I approached the crowd timidly, half hoping it was the wrong group so I would have an excuse to walk back to my car, wave the white flag and go home. I was already twenty minutes late and had alllmost ran over a peacock trying to find the spot in Irvine park that we were supposed to assemble for the first ever SoCal Shoot & Meet event.
What if they’re all better photographers than me? What if my photos suck?
I had never photographed another photographer before so I was extra nervous about how everything would turn out.
Why did I wear this stoopid outfit? I look like a dweeb.
I was first approached by Alyssa, the photographer who took charge in organizing the event, who introduced herself with a kind smile and encouraged me to make myself comfortable while they finished setting up. In an attempt to hide my nerves I asked, twice, if there was anything I could do to help. Meeting new people isn’t my favorite thing in the world, I always overthink it and blurt out something silly.
I stood off to the side like a wall flower, adjusting the straps on my lens bag, watching and trying to build up the nerve to introduce myself. Finally I locked eyes with someone who looked as nervous as me and mustered up the courage to say hello. We quickly bonded over our love of photography and interest in photographing weddings. We gushed over gear we’re saving up for and joked about being the shy kids. The next thing I knew our twosome had grown to three, then four, six, and then eight. By the time we split into groups to start shooting, our shy kid club was the largest cluster and suddenly I didn’t feel so alone. I realized we were all there as a team to help each other and learn from each other.
From there the evening was a breeze. I joked with one of my new friends about the park looking like a photographer rapture. Bags and equipment everywhere we turned. Where’s the people? Ah! There they are, past that cluster of bushes in the heavenly patch of light. The weather was more than kind to us that evening, a photographer’s dream. We wandered the park like kids on a scavenger hunt; we hunted the perfect light.
This event was an incredible experience. We had shooters of all experience levels and we all made great connections. Not to mention, the photos everyone started sharing were amazing! I definitely suggest that all photographers participate in an event like this at least once!
Scroll down to see a few of my favorite shots from the day: