How to setup an InstawalkPosted: June 28, 2011
We’ve had a lot of fun going on Instagram photo walks recently — AKA #instawalks — and decided to setup our own walk last weekend. Here are some of the things we learned and some tips on how to set up your own:
1. Scouting a location and time
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to pick your location. How do you pick a good route? From experience, the best length seems to be just under a mile. More than this and the group begins to dissolve and you may lose people. Less than this and everyone ends up taking a lot of the same shots. One mile and 2 to 3 hours seems just about right.
Another way to set up your route is to pick an enclosed space. College campuses, cemeteries, historic areas of town, etc., may be less linear, but give your walk a flavor and theme.
If you can, try to pick a place with lots of people — because even when the surroundings won’t cooperate, an eccentric old-timer or a kid with an ice cream cone can make a great subject.
Bonus: If you can, scout your path at the same time of day that you plan the walk. That way you’ll know what the light is like, the crowds, etc.
One of the great things about a photo walk is meeting new people. Make sure you get a good turn out and lots of new folk by scheduling your walk well in advance — at least a couple weeks or more if possible. Also, be mindful of public holidays, local festivals, etc., that might conflict with people’s schedules. (Although if you plan it right, a parade or some other kind of party would be a great opportunity for a walk!)
Also, try to make the time of day reasonable. Yes, everyone would probably rather shoot during the Golden Hours of twilight, but it’s probably not realistic that people will show up unless you’ve already got a determined group of folks with this in mind. A bit after lunch at 1pm or 2pm seems to be the easiest time to convene. People are fed, awake, and happy — even if the light isn’t perfect.
If you don’t get a big turnout the first time, don’t worry. Just be sure to post your picks with a consistent tag (e.g. #instawalksf) so that you can point to the fun and great shots you had for the next one you have.
3. Spread the word
There are many ways to promote your walk. The most obvious is through Instagram. If you can, create a banner using one of your photos from the location that others can copy and use to help you cross-promote the walk. Don’t be afraid to ask others – It’s helpful to have a partner-in-planning.
You can also start a group on Meetup.com. There is a growing community of IG folks and may already be some in your area or nearby.
Also consider starting a google group. For example, the instawalk-sf group is very popular board for all things Instagram in San Francisco.
Tip: If you do a Tag search on Instagram of your location (e.g. #vancouver or #peoria) you’re likely to find a bunch of Instagram users that have never heard of instawalks but are very keen to join.
4. Pick a fun place to finish.
After a few hours of walking around in the middle of the day, there’s nothing like wrapping up the walk with some cold drinks, snacks and conversation. It’s fun to sit around, chat about photography… and continue posting your pics — even if it drives the restaurant staff nuts to see a group of 15 with their heads buried in their iphones. So pick a place that is easy to find, and post it in your promo so that even people that show up late or get lost can find you later. Also, try to pick a place that is friendly to splitting a check.
Planning an #instawalk is pretty easy, and a heck of a lot of fun — so try one in your area and send us your tips!