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What I Learned About Taking Photos at TAP Camp

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

This summer, I developed my photography skills over eight weeks of Theatre Action Project (TAP) Summer Camp. As an amateur photographer, these simple tips can help a lot for someone new to photography and can be used for a wide variety of events.

1) Be prepared. Not only is it important to have a camera, memory card, and fully charged battery before the event, but you should visualize shots before they happen. I would often be able to pre-visualize shots based on previous camper practices where I watched their sequence of performances. At final share day I arrived early to pick spots I knew would be good for different shots (group shots, action shots, close-ups, etc.)

2) Work with what you have. I don’t have the most advanced camera, but I found ways to get great photos by getting close to the action, framing the composition strategically, shooting different perspectives, taking more than enough photos to have a large selection to choose the best from. These are things you can do with any camera.

3) Shoot from the hip. This is similar to shooting different perspectives, but in a different meaning. A lot of times early on, campers would get nervous in front of the camera because they either didn’t know me, were camera-shy, or any number of things. Sometimes I would switch from using the camera pin hole to the camera’s screen and hold my camera lower as if I was viewing previous shots. Then when a camper would get up and do something spontaneous and thought no one had a camera on them, I would get some of the funniest, most expressive photos of campers.

4) Be social. When someone doesn’t know who you are, even with the identification of your organization’s T-shirt, they are more reluctant to want their picture taken by you. But if you introduce yourself and chat with them, they will open up to you. At final share day I would talk to parents a bit to get to know them and their camper, what they enjoyed about camp. This was not only a great way to be social but helped me get great family photos.

To see photos from every week of  TAP Summer Camp, plus more TAP events go to our Flickr.

P.S. My first day of school memory happened in Kindergarten when I met one of my best friends by playing with Hot Wheels cars.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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