Youth photo camp/workshop ideas

Discussion in 'Education' started by bill_huegerich, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. The county I live in used to offer a 4-H photography camp for 7-12 grade youth. And it's been a few years, but I had previously helped with a couple sessions in the past. Due to retirements, the organizers of this camp are now gone. Since my name was on a list of helpers, I got a call asking me to at least help set up something to replace this camp, perhaps with just a one day workshop since it's a bit late to organize a several day summer camp this year.

    I have tried to offer 4-H classes in the past to teach exposure and manual camera usage. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that the vast majority of these kids will show up with low end point-and-shoot digital cameras, or even just their phones. There may be a couple kids who would bring DSLR's, but they would definitely be in the minority.

    I believe the extension office has a dozen older laptops with Photoshop Elements on them, so assuming they are functional, we could at least do some basic editing on them. The high school here is teaching five sections of Photography class right now, I believe that is highly focused on the aesthetic side, not technical. So, I'm not sure how many high schoolers would even come or if it would be more middle school aged kids. Anyway, given these limitations, what do you think would be some good workshop ideas to offer that would draw kids' interest and bring them to a workshop, as well as be appropriate for their varying skill levels and limited equipment?

    Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Provide a basic and brief direction/instruction (ten minutes maximum) concerning the Photographer's Vision of an Image; Composition and the use of the Light; get them to write down their Photographer's Vision for an image or a set of images, no matter how simple that Vision is - if they don't readily have a Vision, help them; let them loose to make their photography; then use the monitors/computers as viewing tools only, no post production; break them into small groups of four to six; monitor/guide their peer group critiques of each others' images; review key points of what each group learned from their critique session; let them loose again to make more photos and apply what they learned.

    50% of the time them making photos - 50% of the time them discussing and critiquing their photos - your job is guidance.

  3. I have taught extensively in Central America where many of my students have not had access to "real cameras." The only option is to let them use phones or "happy snappys." Unless you're focusing on shutter speeds, f-stops, depth of field, etc., which I don't recommend anyway, this shouldn't be a limitation. As Bill implied above (if I'm reading him correctly) I suggest you go back to beyond basic. Discuss questions that few of us bother discussing: what are the social uses of an image? Or, what are some of the things we use photographs for? You can also teach them an awful lot about light using pretty much any camera. Make reflectors out of cardboard and aluminum foil and have them make "window portraits" of each other using reflectors for fill. Basic composition is also an option. Send them out to find and photograph particular shapes, colors, the five kinds of lines (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curve and zig-zag). The last suggestion will help them learn to see. In short, I think the key is to teach them about light and seeing rather than technical stuff. Good luck! Trust me: it can work.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I assume you mean my comments, in that case: Yes John, you understood my general thrust, exactly. But it has been a long time since that Opening Post was written and it is unclear if the OP is reading the responses?


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