5 Reasons to be Engaged in your Instagram Community

By: Alexandria Norado

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When I first picked up a camera I didn’t really know what I was looking for. My Journalism teacher had taught me all there was to know about film photography. After seeing how complicated a DSLR was, I was not ready to make that jump. When Instagram launched I wasn’t aware that it was a community of photographers living online. My first image on Instagram was a filtered shot of my dog – it got 3 likes. Then I decided why not post my film work on Instagram? The crazy thing was that people actually started following me. What’s crazier? A lot of them I had met before or had mutual friends with. This was the beginning of my journey into what we call: The Instagram community.

I started noticing other people’s works and following them, I began engaging online. When I first entered the meetup scene, I went to a lot of meetups. I eventually decided that I had the resources to put one together myself. In less than 5 months of being an Instagrammer, I somehow convinced more than 115 people to come to my meetup – me, a nobody.

This online community was real and here they all were in person. I wanted to write an article on that meetup experience not only from my view but my fellow creatives. The more I dug into the network of photographers I realized that it had such a deeper meaning. This community really serves a great purpose. Have you ever questioned going to a meetup or getting engaged with your Instagram community (maybe you talked yourself out of it?) Here are 5 reasons why you should take a risk and get involved.

Learn About Gear

Ever wanted to start but didn’t know how to? That’s exactly why I hosted my first event. I wanted to share the world of film with all of my peers that had the resources but didn’t have the right information. I’m a visual learner, and I truly benefited from having an instructor. They guided me through all the pesky details that I was too stubborn to read a manual for. My first meet, “Filled with Grain” was meant for individuals that had film cameras but no clue how to use them or what to use them for. At my second meet, we had a local camera shop come out and bring film to hand out. You’re at these events to learn and grow — and make some friends along the way.

Make Friends

Photo of model @jonavimusic in the TX Studio
JONAVI

You wouldn’t believe all of the great knowledge you can learn from your peers. I’ve met so many new and inspirational artists that have exceptional work. Everyone learns differently, and at a different pace. In the beginning, there were some buttons I dared not press on my camera, but every time I learned something new I would pass on the information. Meetups aren’t just for collaborating with other artists of the same medium. You have designers, models, makeup artists and so many others coming just to find new faces. It may be awkward being the only one you know in the room, but by the next meetup, you’ll find yourself feeling like you’ve stumbled into a long-lost family reunion.

 

Learn from Your Muses

Model Mikayla Flava from Austin, TX
Mikayla Flava

Working with the people we have looked up to is a satisfying feeling. Actually getting to get to know them? Inspirational.

Think of it in a similar fashion to Comic-Con. Individuals everywhere are inspired by those artists attending, and they pay just for the chance to meet them. That same type of reverence is found when meeting Instagram influencers/photographers. People look up to them!

At a meet-up I attended recently, a fellow artist told me that she was approached by someone. A fan who had followed the photographer when she only had 300 followers – she now has 10K. He went on to tell her about how they had mutual mental illnesses. Which is what lighted a passion within him to create and he even wrote a paper over her and that community (her following.)

Find your Niche (or no niche, like me)

Moon and Boola in a fairy style shoot
Moon & Boola

Everyone has a subconscious niche. Maybe you swing the clean and contemporary style, perhaps the rooftop street vibe is more your scene. Perhaps you’re like me, editing each concept to create something that is special and meaningful to the photo. Your niche is no niche. Regardless of your style – or many, these meets can help bring out a creative side of you that you may not have known you possessed.

Working alongside other creatives and new types of models is a learning experience, exposing you to new situations and inspiring you to create. Even if you got almost the same exact photo as the photographer to your right or left – it might evoke a totally different emotion in you. What does each edit say about the photographer behind it?

 

Creating Empowering Relationships

Influencer Michelle Khan posing for the camera
Michelle Khan

One of the largest misconceptions is that you can’t be friends with people in your field. Honestly, if you feel like you’re constantly competing with your friends then you aren’t hanging out with true artists. Real artists (and friends) want to invoke a sense of motivation and drive in others, a sense of “we’re all growing together”, and if you aren’t getting that from your group, it might be time to search for a more positive atmosphere. I surround myself with all sorts of types, but what they all have in common is positivity, a desire to learn, and a hunger to attain their dreams.

 

 

 

 



 If this article got you thinking about attending your next meetup here is some coming up:

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