What's an Instameet?

Perhaps you’re only a casual consumer of Instagram, but if you’re a person who uses the app regularly, then you may have come across the term ‘instameet’. What is it, you ask? Well ideally, an instameet is an opportunity for folks who use Instagram to meet up with each other in a social setting, where they can also be creative (generally using photography as the medium).

I founded a local “igers” account (short for ‘instagrammers’) years ago when I learned that this was a thing. I had recently moved from the Boston area to Western Massachusetts, and when I found out that no one had started a local account, I took it upon myself to do so. Aside from having people share their local photos, one of the primary functions of the account is to host regular meetups. We’ve hosted a dozen or so instameets over the years. The most recent meetup focused on ‘light painting’, that is, long exposures of various light sources taken after dark. It was such a great time, I thought I’d include some of the images taken there within this article.

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Let’s start with the basics: how can one find an instameet? Well if you’re in a larger city, you can often find accounts that host them by doing a search for the account. For example, if you live in Boston, you can find one such account by typing up a typical username: in this case, @igersboston. Generally the terms ‘igers’ or ‘ig’, combined with the city name will yield some results. If that doesn’t work, you can also try the Instagram Community Page, where there is a map of upcoming meets as well as other resources.

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The next question you may have is, “what can I expect when I show up?”. You may be nervous about going to meet with a group of strangers, but don’t let that hold you back! For one, you will often find that you’ll meet folks that you already ‘know’, from liking and commenting on photos on the app. It’s a common occurrence to see the recognition light up between two people once they share their usernames in addition to their actual names. Many instameets will congregate in a setting such as a cafe to start off, so that people have a chance to chat and get to know each other before going out and shooting photos together. The other thing you can expect to find is a wide variety of people: all skill levels of photography, different ages, genders and races. It’s one of the great aspects of this type of meeting; it brings together people who might not ordinarily meet. Generally after introductions have been made, there is a set time for people to get creative.

The creativity aspect is one of my favorite parts of instameets. This last one we had was particularly great in this department, as we had various groups of people working together on their own ideas and concepts. But even if you are just participating in a photo walk with others, there is something about being around other creative folks that I believe inspires one to be more creative as well. I try to encourage people to speak up if they have a particular idea they want to try and execute- what better time and place to try something crazy and fun than with a group of people from Instagram?

I hope if you’ve read this and are an Instagram user, that you’ll consider trying to make it to an instameet sometime. Of course, if you happen to live near Western Massachusetts, we’d love to see you at the next @igers413 instameet!
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