Instagram has not only opened up photo sharing but a world of people to share them with. My greatest joy is making friends around the globe through our joint love of photography.
I love nothing more than taking these online friendships out of the app and meeting up for an Instameet. This year already I’ve travelled to Chichester, London, Oxford, Birmingham and Bristol to take part in photowalks. We’ve walked, laughed, jumped and taken hundreds of photos while we chat and share ideas.
Organising an Instameet isn’t difficult, set a date, time and meeting place then reach out to local instagrammers who might like to join you and post it to your instagram account so your followers can join you. You can even let Instagram know that you’re holding an Instameet and they will add it to their map.
A good time of year to set up or attend your first Instameet is during World Wide Instameet. These happen twice a year over the course of a weekend. Dates are announced through the Instagram blog and people organise meets big and small the world over.
Here are some of my tips for hosting an Instameet.
Create a hashtag: As soon as you create the event you’ll want to have a hashtag for people to use. During World Wide Instameet people add WWIM, the number of the meet and then an identifier. For example, this spring I attended #WWIM11WestSussex. If yours isn’t part of WWIM create a hashtag and then check it hasn’t been used before by doing a search on Instagram.
You can add your hashtag and the date, time and location of the meet to an image with text using a site like Canva. Sharing an image with all of the details on your account makes it easy for people to screenshot and share the invitation.
Pick Somewhere Photogenic: You want to choose a location with lots of scope for images. Whether you’re in a rugged landscape, ancient city or exploring street art you want to make sure that you have enough places to stop and photograph during the meet.
Check the phone reception: Having phone reception is pretty essential to uploading images during the meet. If your meeting spot is remote or out of range let people know ahead of time.
Prepare your phone: Before you head out you want to make space in your phone’s memory – there is nothing more tedious than having to delete images or apps during a walk because you’ve run out of memory. I also carry a battery and charger. When you’re using your phone for photos it can drain the battery more quickly than normal so I like to have a back up to keep me shooting.
Have a route or common theme: Before the day you will want to go out and walk the route to check how long it takes (factoring in long stops at the most photogenic spots). You might want to pick a theme for the walk so you’re all taking photos which fit into that theme.
Use props: Having props can work really well as an ice breaker. I’m a fan of balloons for injecting some instant colour and fun.
Get in the picture: A group photo of everyone at the Instameet is practically a requirement, you can tag all the people so your followers can find them. I enjoy getting in the frame and playing in front of the camera. Jumping shots are great if you can all get off the ground in unison. There are heaps of hashtags you could use for inspiration – #instagrammerdown or #tinypeopleinbigplaces are a great place to start.
Whatever you do on your Instameet the whole point is to find community and have fun with your camera. There’s a whole world of like-minded Instagrammers at your fingertips and organising a meet up is the best way to get to know them.
Kat Molesworth is a Photographer and lifelong camera enthusiast. She works for a range of commercial and private clients and teaches photography workshops in the UK.
Kat is also Director of Blogtacular, the conference for creative bloggers. You can find her on Instagram as@thatkat and she writes her personal blog at Housewife Confidential.