FOTOcamp Students Show off Skills with Camera and in Photoshop Lightroom

by Katie Yates

It’s around 1pm when I join the FOTOcamp students in a Photoshop Lightroom session with instructor Jennifer Walker. Each student has their own computer and they’re following along with Jen, who is showing them the differences between contrast, saturation, and vibrance. Fresh from a walk to CityPlace, each of them is bubbling with excitement over the images captured.

“While walking around CityPlace, we stopped to take pictures of five adorable little dogs! Some of them were super crazy while others were calm and smiled for their picture,” FOTOcamp student Emilia M. told me, hovering inches from her computer screen, showing off the photographs she took.

“Taking pictures at CityPlace was a great experience,” says student Mercedes C. “We got to photograph restaurants, stores, people, dogs. I’m so grateful for this opportunity!”

I ask the students as a group: “What do you like to take pictures of best?”

They all chime in, excited to share their creative vision, they shout out every subject from flowers to their friends.

Some are brand new to photography while others already seem like professionals! At just 13 years old, student Allison R.  has a website she created for her photography portfolio. This is her second year as a FOTOcamp student. “I enjoyed CityPlace,” she says, “we got to take pictures from all genres.”

“How many pictures did you get while on your walk?” I have to wonder. The answers range from 100 to well over 600 images!

I ask them all to select their favorite to be featured on the Facebook page, a challenging request. Somehow from all those hundreds of photos, each student manages to select a strong image, edit it, and present it for use on our social media— and this is just their second day of camp! Each of them displays incredible talent and I’m impressed.

They’ll be going to JimmyChangas, a local restaurant, to get a behind-the-scenes look before it opens, and Jen wants them to be prepared. She adjusts the lights from very dark to dim, and tells them how to set their ISO, and use their flash. The students are laughing as they practice taking pictures in the dark.

During Jen’s instruction, student Austin B. flutters from one student to another, helping them select their images, adjust their camera settings, and shows them different features in Lightroom. “Wow!” I say. “You’re an expert!”  Austin responds, “Well, this is my second session of FOTOcamp!” He’s eager to share his knowledge of photography.

I ask Gabriella G. what she thought of CityPlace. She says, “I liked all the shops and restaurants… I am new here and I really like it. It is fun and I meet new people.”

I can easily see, FOTOcamp helps students develop skills and friendships that will last a lifetime!

As I am about to leave, I thank the students for letting me hang out with them for an afternoon. We manage to snag this great shot of all the FOTOfun.