So this is a little something different today! I’ve broken down my techniques, tips and tricks for photography a lot (if you missed it, I’ve got my Insta editing tips here, my general photography tips here, my travel photography tips here and my total roundup of gear here). But while I share a lot about the technicalities of shooting and editing, I’ve never really talked about the creative process.
First of all, I want to preface this by saying I’m no photographer. But then again, we’re all photographers—so as much as you’re a photographer, I’m a photographer. There are people I’m lucky enough to work with (think Ainsley, Christie, etc) who are true photographers. For example, they can literally look at a wall, identify its lightbox qualities right away, position you in front of said boring wall and all of a sudden it’s the most amazing picture ever. I don’t have that skill, but I do have a general love and need for creativity and I think lots of us do so that’s why I wanted to share maybe my most deceptively important photography post to date: my photo walks!
A photo walk, simply put, is not a walk you take with the sole intent of taking pictures, but rather it’s bringing your camera along for your daily adventures and simply getting in the habit of finding beauty wherever you are and taking as many shots as you can.
All the shots here were taken last Sunday over the span of a few hours. Usually, they would never get shared—most of my photos never wind up here or on Insta, actually, which is a bit weird when I think about it! But it’s because I take them not with the end goal of promoting them, but of just flexing my creative muscles and keeping the love for a creative aspect of my business alive (because too often, over time the things you’re lucky enough to both love and profit from can start feeling more like work than passion, and I never want that to happen with photography).
So, general tips for a photo walk. First of all, pick a day when you’re going to do something you love—Matt and I’s Granville Island dates never get old to me and are always beautiful, but it could be as varied as meeting a friend for lunch over town, going to the farmers market, headed to a workshop, going on some sort of outdoor adventure, going for a walk along the ocean, etc.
Now while I have a full SLR I love (and even invested in a new lens recently which I’m obsessed with), I almost always pack my little Fuji X70 instead of my bulky camera because I’m more likely to shoot and also to do do it in a more natural, go-with-the-flow way since there’s no fiddling with settings and the like. This totally depends on your preferences but I’d bring your best little camera you have, even if that’s just your phone!
Then it’s all about variety! What I love about doing a photo walk in my own city is that there’s no pressure. When I’m travelling, I’m usually trying to pull together a bunch of different guides so really have it in mind to get particular shots and to shoot shoot shoot like crazy. When I’m working on a story or editorial, same thing—there are some specifics I have in mind and usually a more clear storyline. But with a photo walk around my hood, the shots are always primarily for me unless there’s one that fits well in my feed or that I’m particularly stoked to share. So just have fun with it! Think of different angles (this post is a good refresher for cool perspectives), switch things up and get in front of the camera, get on higher ground, etc.
The main thing is that this is a creative practice—forget your Insta feed, your potential new FBPP (Facebook profile pic, of course), etc. Just shoot for the sake of it! The thing is, when you learn to get in the habit of it and to just naturally see cool new perspectives, details, angles or even just to feel the spark of inspiration that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t actively getting creative with your photo walks, on those trips that really matter (think a first time in Paris, a dreamy getaway to Maui, etc) you can just naturally capture memories and immerse yourself in these beautiful spots. Because what doing photo walks here at home does is help me love my city a little bit more each time by spotting and searching out its beauty. My favourite feeling when travelling is not only being awed by the beauty of a space, but feeling the connection to a new space that then starts to feel familiar as I explore it corner by corner with my camera. I honestly feel like I wouldn’t be much good at doing that if I didn’t do this on at least a weekly basis here at home!
And just out of curiosity, how do you guys like to get creative? Watercolour, knitting, etc? Tell me in the comments below!