To say that I was thrilled when GTA Photography Classes contacted me a couple of months ago to see if my daughter would be interested in attending one of their photography camps this summer would be an understatement. As someone who loves to take photos, I know how much fun photography can be, and what a wonderful creative outlet it is.
I’ve read how photography exercises both sides of the brain and know it is a lifelong skill that can open up many opportunities for creative expression, extracurricular activities and even careers. We had met the owner of GTA Photography Classes at the Our Kids Camp Expo in the spring, and both my daughter and I were very intrigued by their program. GTA Photography day camp was one of my daughter’s top three camps that she was interested in for this summer, out of the dozens of camps we looked at.
Having recently turned 13, we registered her for the Teen 1 Photography camp for ages 13-17, Mastering Manual Mode. I was initially concerned about what seemed to be quite a wide age range, but it turned out most of the campers were in the younger end of this range so I needn’t have worried.
If your son or daughter is a bit younger, GTA Photography also offers a youth camp for kids ages 9-12. They also have specialized camps in photo editing and portraiture for teens, and a range of adult photography workshops and courses year round.
Virtually all of my daughter’s previous photo taking has been on her iPhone, with the occasional use of a very basic point and shoot camera. I thought this camp would be an excellent opportunity to expand her photography knowledge and skills, stimulate her creativity and perhaps gain a little more self confidence. I believe it did all of these things and more.
Note: Participants in GTA Photography camps need to use a camera that has the ability to shoot in manual mode. If you don’t already own a suitable camera, DLSR cameras are available for loan, at a cost of $50 for the week – a great option if you’re not quite ready to invest in a new camera. We went this route, and it worked out well, with the instructors loading all photos onto a memory stick every day so we could view them on our computer.
A week at GTA Photography Camp
Every day at camp they learned about a new concept or technique, including aperture, freezing movement, and panning, and then had the opportunity to practice their new knowledge with hands-on experience at different locations around the city, including the U of T campus and the ROM.
The kids had the opportunity to photograph a variety of objects and subject matter, including buildings, cars in motion, plants and flowers, each other and much more.
It was interesting to see what caught my daughter’s eye during the week at camp. Here are a few of the (unedited) photos she took:
They also played photography games and did fun group activities, both inside and outside. A favourite activity was photographing water balloons exploding as the campers took turns throwing them at each other or doing high fives to make the balloons explode.
When I asked her what she liked most about her week at camp, my daughter quickly listed off the following:
- instructors were very friendly and nice – and super helpful
- fun activities
- learned a lot about photography and using a “real camera”
- made new friends
- got to visit some interesting places in Toronto she hadn’t been before
It is worth noting that this is the first time my daughter has attended something like this on her own, without knowing anyone ahead of time. She was quite nervous the night before, but the camp staff did an amazing job of making everyone feel comfortable and I could see no traces of nervousness at all after the first day.
The campers all seemed to have a fun time, and there was a lot of positive energy and big smiles in the photos taken during the week. Here’s a slideshow of some of the fun from the week, put together by GTA Photography:
All in all, my daughter had a fantastic time at photography camp. She learned new skills, met new people, had a chance to explore her creative side and got to see some new areas of the city. Thank you to GTA Photography for this fantastic opportunity. I’m sure you’ll see us again next summer!
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary camp session from GTA Photography Classes. I was not asked to write this post, but since my daughter enjoyed the camp so much I am happy to share our experience. All opinions are my own (and my daughter’s).
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)