23 Ninja Tips for Your Next Photo Walk

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Our friends over at the Cooperative of Photography (COOPH) are full of awesome photography advice.

We've featured a number of their videos in the past, and in this article, we've got another one to share.

In the video above, COOPH, with the help of photographer Thomas Leuthard, offers up 23 great tips for photo walk newbies.

These tips range from the practical (wear dark clothing to blend into the crowd) to advice for introverts (don't be afraid of people).

Have a look at the video to see more awesome tips, and read below for a few tidbits on our favorite ones.

Wear Dark Colors

tip1 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard

Obviously, if you're out in the woods on a photo walk, wearing dark clothing isn't a big deal. Actually, you might want to wear clothing that blends in with the landscape so as not to scare off any animals you want to photograph.

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But when you're in a city photographing street scenes filled with people, it's best to wear dark clothing.

That helps you blend in with the crowd, and passersby won't notice you as well. If they don't notice you, they'll act natural, and your photos will be the better for it.

Shoot in Program Mode

tip 2 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard

The P on your camera's dial stands for Program Mode.

What's great about Program Mode is that it's like a souped-up version of full auto.

Program mode allows you to prioritize ISO, so, whatever ISO you want to use, you dial it in, and the camera will adjust the aperture and shutter speed for you.

That's handy for getting quick shots that are well-exposed.

Beyond that, Program Mode allows you to override whatever aperture and shutter speed that the camera selects, so it gives you further power over how the image is exposed if you need it.

Aperture priority and shutter priority modes don't let you override the settings for which the camera is responsible, so that makes program mode the easiest and perhaps the most functional for photo walks.

Learn More:

Frame Your Shot and Wait for the Right Moment

tip3 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard 

One thing that throws people off when they try to photograph moving subjects is panning with the subject to keep them in the frame.

A simpler approach is to frame up the shot you'd like, then wait for movement to occur in the frame.

That allows you to compose the image, consider the background, and so forth, and have all that set for when a person moves through the frame.

Find New Angles

tip4 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard

If you take all the shots on your photo walk from your eye level, they'll all have something in common - they'll be boring.

We all see the world from relatively the same point of view, so finding new angles is a great way to spice up your images and offer people something unique to view.

When shooting in a city, it's especially interesting to drop down low to show a low point of view.

Of course, getting up high - like the observation deck of a tall building - can help you generate some pretty breathtaking photos as well.

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Sometimes Only Part of the Subject is More Interesting 

tip5 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard

Another way to spice up your photo walk photos is to play around with how you present the subject.

Particularly when it comes to portraits, we're usually taught to include the person's face and eyes in the shot.

However, that's not necessary...

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As you can see in the screenshot above, only including the man's lower half still helps create a compelling image.

Try focusing on hands, feet, legs, arms or even the back of the person's head to generate interesting photos.

Shadows Make Great Pics

tip6 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard

Speaking of interesting...

Whether you're shooting a landscape or in the urban jungle, there's plenty of opportunities to use shadows in a fun way.

You can focus on the shadows themselves, as seen in the screenshot above.

You can also use shadows to create more dynamic range in a shot, contrasting the areas of light and shadow off one another.

Either way, shadows give your shots more depth and visual interest!

Learn More:

Don't Be Afraid of People

tip7 image YouTube Screenshot/COOPH/Thomas Leuthard

By and large, if you want to take someone's photo, they'll be fine with it. All you have to do is ask!

You'd be surprised at how many people are willing to be featured in a photo if you approach them respectfully and with a smile on your face.

It can be intimidating at first, but the more photo walks you go on in the city, the more comfortable you'll be with approaching people to take their photos.

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