This Saturday is Scott Kelby’s second-annual “Worldwide Photo Walk“, and there will be (literally) thousands of photographers out taking photos in hundreds of cities around the world. Attending a photo walk is a little bit different than a planned photo shoot, so I put together a few tips for those of you who are new to photo-walking or just need some brushing up:

1. Be safe! Plenty of photo walks are planned to be near streets and traffic, among other potentially dangerous obstacles, and while getting good photos is important it is more important that you don’t endanger yourself or others during the process. Also, photo walks do, in general, involve a lot of walking (imageine that!), so make sure you wear appropriate shoes for your environment. This time of year it is likely to be hot and sunny so be sure to bring water, sunscreen, or whatever you need to help you focus on the event and not be bothered by being uncomfortable.

2. Keep it simple. Try to limit your gear to one camera and one lens. In the past I have gone on photo walks using only my Lensbaby – it forced me to see things differently and be creative. Keeping your gear to a minimum also helps you enjoy the event and not be bothered by changing out your lens every ten minutes. But, with that being said, don’t forget some of the basics like memory cards, lens clothes, a fully charged battery, and even a stack of business cards to hand out to the new people you meet on the walk.

3. No SLR? No problem! If you only have a point-and-shoot or a camera-phone … bring it! Photo walks are not about who has the most-expensive camera or fastest lens, but about the experience and the shared love of photography, regardless of what type of gear you happen to bring with you.

4. Try to be sociable and friendly. A photo walk is a time to get to know other photographers and share stories, or just hang out and and have a good time. I personally enjoy photo walks more for the social aspect than the actual photography involved. The purpose of the event is obviously going to be focused on taking photos, but you can do that by yourself any day of the week! A group photo walk is going to be more about the community and sharing your passion of photography, so put a smile on your face and do your best to talk with and meet some new people.

5. Take lots of photos! So, you’ve met up with the group and started the walk … what do you photograph? My advice is to steer clear of the obvious if at all possible. If you see the group gravitating in one direction, look in the opposite direction and find something unique (but don’t stray too far from the group!). This is a great time to experiment! You can even give yourself an “assignment” or “theme” ahead of time and try to stick with that. Also, don’t forget to get a few “behind-the-scene” shots of your fellow photographers!

The most important thing about a photo walk is to have fun. Yes, everyone wants to get a few good images in the end, but ultimately it’s about experiencing and enjoying a shared passion of photography with each other. So get out there and have a good time!