Five Burning Questions About My Worldwide Photo Walk

(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! :-)

  1. I am look to having a dueling Photowalk with a ‘competitive colleague’. He will have the sunrise on the coast of Florida and I will have the sunset further west about 30 miles away the following day. We hope the friendly competition could spark some added interest of enthusists in this relativle small community. Can’t wait! Game on!!

  2. My dear Scott, Hi

    2 Questions :

    – Is there any chance for Leaders to submit their photos for Grand Prize?
    if it is not, Maybe you can add a special competition just for Leaders :).

    – When should the walkers send their Final Photos to the leader for Judgement? I mean
    the next day, 2 days later or next week ….

    Best Wishes

      1. That is a GREAT idea! :D I have walked this incredible event for the last 2 years, this will be my 3rd year, and I was considering signing up to lead a walk this year, but really enjoy being apart of the walk, taking pictures, and entering the contest, so I decided to join a walk instead; now, next year, I just may lead a walk if there is a seperate competition for just the walk leaders. What an awesome idea! ;D

      2. My question is why aren’t the leaders considered the same as every other photographer that wants to join in a photo walk? I’m now hesistant to apply for leading a group in the Spokane, WA area because I wanna be in on everything….

  3. Scott, even if someone wanted to join a Walk on both Saturday and Sunday, I don’t believe the Photowalk site will allow it. If you’ve already joined a walk and decide you want to do another on a separate day, the site will ask if you wish to replace the first one you’ve signed up for with the second. Don’t think it will allow you to do both. I tried! :-)

    1. Hi Carl – This is a change from the way we did it in previous years. Our web team is working to change the way the system works so that walkers can sign up for more than one walk. They’re working as quickly as they can to make this and other updates/changes to the site :)

      1. Hi Brad,
        I registered for a walk in New York yesterday ,apparently there was more than 30 spaces left, but I have not received any e-mail confirmation. Am I signed up for it?

      2. Thanks, Brad. I’m located in the Washington, DC Metro area and between Baltimore, DC, and Northern Virginia, there are something like 8 or 9 walks spread over the two day period. If there is room, I’d like to participate both days. Currently scheduled for the Georgetown walk. Can’t wait!

  4. It IS fun! I have walked in Tempe, Scottsdale, and Asheville the past 3 years. I will be on the road this year and am hoping against hope I am somewhere near one on “the day(s).” South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado – I’m looking at you! :) If I don’t find a Walk, I guarantee I will take photos those days anyway. Good luck everyone, but more than that, have fun! Thank you Scott. I will do these every year until I can no longer walk.

  5. I see there is a photo of a group in Cape Town, South Africa, but no info on the photowalk site. .Will they do the walk again this year and if so, how can i get hold of the leader to join?

  6. I’ve participated in three walks in two different cities. No matter where you go, no matter what the conditions happen to be that day, you find shots that you never would have imagined except on this kind of walk. Can’t wait for this year’s walk and I’m delighted that it’s in October instead of July — I suspect it will be even more fun because I won’t have to worry about the heat!

  7. Is it October yet?? :) Waiting for a few more walks to open up in Massachusetts before I sign up. Hopefully there will be a few on the waterfront.


  8. Hey Scott,

    I’ve got a few questions about lenses.

    First, which Nikon lenses do you recommend for landscape photography with a DX camera?

    Secondly, what is a good focal length for a dedicated macro lens. 40, 60, 85, or 105mm?

    Lastly, you mentioned in your Digital Photography Book 3 that you bring along a medium range zoom for panos. What is a medium range zoom’s focal length?

    Thanks for dealing with my “noviceness” and take care!

  9. Scott, how about creating a welcoming video from you for all the walk leaders to download and share with the WWPW’s on the day of their event? I told folks in Los Gatos, CA that you would be there any minute to personally great them and they got a big laugh out of that. A “Walk Talk” would be a nice touch and a great way to kick off this years’ event.


  10. Not to rain on the parade, but given the reason for having two days, I figured you might want to know that October 2nd is the Jewish Fast of Gedaliah this year. It’s not a major holiday or anything, and I don’t think that there are any rules restricting what can and can’t be done on that day, but it may be an issue since Jewish fasts forbid all food and drink. Just thought you should know.

    Can anyone tell us if this is a problem?

  11. Thanks Scott for the opportunity
    Would like to support Ali’s mention of Leaders being able to participate in the grand prize , I suppose thats a matter of a team set aside to moderate the leaders entries , but that would be great as all put in such a lot of work.

    I’m just hoping someone decides to run another walk in Sydney , my one has 3 vacancies so will be pretty much full today come on October

  12. I’ve led two walks and participated in one, and leading is a heckuva lot of fun, but can be intense… I’ll be out of town on a working vacation, and am considering doing a walk there at an unusual location. Are there restrictions on where walks can be held? Does it need to be a publicly accessible location?

  13. Why do we have to do the SAME WALK every year? The approved leader of the walk in Topeka will not entertain a change of location and you guys won’t approve a second walk because the first one isn’t filling up. It’s not filling up because we’re TIRED of shooting downtown. This is a serious flaw in your system.

  14. As a previous walk leader, my walk was approved instantly this year. The walk I posted is at a different location, and I suppose it was approved right away because I was the first one to post a walk for my city. Now here’s my problem, my walk is full (filled up in less than 48 hours after posting actually) and I have 36 on the waiting list. A co-club member has applied for a parallel walk as per Walk Leader FAQ but the walk has not been approved as of yet. How soon can we expect approvals in the system?

  15. I’ve applied to lead a walk in Zacatecas, MX more than 11 days ago and still no answer if the walk was approved… how long should I wait? Thanks!

  16. Is it possible to be put on a waiting list for a 2nd walk and if it doesn’t fill up be moved up to a spot? There are so many that I would love to do and the opportunity only comes once a year!!

  17. This may be off topic a bit, but I could use some advice from all the experienced walkers out there. I’m looking for a comfortable bag (shoulder, backpack, whatever) that can hold a 70-200 lens and two speedlights…and a wallet, some keys, an iPad, a sandwich and a drink, Scott Kelby’s latest book. Okay, just kidding on that last part (sort of).
    Any suggestions would be very helpful!

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