year have done a great job of sharing their qualifications for leading walks, and it’s making the process move along much faster, so thanks to everyone who took the extra time.
  • PhotoWalkPro.com has joined on as an official WWPW sponsor, and my thanks to our co-sponsor Adobe Systems for their support (we’re working on some cool stuff with them for the walk—–more as soon as it’s all in place), plus my thanks to MPIX.com, Peachpit Press (publisher of my books), and of course NAPP (but they really had no choice, eh?).

Also, a big thanks to everyone who has volunteered to lead to walks, and shown such enthusiasm for this worldwide social photography event. You guys make it an awful lot of fun!

….the man who came up with the whole Guest Blog idea himself, the one and only Vincent Versace.

That’s right—it was one year ago this week that Vinny convinced me to switch from “No Blog Wednesday” to “Special Guest Blog Wednesday” and I still haven’t stopped thanking him. It was a brilliant idea which has brought so many wonderful ideas, images, inspiration, and techniques to my readers, and I am truly indebted to them, and to Vincent for seeing the potential of what it could be.

It’s such an honor to have Vinny back here tomorrow as we celebrate the 1 year guest blog anniversary and there’s truly no more fitting person to feature on this day (by the way; I read Vinny’s post last night—you MUST come back tomorrow and give it a read. Amazing!).

wwpw

Today’s it’s official, as we announce the date for Scott Kelby’s 2nd Annual Worldwide PhotoWalk™ to celebrate the upcoming release of “The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3,” and you’re invited to be a part of this global, social photography event.

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

Q. When is the official PhotoWalk day?
A. It’s Saturday, July 18th.

Q. What exactly is a PhotoWalk?
A. Watch the short video clip on the home page over at the official Worldwide PhotoWalk Website (here’s the link).

Q. Is there a fee to participate this year?
A. Once again it’s 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 PhotoWalks yet?
A. We already have 183 cities around the world which have scheduled PhotoWalks.

Q. How did those cities gets walks already?
A. We gave last year’s PhotoWalk leaders the first opportunity to lead a walk this year.

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

  1. 8.324 photographers register for local walks
  2. 47 Countries had participating cities
  3. 44 States in the US had PhotoWalks
  4. We had a total of 236 cities worldwide
  5. More than 1,017,125 photos were taken on walks that day

Q. How can I lead a PhotoWalk?
A. You apply over at the official Worldwide PhotoWalk website: (worldwidephotowalk.com) and click on the “Lead Your Own PhotoWalk” link.

Q. Does everyone get accepted as a PhotoWalk 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 PhotoWalks in your area before, etc., you’re more 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.” That’s doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in you as a leader. So, in short, I read every application myself. If you convinced me you’d make a good leader, I approved you.

Q. What if my city already has a PhotoWalk, 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 city walk if we have a leader apply. Or, if the walks are held geographically far from each other but technically in the same major city, we usually add those, too. (Cities like Paris, New York, London, Tokyo all can have multiple walks and draw from totally different population groups)

Q. What do I get for being a PhotoWalk leader?
A. You get a free copy of my upcoming book, “The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3” as soon as it’s released, and you get to pick the best shot from your group and award them with a free copy as well. Plus, that person is entered into the grand prize competition.

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). Some people freaked out last year thinking they were required to enter, but just know—you absolutely don’t have to enter your image—you can go and shoot for the day, and never let anyone see your photos. Ever. They can be your private “secret” photos.

Q. So are you going to choose the Grand Prize winner from all the city winners?
A. You betcha!

Q. Did you get any complaints last year about how the winners were chosen?
A. Absolutely. People get pretty cranked if they think their image deserved to be the winner and wasn’t chosen, but after being one of the Guru Awards judges for 10 years, along with judging other competitions over the years, I’m kind of used to that response. Surprisingly, I didn’t get one single complaint about my picks from any of the winners.

Q. So are you going to try and work some angle so that Orphanage in Kenya gets something out of this?
A. Ahh, you know me too well. I had been trying to come up with a good tie-in, but luckily one of my readers, Rob from Towner Jones Photography, came up with a great idea—we’re going to create an official Worldwide PhotoWalk T-shirt, and 100% of the profits from the sale of any of these t-shirts will go to feeding the kids at the Springs of Hope, Kenya Orphanage. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m so grateful that Rob wanted to help in this way (I finally met Rob at my DC seminar—a really great guy!). As soon as we’ve finalized the design, we’ll put a link on the Web site.

Q. How come the people following you on Twitter got advance notice about the day, and early access to the Website?
A. That’s part of my deal with them. This is just the beginning.

Q. So are you leading a PhotoWalk again this year?
A. You betcha! I love PhotoWalks, and I’m planning mine for Ybor City (just outside Downtown Tampa, near where Dave Cross led his walk last year).

Q. What about Jeff Revell of PhotoWalkPro.com?
A. You know Jeff’s in, but I doubt he’ll lead two walks in the same day this time around. (That really kicked his butt). Also, I just saw where David duChemin is leading a walk in Vancouver, Canada. Sweet! Of course, Matt, Dave, and RC will be leading walks too (and if I can weasel Corey into one, he’ll have one as well). Moose Peterson will be up in Alaska and he might lead a walk up there (everybody loves PhotoWalks).

Q. What was the best thing that came out of last year’s walk?
A. I think it was the fact that so many photographers not only made new friends, but then went on to form their own photo walks during the year. This is totally a social event, and that’s why makes it so much fun. Most of the people on my walk had never done a Photo Walk before, but everybody had so much fun, they all wanted to do one again right away. Photo Walks are infectious, because when you get that many creative people together, who all have the love of photography in common, you can’t help but have a great time.

Q. What happens when a city fills up?
A. It’s full.

Q. How many is full?
A. PhotoWalks 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. Hey Scott, this isn’t exactly PhotoWalk related, but you’re in Denver tomorrow for your Lightroom seminar on Wednesday—are you looking for a great place to shoot tomorrow at sunset around the Denver area?
A. Wow, you read my mind (and you snuck this in my Photowalk Q&A. Pretty clever). Yeah, if you know of a great place to shoot, let me know or I’ll just stay holed up in my hotel room with a big bag of chips. I mean, with “rice cakes and bottled water.”

myonmywalk

Q. Hey is that you on your walk from last year?
A. Yup, that was taken right when we headed out (photo by RC). It was raining at first, but right at 10:00 am, when my walk was scheduled to start, the rain stopped and we didn’t get a drop again until we were in the restaurant having ricecakes and bottled water.

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), but we’re still tweaking the site a bit (adding new features and a master list of all the cities), but we’re lightyears ahead of where we were last year at this same time, and I’m pretty psyched to have more than 180 cities on announce day. I hope we have a lot more to come, and I hope you’ll be a part of it this year, too!

twitterhd

….if you’re looking for tweets from me like, “I just dropped my son off at soccer practice” or “Listening to “Precious” by Depeche Mode while retouching pictures.” (Sorry RC—I couldn’t help myself).

I want to use my Twitter account for something different.

  1. Sometimes I have something I want to share, but it’s a day or two before I can blog about it (for example, one day Larry Becker called me to let me know about a site that was selling 8GB San Disk Extreme memory cards for $89, but they were offering an $89 mail-in rebate. Basically, they were free! We bought a bunch). I was dying to tell everyone, but by the time I could blog it the next day—they were gone.
  2. Sometimes I need input on an idea and I need it really quickly.
  3. Sometimes I need your opinion on a training class I’m thinking of doing, or something I want to add to a seminar or workshop, or something I’m thinking of adding to Photoshop World, and I need a direct connection for feedback.
  4. Sometimes I need to get the word out about something and I need your help spreading the word.
  5. Sometimes I want to find out how you feel about a particular topic I’m thinking about blogging about, or writing an article about it. Sometimes I want to gauge the general feeling about a controversial topic I might be tackling, and want to hear what you think before I make it public.

But for this to work, it has to be a two-way street, right? So, for your help and input, here’s my end of the deal:

  1. I’ll give you advance notice on all sorts of things I’m working on, including new seminars or online classes I’m developing; when books are hitting stores, or which books I’m working on, or when we’re considering a city for a seminar, or anything cool coming down the road.
  2. I’ll give you the inside early notice on anything where I wouldn’t be violating an embargo or an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).
  3. I’ll keep an eye out for cool deals, great photography, special deals, or anything else that I think you’d want to check out, and I’ll share those with you.
  4. You’ll learn things on Twitter before it goes live on my blog, and I’ll discuss things that aren’t necessarily right for the blog.
  5. I’ll respect your time and won’t abuse this pipeline between us. My tweets will be short and sweet, and to the point.

I also won’t be tweeting every day, or on any regular schedule at all. When I’ve got something to share, or need your input, that’s when you’ll hear from me, so I won’t become a high-maintenance twitter nuisance.

One more thing: I won’t be able to answer Photoshop questions, or photography gear questions, or stuff like that on Twitter (so, I’m not starting a help desk, Q&A line, or anything like that), but I will do my best to make sure if you do follow me, I’ll make it worth your while.

Now you know the scoop, and if that all sounds like something you’d be in to, I invite you to follow me by clicking here.

Hey, by the way; at lunch today, I had a really great whole grain bread (just kidding—-that was a “Stunt Tweet,” just to see if you were really paying attention). ;-)

During this past week, while finishing up my Volume 3 of “The Digital Photography Book,” I was able to finally go through the entire list of your suggestions for topics to include in the book (nearly 300) and not surprisingly, I found even more great ideas.

Well, ya know that means—-some more of you are going to get a free signed copy of my book, because your idea wound up getting covered in the new book. Here’s the names of the other readers who’ll be getting a free signed copy:

  • Alex Kess
  • Mark Celvin
  • Daniel Laflor
  • Rosario Mannino
  • Dwight Atterhol
  • MivillePhoto
  • Jeff Grandon
  • Lee Johansen
  • Mark Roberg

Thanks you guys—-you really made a difference, and the book is better because of your suggestions.

One interesting thing about this exercise: I was surprised at how many people listed that they wanted me to cover Photoshop or Elements or Lightroom workflow stuff in the book. Here’s the thing: I actually already have written books that do exactly that (here’s the Photoshop one, the Elements one, and the Lightroom one).

My “Digital Photography Book” series is really about the photography itself—about taking better photos—about how to use your camera—how to work with studio lighting, and off camera flash—stuff like that; not the post-processing that happens after the fact, so Photoshop or Lightroom editing workflows really aren’t appropriate and haven’t been covered in Vols. 1, Vol. 2, or in the upoming Vol. 3. But hey, at least I know books on post-processing workflow still have an eager audience.

One more thing: I’m expecting our in-house shipment of my new Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Book any day now, and as soon as they arrive, I’ll be signing and sending out copies to those folks who helped me out with ideas for that book.

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