Camp Photos

I appreciate this new philosophy and didn’t realize what I was doing last summer. I did check the app obsessively to see him, and there weren’t that many of him, which kept me coming back hoping for more. I don’t think daily photos are necessary at all…I appreciate you thinking about this and taking our thoughts into consideration. This is what makes your camp so great.
-GAC Parent, 2019

Dear GAC Parents,

Our primary focus at GAC is providing our campers with an amazing camp experience where they have fun, make friends, and grow.

We also do our best to help you – as parents – have a positive experience while your child is with us. We are committed to providing parent communication and education, especially during the summer season, but also throughout the year.

During your child’s stay, our goal is to provide you with a glimpse into the experience your child is having at camp.

This summer we will be uploading photos to a private, password-protected album in SmugMug. You will be able to view, download, and share photos for free. We will share details and instructions for accessing photos prior to your child’s arrival at camp.

How to know what’s happening at GAC

News (what’s happening at camp, accessed on our homepage)

Blog (longer articles & posts)

Whadda Day! Podcast (a daily podcast with a summary of what’s happening at camp)

Emails & text messages – sent only to parents that the information relates to. For example, Session 1 weekly email news is only sent to our Session 1 parents. If you want to be sure to receive our emails, make sure that mail@goldarrowcamp.com is an approved sender in your email server.

If you’re on social media, we often share photos, videos, and links to news, blog posts, and podcast episodes on Facebook and Instagram.

The “Dark Side” of Camp Photos

Some camp parents report obsessively checking and viewing camp photos multiple times per day throughout their child’s stay. And while we understand the desire for parents to see their child having fun at camp, we also know that there is a value for parents – just like there is a value for our campers – of practicing being separated from one another. By posting so many photos multiple times a day, we inadvertently promoted the over-parenting that summer camp experiences are such a great antidote for.

Campers’ in-the-moment experiences or challenges can be disrupted by a camera being present and the focus becomes capturing the moment rather than living in it.

Parents are, understandably, interested in seeing photos of their own child, and it is impossible for our photographers to meet these expectations in terms of quantity and quality of photos of each individual child. 

In order to ensure that our uploaded photos are a positive experience for you, we want to be sure you know what to expect and what our photo priorities are.

Here are a few things we know about uploading camp photos

• Parents appreciate this service and look forward to seeing photos from camp, because you miss your kids and seeing a happy photo or video is reassuring.

• The photos we upload are meant to be just a small “window” into the fun of camp, not a comprehensive record of every event and activity.

• Some children pass in front of the “window” of the camera more than others. Some campers jump in front of the camera, and some run and hide from it.

• Our campers, staff, and parents love having photos of some of their treasured memories from GAC, so we’ll do our best to capture some of the highlights of what’s happening without interfering with the campers’ experiences.

• For some campers, our attempt to document their experience can make them self conscious and get in the way of the experience. We will do our best to get a few quality action photos of each camper.

A photographer takes summer camp photos on a boat at a children's summer camp in California

I love your photo service and would rather have more candid shots than posed or forced photos. I just like seeing what they are doing and the beautiful scenery. I don’t want my child being taken out of the moment just to get a photo to make me feel more secure.
-GAC Parent, 2019

In this era, when we’re so accustomed to recording every moment of our child’s lives, camp offers a nice break for kids from this constant recording. Instead of worrying about what their photo will look like, they can focus on being in the moment.

For parents, when we’ve (in the past) uploaded photos more than once per day, they’ve told us stories about refreshing the feed multiple times a day to see if they can get a glimpse of their child.

This summer, in addition to capturing photos at special events like Big Campfire (skit night) and the dance, our photographers will be assigned to take photos of each cabin at ONE activity per week. Your child’s activity photos could be from the beginning of the week or the end of the week, and we cannot take requests for photos at a specific activity. You may go several days without seeing any photos of your child. Or, you may see your child pop up in a lot of photos from different special events.

Parents should see the photos as a bonus, not something expected or judge whether or not there were enough photos of their child. It’s about the memories for the child, not the amount of photos.
-GAC Parent, 2019

The photos we take at camp are used for more than just uploads. We take photos to record and commemorate the session, and our campers and staff look forward to our end-of-session slideshow that features some of the highlights of the session. We share this slideshow with everyone after the session is over on our YouTube channel.

We also strive to get a beautiful action photo of each camper at an activity.

By far, the photo service parents have told us they most appreciate and benefit from while their child is at camp is our uploaded photos. And, we hope that you’ll share your favorites with your camper when they get home, so that they can share their memories with you.

What to expect

  • Lots of great pictures of camp life, but your specific camper might not appear in one for several days in a row.
  • Group photos in the first few days of camp so that you can see your child at camp, with their cabin group.
  • A quality action shot of your camper at one activity per week. This could be a photo of them as an individual (such as while kneeboarding or kayaking) or in a pair or group (such as while sailing).
  • Our team will upload photos once per day around midday, Monday through Saturday. Photos will be uploaded and available the day after they’ve been taken. If, due to technical issues (such as glitches with our mountain internet service) we will not be able to upload photos on a particular day, we’ll let you know with a news item or an email message.
  • Because many special events happen at camp over the weekend (Saturday evening & Sunday specifically), our photographers will prioritize taking photos over the weekend, not sorting and uploading. Saturday and Sunday photos will be uploaded on Monday.

We have appreciated your feedback and look forward to capturing fun moments this summer!

To see a summary of what 2019 camp parents told us on our photo survey, please click here.

Resources/Related Posts & Articles

The Dark Side of Looking at Camp Photos Online (Huff Post)

Parents Scrutinize Online Camp Photos to Check on Kids (Wall Street Journal)

Summer Camp Online Photos (The New York Jewish Week) 

Dear Parent Hitting the Refresh Button (Again) to View Camp Photos