How Photo Walks Can Improve Your Photography

Girl on a Corner, Woman on Street, Street Photography, How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus Camera
“It is amazing how lovely common things become, if one only knows how to look at them.”  ~ Louisa May Alcott

This post is sponsored by Olympus®. All thoughts are my own.

If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I enjoy taking photos of New York City. I'm really fortunate to live in such a vibrant city with an energy like no other and I want to share that with everyone. What you might not know is that the majority of those photos are totally spontaneous. I treat my excursions through the city like photo walks. I find it helps to actively engage my sense of observation and as well as fuel my inspiration. I believe that there is always something interesting to capture if you keep your eyes open. With that in mind, I'm going to share a few things that I do when I take my photo walks along with some of my favorite unplanned photos.

Chrysler Building, Street Photography, How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus

No matter where you are, you should always be aware of your surroundings whether you're in a crowded urban environment or out in nature. Keep safety in mind as well as potential subjects for photography. I'm partial to crosswalk shots which have to be timed with oncoming traffic when you happen to be alone.

I took this shot of the Chrysler Building one evening while walking to the train at Grand Central. It was starting to drizzle and it was a little foggy and this lent such a dreamy quality to the Chrysler Building. I remember that I was able to frame this up on the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt on the other side of the trashcan so that could avoid people crossing the street.

Matt Bomer, White Collar, How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus


I don't necessarily walk around with my camera or my phone in my hands most of the time but I will make sure I have one or another and it's easily accessible.

A good number of film and television productions film in NYC. You can usually spot one when you see a bunch of trailers and certain areas are cordoned off. White Collar was a show that filmed around my neighborhood quite often so I would stumble upon them fairly often. I didn't always have my camera like that one time I saw Matt Bomer in a tux but I did happen to have my camera the day I took this photo of him in Madison Square Park because I had just finished up a headshot job right before. Because I had just finished up a headshot job right before. If you want to learn what to wear for headshots, there are plenty of guides online. Note: He is even more handsome in person and very nice. 

The Beekman NYC,  How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus

Take in everything as you look around from the big picture to the details.

There is always something to see and urban architecture happens to be a wonderful photography subject when you're in NYC. I have my favorites that I can't walk by without snapping. The Beekman whose beautifully detailed facade which has fascinated me for years was restored and recently reopened as a luxury hotel.

Chinatown NYC, Street Photography, How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus

We all have places and things that we pass by as we go about our daily lives and we usually don't think twice about them or give them a second look. I find that by paying attention you can learn to appreciate that at different times of the year or the day or when certain weather occurs, things can take on a new appearance.

Doyers Street is probably one of the most photographed in NYC and it has also appeared in many film and television productions. It's easy to see why because it has a great sense of atmosphere. I walk through it all the time and I find it interesting how it becomes a different character based on the time of day or how many people happen to be walking on it or not.

Street Photography, How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, Olympus

Often the images I find most compelling are ones that visually convey a story of some sort. Capture scenes of everyday life where you live. Include people if you're in an urban environment and include elements of nature if you're in the great outdoors.

This lady was standing in front of me at a crosswalk and I knew as soon as I snapped it that this would be an interesting image with the convergence of her shadow with the lines. With only her legs in the shot, it created a sense of mystery as well.
How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography, Olympus Takes You There,
The compact size of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II combined with a multitude of powerful features like ultra fast autofocus, manual focus, advanced image stabilizing technology and built in Wi-Fi integration makes it an ideal camera to take along on a photo walk. And the sturdy all metal body also happens to be lightweight and waterproof. This camera is built for portability and creativity. Just look at all that it offers!

How To Take Better Photos, How to take a Photowalk, NYC Photography Olympus Takes You There, Olympus

“Olympus Helps Me Complete the Picture” is a special promotional offer that gets you a free domestic U.S. air flight with the purchase of an OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera from an authorized Olympus dealer between 9/1/16  11/15/16. That's a pretty nice GWP! Visit Olympus, to learn more about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and get more details about the free airline flight promotion

Photo walks are a fun voyage of discovery no matter where you happen to be. Whenever new photographers ask me for advice, I always encourage them to just walk around and take lots of photos. This helps you to get familiar with your camera as well as form your creative eye, improve your composition and to learn how to tell stories with your pictures. When I first learned photography, I had the oddest fascination with photographing puddles. I realize now that went a long way to help me appreciate that beauty can be found in anything if you just choose to see it. Have you ever gone on a photo walk? What did you photograph?

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. All photos are mine.


Fabrizia Spinelli said...

Perfect and useful tips!
Fabrizia - Cosa Mi Metto???

Jackie Harrison said...

So true very details tip and helpful I will follow by you take amazing pictures. Enjoy your weekend.

Lilli said...

You live in a wonderful city where Id be so inspired everyday by only seeing others!:) The first photo is mesmerizing, I do love that quote too. Great camera, need a new one soon! Happy weekend Rowena! xo

The Dainty Dolls House said...

So amazing, brilliant shots!! xx

Coco said...

Cute shots! Great tips!!
Baci, Valeria - Coco et La vie en rose FASHION & BEAUTY

Anonymous said...

There is beauty in everything! I am definitely not the best photographer in the world but I love taking pictures.

Elle Sees said...

Matt Bomer--omg I would have DIED! He's an amazing singer too. Swoon.

Emmylou said...

These are beautiful shots, Rowena. You have such a great eye! I think photographers really do see the world in a different way, you know? Something that us normal peeps won't pay attention to is given such beauty when you take the shot. <3

And thank you so much for all the movie recs! I'll try to watch them all...hehe....I'm really looking forward to The Wailing:D

BEAUTYEDITER.COM – Beauty Blog said...

Love it!


Paola Lauretano said...

It's a pleasure to observe the world around me!
Kisses, Paola.
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Stanislava E. said...

I also love taking photos of pretty buildings and I often do that in Sofia. These are really nice tips, Rowena. I love every single photo of yours, and I always admire the creativity in you. The one with the lady is so mysterious and nice! Happy Friday, Rowena!

Blackswan said...

Awesome photography, Rowena! I'm currently using the Olympus EPL 6 & looking to upgrade again soon. Nice camera, dear! xoxo

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Kasztanowy Domek said...

Great photos! Happy weekend! Kisses:)


Shireen L. Platt said...

I love your photography tips, Rowena and I think you know that too. I have long admired your IG feed, the pictures that you take are always beautiful and captivating. I will be bookmarking this as a reminder to myself, I love taking pictures and am always looking for ways to improve myself.

Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

Pinkoolaid said...

I love your photos :) you have such a good eye and this camera sounds amazing but quite expensive but I love how compact it is. Matt Bomer is sooo gorgeous

little luxury list said...

Thanks for the photography tips! I have been trying to appreciate the world around me and catch it from different perspectives. I haven't gone on photo walks, but do try to stop and capture beautiful scenes.

A Very Sweet Blog said...

Rowena, you are the best at capturing a moment! Your pictures always pulls me in :D You expect the unexpected! This really helps!

Ivana Split said...

Such a great article! Photo walks are not only inspiring and good for a development of hawk eye, they can be surprisingly productive as well. As you said, it is all in the way you look at things. Even the street we live in can be a source of endless inspiration. At different times of day and in different weather conditions, a single street can have thousand of faces.

I totally agree that having a camera at stand by is important. We don't need to carry it in our hand, but it must be in the bag. Cellphones or iphones have decent cameras nowadays so they can come in handy as well.

I absolutely love all of these photographs you shared. That actor- don't know his name is very handsome indeed. That's such a great portrait shot. In addition, I'm mesmerized by that street photo of lady in black trousers....her shadow tells a story and the composition of that photograph is flawless!

Beauty Unearthly said...

Lovely post dear!Have a great weekend! xx

Rebeca Muñoz López said...

The characteristics of this compact camera makes it very attractive, you have a very interesting instagram account, and a very good eye for capturing interesting things! Thank you for this advice and recommendation of this team will consider this brand when you want to renew my photographic equipment.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Love following you on Instagram! Your pictures are beautiful :)


Photo walks are great! I agree, walking and taking loads of photos first can certainly help. Views of the city, interesting neighbourhoods, and architecture are usually my favourite ... from facades to unique districts. You always have a great eye with your images. Keep it up, and thanks for sharing these tips! :) x/Madison

June said...

These are such great and innovative ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Lenya said...

Great tips, Rowena, thx for sharing, my bf need to read this, he's still not sure which one he should buy, tho. Awww Matt Bomer....I loved white collar, one of the few shows I actually watched. Happy weekend, honey.

Gabrielle said...

I love your photography-focussed blog post Rowena, I hugely admire your crisp, clean and clear photography style and so any tips/advice is always taken on board :) Living in New York must do wonders for your creativity!

Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

Imogen said...

That sounds great, I definitely think some of the best photos are not planned and having your camera always ready is important. Must be such an incredible city for photos

ann-marie said...

Such great photography tips! I love Matt Bomer. You do such an amazing job capturing the moment you're in. I have never done a photo walk but you have inspired me.

Face to Curls |

Fashionably Idu said...

You are so lucky to be living in such a city Rowena, a dream city. Your pictures are breathtaking I kid you not. Just wow! Last time I was in New York I stayed at the Waldorf Towers and I had a clear view of the Chrysler Building from one of my windows and it was just stunning especially at night with the top lit up. A photo walk - never looked at it that way. Quite interesting. Hope your weekend is going great.

Ivana Split said...

have a lovely Sunday!

Aly In Wanderland said...

Amazing tips!

<3 | X ALY | Aly In Wanderland | New post

Unknown said...

You are so knowledgeable in photography. Love your tips and your photos.

Unknown said...

Wonderful advice and lovely shots! xoxo

All Things Bright and Lovely

Chelsey said...

Love this! That's why travel is so inspiring :)

Jane said...

Great tips Rowena!!

Michelle said...

These are such great tips...and your photos are stunning! I should take more pictures when I'm in New York. I don't usually bring my camera. :) It is a beautiful city though, with a lot of unique photo opportunities!

Kelsey&Kenecha said...

Such wonderful tips! Beautiful snaps x


Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Excellent tips, thank you :) I need to get out and about with my Olympus E-PL7 more.

Debbie P said...

Thanks for the great tips and advice.

Judith Watson said...

I live in the country, and I see things in nature all the time. Lots of times I don't have my phone or anything to take a pic. I always try to have something with me to take a pic with now!