Summer Photography Camps for Teens

Photo of the photographer, taking a photo image by Aleksej Kostin from

Artistically-minded teens are able to hone their photography skills at a range of specialist summer camps. Held across America, these camps cater for everyone from beginners to students who already boast a portfolio bursting with snapshots. Such courses are enjoyable and are often a good means of gaining college credits or getting an early career head-start by learning real-life skills from experienced professionals.

School of Cinema and Performing Arts

The School of Cinema and Performing Arts (SOCAPA) offers summer photography camps in New York City for teens ages 13 to 19. The two or three-week intensive courses, all of which are held in Greenwich Village, allow students to focus either on 35mm darkroom or digital photography, though in both cases an emphasis is placed on aesthetics and building up an impressive portfolio. Due to the program's links to SOCAPA's art, music and fashion camps, student assignments include taking part in fashion shoots, documenting a concert or working in a busy studio. A range of specialist courses geared toward beginner, intermediate and advanced teen photographers are available, and students enrolled for three weeks can earn AP college credits issued by Long Island University.

Visual Arts Academy

The Visual Arts Academy runs intensive summer courses in film and photography for teens ages 13 to 18 at both Vassar College in New York's Hunter Valley and Stanford University in the San Francisco Bay area. The two-week camps are geared towards teaching students "real-world" photography skills, including the use of industry-standard production software such as Photoshop and Final Cut, and helping expand their portfolios.

Photographers of all ability levels are welcome on the residential camps and the Visual Arts Academy offers a guaranteed maximum student-to-tutor ratio of 8 to 1. Away from the camera-skills classes, campers are also able to enjoy a range of activities including evening sports and day trips.

Corcoran College of Art and Design

The Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., offers two-week-long summer photography courses geared toward high school students considering pursuing the subject at college. The college's summer photography program allows students the choice of either a photojournalism or a fine arts journalism pathway, with both options potentially leading to two college semester credits.

The course is long and intensive, with the institution explaining that students can expect to be in the classroom, in the studio or on location from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Accommodations are provided on the campus of Georgetown University and, though there are no formal entrance requirements, students must be over the age of 16 and show a keen interest in photography in order to earn a place in the program.

"National Geographic" Photo Camps

"National Geographic" runs a range of photography workshops for youths from disadvantaged communities across America, usually in partnership with local newspapers or other organisations. Past camp projects have included tasking teens in San Francisco with capturing images of urban marine sanctuaries, and asking Florida youths to capture images of their "big blue backyard." Details of past and future camps, both in America and elsewhere in the world, can be found on the "National Geographic" photography web page.

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