My First Instameet #lajollameet

Over the weekend, Totally Rad was one of the sponsors for an Instameet in La Jolla at the cove. We had sponsored a previous meet in Santa Monica, but I couldn’t get to that one. La Jolla Cove is nearby and I had the time and the inclination to do some photography, so I went.

La Jolla Meet #1La Jolla Meet #2

What I found was surprising in a good way. Here were a bunch of mostly young people using digital tools in an interesting way. Instagram is part of the world of social media. But I use it just for photography and sharing photos and looking at photos. These people use it to be social. They meet new friends online via Instagram and then meet them in person at events like Instameets. For them, it is Facebook with cameras.

La Jolla Meet #3La Jolla Meet #4

It’s hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm. Mostly people are exploring fun ways to take photos of each other and document the whole event. This is lifestyle photography as a social interaction. So cool. So not what I had been expecting. As a maker of tools, I had been waiting for the time when I’d find out what new and different things the next generation did that was their own thing. This was a peek into that. People just being creative with what they have at their fingertips.

La Jolla Meet #5La Jolla Meet #6La Jolla Meet #7

Of course, at the end of the day, I am more photographer than socializer. So my focus shifted back to what I wanted to do with my digital tools. The tide pools in La Jolla are a familiar place. So it was not too inspiring and was hard to find photos that I wanted. Even still, it is hard to beat a day of creativity and new experiences.

The Wedding of Alexis and Tai

I am not a wedding photographer. Like many people starting out in photography I gave it a try. It’s just not for me. The duties of a wedding photographer get in the way of my creativity and the resulting images are just not my best work.

Bridesmaids

The Couple Arrive

That does not stop me from taking a camera to the weddings I attend. My goal is to play. I stay out of the way of the paid professionals documenting the day for the happy couple. (Don’t ever be that guy with an iPad taking photos and ending up in every shot.)

The Luxons

Cutting the Cake

My photos tend to be my experience of the wedding. Where I sat, the people I talked with, the sights I saw, the food I ate, the people I danced with, etc. If the story of the wedding gets told in my pictures, that is a bonus, but it is really my story more than the story of the bride and groom.

Laura and Andy

Champagne Glasses

Sometimes it is the subjects. Sometimes it is the setting. Sometimes it is the results I’m getting with the lens that I brought to play with. A week ago, all of those elements came together to make my wedding photography experience a joy. And the images are not bad either.

Everybody Dances

Friends

I am not a wedding photographer, but I am a photographer. Weddings are a good chance to take photographs of people at their best. Chances are you care about some of these people deeply. Be willing to play, to capture moments, to explore the many fine details, to express your feelings in your photographs. The expectations are small. The rewards are personal. You just might have fun. And the couple might enjoy seeing their wedding through your eyes.