Making memories at your camp is at the heart of what you do for your participants. Documenting all the fun-filled activities, laughter and smiles is easy in the age of hand-held devices and the internet, but sharing those memories with parents and guardians can be a bit of a puzzle. How do you go about taking pictures of all the amazing things your participants are doing? How do you share them with parents while also following proper protocol to keep your participants safe? And what if you want to use some of the images for marketing purposes? Read on to learn the answers to all these questions and more!
If you’re planning to share any images you take of your participants throughout their camp experience, whether it be on your social media platforms, website or via marketing materials, you need to have a photo waiver that parents and guardians sign that gives them the opportunity to accept or decline. Sure, you can have them sign a physical waiver, but why not include it with online registration for your camps? It streamlines the registration process and gives you easily accessible digital copies of the waivers so you can have them on file for as long as you need. Plus, it makes it effortless to retrieve them.
Once you have your photo waiver in place, it’s time to decide who is going to take the photos during your camp. You have several options depending on your budget, which include:
Hire a professional
If your budget permits, hiring a professional to come in on specific days where you have a popular and fun event planned is an ideal option. Usually, professional photographers will have a special (gated) website where people can view the images and order prints or digital copies. If you do decide to use a professional, send the link out (with the password) to your participants’ parents and guardians via email or text so they can see all the amazing photos and pick and choose the ones they want to keep. Maybe even try to work out a deal with the photographer if a lot of parents choose to pay for prints and/or digital copies, which could help lower the cost of having the photographer on premise.
Utilize your staff
It is highly likely that members of your staff have decent smart phones, so why not utilize them to take photos in the moment? They will already be there with the participants and can probably tell when there is a good photo or video opportunity. Sharing the photos with parents will be a little trickier, which we’ll discuss in the next section. However, once your staff shares the photos, you must make sure they remove the images and videos from their smart devices.
Purchase a camp camera
Instead of utilizing your staff and their personal devices, another way to take great photos is via a camp-owned digital camera. Depending on your budget, you can get a great camera that can also take great video, which can easily be uploaded to a computer either through a wired connection or via WiFi created by the digital camera. You can get basic or fancy depending on your wants and needs. You also have the option to assign the camera to a specific employee throughout the duration of the camp or have staff sign up for dates and times in which each person can borrow it.
Image Hosting & Sharing
Now you need to decide where you’ll store the images and how to share them with parents and guardians. Below is a list of free and paid image/video hosting sites to consider, what they offer and how to utilize them. Don’t forget to organize them by camp/season and year!
This application is free to anyone with a Gmail account. However, you only get 15 gigabytes of storage, which is shared across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos. If you want to add more storage, you have to purchase a Google One membership. You can share images directly with anyone who has a Google account, which can mean from staff members to you AND from you to parents. Anyone on staff who has a mobile device can easily share photos directly to the account via a shared album by doing the following, according to Google:
- On your mobile device, open the Google Photos app.
- Sign in to your Google account.
- At the bottom, tap Photos.
- Select photos or videos for the album.
- At the top, tap .
- Tap Shared album.
- Enter an album title.
- When the album is complete, tap Share.
- Select who to share your album with.
- You can share directly to anyone with a Google account if they're in your contacts or by search using their email address or phone number. For everyone else, you can create a link to share.
- When you share a link to your album, anyone with the link can view and add to the album or photos. Learn how shared album controls give your photos more privacy.
- If you share an album that automatically adds photos of face groups, anyone with access to the album can view photos as they're added.
This paid hosting site gives you multiple options for storage, security and more depending on your needs. It even gives you the ability to add a new revenue stream to your organization if parents choose to purchase prints and/or digital images, depending on which yearly plan you choose. Each plan comes with unlimited, full-resolution storage, a personalized photo website, detailed privacy and security control, desktop and mobile apps and 24/7 support.
This site gives you the ability to store and share image files (or files of any kind) safely and securely. You can easily share any file, regardless of size, to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. Any smart device with the Dropbox app can easily upload files securely. Just remember to follow the instructions correctly, otherwise it might take all photos and videos from any device the account is connected to.
This photo sharing app was specifically built with camps in mind and makes sharing images and video easy while also protecting privacy. Plus, it’s mobile-friendly. Using smart-face-finding technology, this app will notify parents/guardians/staff members when photos of them and their family members are uploaded. There is a business plan available which includes 500 GB of cloud storage, a mobile optimized web gallery, unlimited contributors and more. You can add Photo Finder for an additional fee, which includes automated photo sorting powered by facial recognition and gives you the ability to automatically send photos to families through SMS and app alerts.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly and free route, creating a private Facebook group may be your best bet. Any staff member with a Facebook account who is also a member of the private group can easily upload images. Just remember to create albums by season and year to stay organized.
Set Your Organization up for Success With Camp & Class Manager
Easily send out emails, newsletters and texts to your participants’ parents and guardians with Camp & Class Manager from ACTIVE Network. Our all-in-one solution has everything you need to communicate with parents and guardians while also streamlining operations, creating and managing waivers, growing your registrations with a mobile-friendly registration process and opening new revenue streams by offering merchandise. Connect with us today to see what Camp & Class Manager can do for your organization!