Camp Whatucallit

As the end of summer approaches, it’s time to capture as many summer themed images as possible. When the demand for this genre grows in early 2009, you’ll find yourself looking for a campsite or outdoor pool that isn’t covered in snow.

© Sumos

Over six million kids attend summer camp in the US. Many camps are based around learning a skill or a lifestyle issue. There are soccer camps, music camps, adventure camps, sailing camps, special needs camps, science camps, church camps and diet camps. Camp for me as a child was all about bugs, talent night and extremely scary ghost stories. I was bitten, had no talent and got so scared that I wanted to go home. Then I discovered a talent for making great looking key chains. Kids are supposed to learn at camp: my other lesson was not to pitch a tent on a steep hillside unless one wants to spend the night clinging to rocks to prevent tent and self from rolling down a hill into the night. The look on the face of the young boy canoeing sums up how a lot of children feel about camp activities. Makes for a humorous image but generally you will want to show the positive side of camping.

Most parks and recreation departments and churches have day camps and perhaps you live near a stayover camp. But as with all matters dealing with children, permission is key. The best bet is to know someone at the camp, go to camp for a day with your children or approach a camp with an offer to trade out a few images for access. Model releases will be problematic as the parents aren’t usually accessible but generally a camp administrator knows the parents of some children on a first name basis and may be able to secure parental permission. In lieu of permission from a camp, shoot kids working on a craft project at a picnic table in your backyard or in a park. Best to have more than a couple of kids close in age to each other.

Alternatively you can concentrate on photographing the sports that take place at camp: kids hiking, learning to kayak, in small sailboats, at tennis lessons or riding horses. And nothing beats roasting marshmallows over an open fire while scaring the heck out of the kiddies with a ghost story.

© Barsik

Kids at camp this summer aren’t the only ones that get to share in the sunburn, snakebites and the joy of sleeping on rocks. One out of every four Americans has gone camping in the last year. Many were in huge RV’s but more and more it looks like the pop-up trailer, tent and isolated cabins will be the choice as fuel costs soar. Campsites are offering more and more activities for the traveler. One camping syndicate across America offers wi-fi at most of their facilities. (But wait, isn’t the point to get away from it all?)

The solitary camper makes for a compelling visual. A man or a woman and a tent watching the sunset. It’s an image that says ‘peaceful’, ‘freedom’ and to me, “where is the closest four-star hotel?”

The facts and figures:

Camping is the most popular ‘soft’ adventure travel for those over 50 and is the 7th most popular recreation in the US among all ages. 54% of campers bring their pets along. Aside from the joys of cooking like a pioneer, the most popular related activities are bird watching, fly fishing, nature hiking and mountain biking. All are images of campers’ activities that belong in your favorite stock site: Dreamstime. We can use strong images of groups of friends or family camping showing the campfire, life in a tent and campsite activities such as gathering firewood, building a fire or lighting a camp stove, cooking and washing dishes in a stream.

Keyword Tips:

Just because you took a series of images while on YOUR camping trip, don’t use the keyword ‘camping’ if the image is simple landscape with no campsite in sight. I saw many images with the keyword “camping” that were landscapes.

Shoot list:

Putting up a tent and associated disasters when it blows over, falls down etc

Camping and rain. Looking out of the tent with dismay at the rain pouring down.

Cooking over open fire

Using a camp stove

Frying freshly caught fish on a campfire

Fishing gear outside a tent

Kids setting off for camp with all their gear

Parents leaving kids at camp

Child crying as parents leave young child at camp

Children in craft class

Computer camp

Science camp

Groups of children learning to ride horses, at tennis lessons or learning to kayak

Children building a backyard fort or tent

Groups at a lake

Family at campsite

Family fishing in a stream

Family at a camp site with an over abundance of ‘stuff’; taking the house along for the vacation including TV set up on table outside the camper

Solitary camper

Camper with dog

© Kapu

Photo credits: Plamen Petrov, Artmann-witte, Galina Barskaya, Elena Elisseeva, Anna Dudko, Kaycone, Vasiliy Koval, Maunger, Monkey Business Images, Paul Prescott, Johann Helgason, Zastavkin.

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I like camping but I seldom shoot photos of camping, I think I should take more note and shot more photos of this theme.


Very interesting theme. Children always interestingly and fascinatingly. It is necessary to make some illustrations! Thanks for idea!!!


 Shooting nature coloring vector 
I will do a colored version of my camp illustration :)
one blog article - one (or more) illustration
Many thanks!

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