Last week I had the chance to join in with a Photo Walk in Shoreditch as part of the ‘Blogtacular’ blogging event. It’s an event that I’ve watched from the social media sidelines before and have always been keen to attend. It attracts bloggers and creatives from all over the world to be inspired, share ideas and make connections. I’ll write more about the event in another blog post as it was a pretty amazing experience and by far the best blogger event I’ve ever been to.
It felt like a real treat to get time away in ‘The Big Smoke’. I often have to remind myself that Maidenhead is only 30 miles away from London. With two kids and a busy life, it can sometimes feel like an eternity away. But, every now and then I find some free time, whether that’s on my own or with Mr H, and we go off to explore. Sometimes we revisit places that have become ‘old favourites’ and stroll around remembering conversations and smiles we exchanged when we first started dating. I lived in Camden back then, right on the lock. Sometimes it all seems a million light years away from my life now in Berkshire as ‘Maidenhead Mum’ but I get a little thrill when I revisit.
The Blogtacular Photo Walk
I was invited to join the ‘Photo Walk East’ which started from Shoreditch High Street Station and explored the surrounding area, finishing up at Old Street Station. Despite having previously lived in Zone 1 and feeling that ’I know’ London, I’ve never really explored around Shoreditch…or at least not sober and not in daylight! As I walked around snapping away, it struck me that this would be a great thing to do with the kids, or something to do on a ‘date day’ or ‘date night’ when you get time away from the kids. It could even be something you do with a group of friends, or as part of a hen weekend away. London isn’t just about Big Ben and the London Eye…and it doesn’t always have to be about spending mega bucks to get some great memories or great photographs.
So with that in mind, I’ve put together some photos for inspiration and some tips if you’d like to do do your own DIY Photo Walk.
What do we mean by a Photo Walk?
There are lots of different ways that you can do a Photo Walk and as with most things creative there is no right or wrong. Photography isn’t a tick box exercise. And lets be honest, the amount of photos that I take means that my life is pretty much one giant Photo Walk. So how do you create one yourself?
10 tips for an awesome Photo Walk
1. Set a time limit
Pick an area that you can explore, ideally on foot and ideally within 1-2 hours. A set time limit will help you focus. Remember to allow yourself a little time to get into the ‘flow’ of it all. I couldn’t quite find my mojo at the beginning of the walk. So many people. So many colours and sights. You might find it takes a little while to relax and start shooting, especially if there are lots of other people taking photos of the same thing.
2. Dress to impress
Think about what you’re wearing: choose some bright colours or patterns that will stand out against different backgrounds. If you’re photographing the kids persuade them to leave their ‘frozen’ t-shirt behind and put them in something a bit more timeless like a striped t-shirt or something in a bold colour. Keeping the colours simple in your outfit means that you’ll have more opportunities to get creative with the backgrounds and find some great photo opportunities, even by accident.
And here’s one of me goofing around… as you do!
3. Choose your footwear wisely.
Wear some comfy shoes if you plan to cover a broad area on the walk… or if you have some heels that will be a show stopper then bring them too but remember some flats for afterwards! Remember that your footwear may end up being the star of the show.
4. Details count.
Think about accessories that you or the kids could wear. Bring the funky sunglasses and the hat that you sometimes feel a bit daft in, this is all about experimenting. You can even use some extra props. On the Blogtacular Photo Walk some yellow and pink flowers and even a yellow pineapple were used!
5. Bring an umbrella.
Not just any umbrella, bring the brightest, funkiest one you can find. There’s something extra special about capturing photos in the rain. Perhaps because most people prefer to be fair weather photographers it helps your photos standout if you shoot in bad weather. In London, a Union Jack umbrella will look great, or a rainbow one like this one I grabbed from from Source in Spitalfields Market will make your photos stand out.
6. Challenge yourself
The funny thing about creativity is that we seem to work better with a few rules. Try choosing a set colour for the walk. (Red is a great colour to choose in London!) If you and the kids all hate having your photo taken, challenge yourselves to break out of your comfort zone and goof around a bit. Or how about a technical challenge? Instead of shooting with your usual lens on the camera, try swapping to a different focal length. You might be surprised with the results.
7. Everyone is a photographer
If you’re doing the Photo Walk with friends or family, make sure you each have a camera. That way you you can all start to think creatively and snap whatever you fancy. You’re also pretty likely to get equal amounts of photos of each other then. It doesn’t have to be a big professional DSLR type camera, a smartphone or compact camera is fine. If your camera takes SD cards then you can get a WiFi SD card to ‘beam’ your photos to a smartphone or tablet to edit on the fly.
8. Review and reshoot
Take lots of photos and review them before you walk to the next destination. Nothing worse than finding an amazing graffiti wall but realising later that there was a sign sticking out of your head!
9. Pace yourself
It’s not just a snap and go activity. Think about your surroundings as you take the photo… could the photo be improved if someone was standing in it? Would your London scene look even better with a bus driving past? Try waiting and retaking a few more.
10. Get creative with your edits
Download some apps to bring your photos to life. I’m a huge fan of Snapseed for editing my iPhone photos. For extra giggles on the walk, try shooting some mini photo videos with Boomerang. If you have kids then setting aside time to edit means you’re guaranteed another hour or so of quiet time while they get creative!
Video taken with Boomerang by Jess from www.instagram.com/miss_jess
Where to do your Photo Walk?
The quickest answer would be to say anywhere! Its amazing what you can spot when you start to focus in on a particular area. I’m even going to challenge myself to do a Maidenhead Photo Walk soon. If you’re heading to London then I would probably advise you to try and avoid some of the tourist hotspots and explore some of the other areas.
I started my photo walk from the Premier Inn Hub Hotel in Brick Lane and walked towards the Nomadic Community Garden in Shoreditch (which would be a great place to take a picnic lunch). I then joined in with the organised walk at Shoreditch High Street station and walked towards Arnold Grove and Old Street station, admiring all of the brightly painted walls at every turn.
Here are a few other ideas:
– Check out the brightly coloured terraced houses in Notting Hill
– Look out for graffiti along the Regent’s Canal in Camden
– Stroll around Primrose Hill and admire the pretty coloured houses and the infamous view of the London Skyline from the park
– Walk through the coloured tunnels near the IMAX at Waterloo station and look out for graffiti walls along the way.
As an extra insider tip, if you want to include an overnight stay in London as part of your day then the Hub Hotel in Brick Lane has rooms from £67.50 a night which is extremely reasonable for a London hotel.
Time to get creative
I hope this post has inspired you to have a go at creating your own Photo Walk. I’d love to see the photos if you do. Or if you’re thinking of heading to London soon then let me know – it’s always good to find some new photography buddies! You can see more photos from the walk over on Instagram: www.instagram.com/photo_jodie or search for #blogtacular or #blogtacularphotowalkeast
About this post
A huge thank you to the lovely ladies attending Blogtacular and keeping me company on the Photo Walk. And especially thank you to the people that took photos for me. I’ve tried to credit everyone where possible, but please comment or message me if I’ve missed you off!
I write this ‘Maidenhead Mum’ blog to share my experiences of life here in Berkshire and beyond. To read my posts you might like to follow me on Facebook. Or, if you subscribe using the box below you’ll get my posts delivered straight to your inbox.