How to Take a Mindful Photo Walk
Do you know what a photo walk is? It’s just what it sounds like—an excursion where photographers take pictures of their surroundings. It can be organized as a social outing with a group visiting specific destinations or it can be a solo venture with a more open-ended itinerary. Photo walks can help you engage with your surroundings and explore how you see the world. Since mindfulness is about slowing down and enjoying the present moment, we recommend incorporating it into your photo walk. We’ve gathered our favorite mindfulness tips to help you unleash your creativity and explore new possibilities on your excursion. And don’t worry too much about your gear. While using a nice digital camera is great, it’s not necessary. You can get some pretty amazing photos with a smartphone!
What You’ll Need:
A camera – Use any camera you are most comfortable taking pictures with, whether it’s a DSLR or a phone camera.
A small bag – Don’t weigh yourself down with gear, just take the essentials. If you’re using a DSLR, only take one lens.
A water bottle and a snack – You don’t want to cut your walk short due to thirst or hunger, so bring water and something to snack on.
An open mind – Skip goals about how many photos you’ll take or the exact shots you want to end up with. Enjoy your experience as it unfolds and you’ll be even more delighted with the results.
Tip #1: Center Yourself
Before you start your photo walk, take a moment to center yourself. Sit quietly for a few minutes in your surroundings and calm your mind. Push away all the lingering to-dos and let go of any expectations you have for the walk. Your only goal is to connect with the world around you and see things with fresh eyes. Resist the urge to judge—instead give yourself full permission to explore and try new things.
Tip #2: Be Present
We know, being present is easier said than done! Many of us spend so much time mulling over the past or worrying about the future that we’ve forgotten how to stay present. A simple trick to quiet your busy mind is to focus on your physical senses. Ask yourself what you can hear. Birds? City traffic? Waves washing against a shoreline? Now ask what you can smell. Fresh rain? Musty leaves on the forest floor? Then ask what you can feel. Wind nipping at your ears? Sunshine warming your face? Think about all of these sensations and how they make you feel in the present moment.
Tip #3: Look Closely
When you ask yourself what you can see, try to notice all the little details of your surroundings. In our busy world we often filter out information to help us get through the day. You want to do the opposite of that on a mindful photo walk—you want to see everything! Get caught up in the details. You’re not just looking at an oak tree, you’re looking at rough bark winding upwards, adorned with burly knots and thick branches reaching into a patchwork of brilliant yellow and rich orange leaves. You’re seeing the tree in a whole new way, so when you take a photo you’ll be able to capture those special details you noticed.
Tip #4: Have Fun and Experiment
The best part about digital photography is that it allows us to experiment without worrying about wasting money on film or developing pictures. Try different angles and points of view. Play around with focus and composition. Aim to take several unique photos of each subject and be intentional with every click. You don’t want to take dozens of photos of a subject and simply hope that one turns out. Instead, focus on strengthening your observation skills and honing your vision to get more out of every photo. Resist the urge to judge—just ensure the photos are properly exposed and move on.
Tip #5: Reflect
When you get home, set aside some time to look through your pictures and think about your excursion. What did you enjoy? Did you get annoyed or frustrated at any point? How do you feel about the pictures you took? Do they reflect what you saw? What could you do differently on your next walk? We recommend writing down your thoughts. Not only will it help you explore your experience, but it will provide valuable insights you can reference later. Utilize them for your next photo walk—and for life in general!
Take your favorite photos to FastFrame where our talented designers will handcraft custom frames just for you. Hang them somewhere special so you can be reminded of your beautiful excursion every day!