3 things to ask when interviewing a camp photographer
Hiring photographers, videographers, and media staff for your camp can be challenging. How do you know what questions to ask? Don’t worry, I have you covered. I started my career as a camp photographer back in 2011, and since have mentored, hired, and trained some great photographers for McGaw YMCA Camp Echo. Below I will explain three things you should ask every photographer who applies for a role at your camp. These same questions can be asked to other media staff like videographers, social media staff, and general media staff.
1) ASK FOR A PORTFOLIO
When first reaching out to set up an interview, ask them to send you a portfolio. Request to see the photos that most represent the images they will create this summer. It doesn’t have to be a fancy website. I normally just ask them to share a Google Drive of photos. This is a great way for you to see a few critical things:
What photos they think represent camp. When I look at these portfolios, I’m hoping for outside portraits that include candid shots of people.
What type of camera is used. If they are using a DSLR, this is a good sign that they have made the investment into photography.
The quality of photos and if you like their style and framing. This will help in the interview process.
If the portfolio is not what you are looking for, this is also a good time to filter your applications and not move forward in the interviewing process.
2) WHO IS THE AUDIENCE?
Being able to take photos is one part of being the camp photographer. Knowing who the audience is and how to take photos for that audience is key. In the interview, ask the candidate, “Who do you think the audience of your photos will be this summer?” Hopefully this will tell you a lot about what type of photos they think they will be taking this summer. The answer you are looking for is parents! Bonus points if they talk about safety as well. You are looking for a candidate who understands the importance of their role as camp photographer and how they are representing camp to the outside world--and how their photography can help support the mission of the camp.
3) GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
A great camp photographer will look to go above and beyond in their role. They can do this in many ways. During the interview process, ask them about ways they could go above and beyond in their role this summer. Positive answers could include:
Social Media: creating content, making a social media calendar for the summer, and posting photos. Push them to think of new ways to engage with followers like asking questions on Instagram stories, or making a poll on Facebook, or vlogging on YouTube.
Video work: video is key to create engaging social media content, b-roll for your annual campaign video or interviews with campers and staff. If you can find a candidate with a good background in video, this is great!
Year-round projects - It is hugely beneficial to have a photographer who can create materials that can be used for year-round communications and promotions. Some ideas are Valentine’s Day messages from campers, interviews with staff and campers about why you should sign up for camp to post when registration opens up, or asking donors to give around giving season.
If you can find a candidate who can talk about going above and beyond in their interview in any of these ways, then they are definitely worth your consideration!
I hope these tips help you on your quest to finding a great camp photographer. I feel this is one of the most important roles you will hire this summer. The photographer gives your parents an eye into what is happening at camp. A great camp photographer will provide visual memories for campers to hold onto for a lifetime. Alternatively, a poor hire will lead to lots of angry parent phone calls. Enough said!
If you would like any other advice or support with this process feel free to email me (Gavin)! Good luck!