If you want to engage parents and give them a true glimpse into the fun of summer camp life, Pictures and videos are the way to go. But in the crazy-busy life of a camp leader, it’s easy to overlook the most crucial aspect of getting the snapshots and videos parents will love. And that’s the gear you’ll need.

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already become a part of the Campanion family. If so, you might be searching for some reliable summer camp gear to help you capture every moment at camp.

We’ve compiled a list of some tried and true, must-have equipment options (and some tips on how to get the most out of them) to get you geared up for recording those summer camp memories.

Must-Have Picture and Video Gear

Smartphone Cameras

Let’s start with the simplest way to capture those spontaneous pictures throughout the day. Get your staff in on the pic and video fun, using their smart camera phones. You can even make it fun by adding in a little healthy competition. See who can get the most epic angle during a summer camp game or who can capture the most heartfelt moment.

Your camp may not allow smartphone usage among staff, or you might not want them to be attached to their phones all summer long. If either of these is the case for you, consider the following when making equipment choices for your media team, if your camp has one.

A quick note: the tips below are for the iPhone, the most popular smartphone, but the same is true for many of the major smartphone cameras and apps.

Why you should make the iPhone an integral part of your summer camp media gear

  • Immediate sharing: The iPhone makes it easy to snap a picture or video and upload it to Campanion, Facebook, or any other photo sharing platform. Within 2-3 minutes, you could have parents interacting with your pics or videos and sharing them for their friends and family.
  • Enhance photos with filters: The iPhone itself, or free apps that you can quickly download, can help you enhance your pics or videos with filters. Throw on a standard filter, or get creative with some funky or unique customizable app features.
  • Quick and easy editing: You can edit photos directly from your iPhone camera roll, or you can download any number of free, user-friendly apps to zoom, crop, adjust lighting, or add cool effects that enhance your pics or videos.
  • Easy focus: The iPhone is a great choice for capturing a moment with its pinch and zoom focusing feature. Focus in on your subject with a tap of a finger.
  • Small and lightweight: You can carry the iPhone around in your pocket, throw it into a purse or bag, or just click it on to your belt.
  • Durable cases available: Just about any smartphone that you choose will have durable case options including shockproof or waterproof features.

The bottom line? iPhones and other smartphones are an easy way to get pictures and videos of moderate to high quality and share them virtually instantly.

The DSLR

Your summer camp gear list simply can’t go without a faithful DSLR camera.

 

DSLR

 

It can be tempting to bypass the DSLR in favor of a less expensive or less intimidating camera. But, if you want to get those essential camp snapshots (the ones that make parents gasp with delight), there’s nothing like a DSLR. No other camera that can give you the creative control and high-quality images that this professional camera can.

Of course, it’s a good idea to choose a durable model. Check out a list of weather-sealed DSLRs here.

Why the DSLR is a must-add for your summer gear collection

  • High-quality shots: The full range of control, from lighting to zoom, is a photographer’s delight with a DSLR. If you’re dedicating a less-experienced staffer to your media team, you’ll want to point them to a bit of training to take full advantage of the camera’s functionality.
  • Options for different types of pictures and settings: Scenery, night, action shots… there are settings for just about any circumstance.
  • Adjustable shutter speed: This helps prevent blurry pictures.
  • Automatic or manual focus: Choose which is easiest for you.

Yes, there’s a learning curve, but DSLRs take beautiful pictures right off the bat.

The GoPro

Ziplining, canoeing, water rafting, biking-  summer camp is full of video-worthy adventure. The GoPro is the easy choice for videos that bring your parents close to that camp action. You can attach this durable camera to just about anything, including the campers.

We thought you’d like to see just how awesome the GoPro is at bringing you right into the middle of the action. Check out this video compilation featuring summer campers “Taking on the Blob”:

 

 

This video really shows you why a GoPro is a logical addition to your summer camp gear package. Not only can parents experience camp right alongside their kids, but GoPros also are great because they’re:

  • Rugged and durable: They can handle dirt and water. Unlike pretty much any other camera, the GoPro was designed from the outset to handle the roughest conditions.
  • Small, easy to carry: You can throw the GoPro in your backpack, in your camp supply bag, or even in your pocket.
  • They are versatile: You can use a GoPro in low light or bright light. Whether you’re out in the woods at dusk or in a field when the sun is blazing, you can get equally beautiful shots.
  • Compatible or attachable to just about anything: Buy a few types of mounts to attach the GoPro to bike handlebars or helmets.

The Drone

Drones used to be considered a novelty, but more and more people have begun to recognize the power of drone footage in marketing a summer camp. Over the years, they’ve become less expensive and easier to use with just a bit of practice. Drone footage can also provide the “wow” factor that you’re looking for when you want to give your parents an above-it-all, big-picture vision of camp. Check out this video from Centre Camp, and you’ll see how drone footage can take your camp videos to the next level.

 

 

A drone can also be used to take creative, stunning pictures that will draw an audience into your story.

Here are some creative ways to get the most out of your drone at camp this summer:

  1. Get drone footage of games and sports. Want every parent to be able to see games like a professional broadcast? From an aerial view, parents are able to see every kid and every move on the playing field. 
  2. Convey your unique setting to your audience. Whether your camp is nestled in a beautiful wooded area or in the middle of a bustling city, use your drone to show off your location.
  3. Position your kids into the shape of your camp’s logo or name. What a great way to get in the spirit of summer camp! Spell out the name of your camp or convey the shape of your logo and get the drone to capture the aerial view.
  4. Add bright colors to take drone footage to the next level. You can get some amazing photos and videos if you take advantage of color contrast. If you’re snapping shots of a pristine blue lake, put the kids in a bright inflatable or wrap them in bright towels. The pictures below give you an idea of the aesthetic appeal that you can get by coupling the drone with contrasting colors.

Create stunning pictures with a drone.

The Compact Underwater Camera

Chances are, your campers will spend a lot of time swimming this summer. Catch epic snapshots and videos of swimming, snorkeling, or diving campers with an underwater camera like the Olympus TG-5 or the Panasonic LX10. Or, use the GoPro Hero7 for both your high-energy action videos and your underwater fun.

Underwater cameras are a smart choice if your summer camp participates in a lot of water sports or activities. Here are some advantages of adding a compact underwater camera to your summer gear:

  • Small size: Avoid lugging around an underwater DSLR and all of the other equipment that goes along with it. Simply tuck a compact underwater camera into your beach bag.
  • Low price: Underwater camera equipment can get really expensive really quickly. However, if you choose a compact, you should be able to get a quality camera for about $450 or less.
  • Unique pictures and videos: You simply can’t get what a compact underwater camera gives you any other way. Springing for an underwater camera is the key to the unique and engaging pictures and videos that parents love.

Check out this exciting video from a snorkeling club in Singer Island, Florida. We love how they incorporated simple underwater videos and pictures into this compilation video.

 

Supplemental Gear That You Simply Can’t Pass Up

Stabilizer

In order to give your videos the professional feel you’re looking for, you’ll want to buy a stabilizer. Why is this piece of equipment a must-have? Put simply, stabilizers take what would have been a shaky, jumpy video and make it appear smooth and professional. They are designed to minimize the effects of the photographer walking, running, jumping or moving. That way, the only movement you notice is that of the kids playing ball or running a relay race.

You can purchase a stabilizer for just about any type of camera. So, if your budget is limited, we recommend purchasing a stabilizer that is versatile enough to be used for different camera types. Or, if you know which type of camera you’ll use the most for high-energy shots, just get one stabilizer for that particular camera.

Multiple Lenses

If you only have one DSLR lens, you may find it frustrating if you can only get that beautiful photo if you’re standing a certain distance away. Instead, make sure you opt for two lenses: one for close range and one for landscapes. Usually, a second lens will be an additional purchase, but it’s one you don’t want to do without. Alternating between close-range and landscape lenses allows your photographer greater versatility and a more productive photo session.

Polarizer

You’re probably going to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer, and sun can play havoc with lighting when taking shots, especially around water. That’s why we recommend purchasing a polarizer for your DSLR. A polarizer is made to limit the amount of light that enters your DSLR camera lens.

A polarizer will give you saturated colors by removing light reflections, add definition to photos, and protect your lens from the elements. If you love the beautiful lighting you get when you take pictures at dusk, you’ll love a polarizer. It provides that same effect for pictures taken on the brightest days.

Tripod

Like a stabilizer, tripods help to give you stability as you take pictures and videos. If you’d like to take multiple shots from one angle, the tripod will help you with consistency (distance from the subject and angle or perspective of the subject). It also allows you to take video without a photographer behind the camera.

Camera Backpack

You’ll be out in the elements all summer long, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got protection for your gear. The best options have multiple padded pockets to fit all of your new cameras and accompanying gear. You also want to find a camera case that is easily transportable, either on wheels or lightweight enough to carry.

Batteries and Memory Cards

Don’t find yourself out of battery life or memory when you’re far from home base. We know what it’s like to set up the perfect shot and then see that dreaded flashing light. To make sure you don’t miss out on recording those memories, be sure to have back-up batteries and memory cards on hand at all times.

Your Summer Media Gear

No matter what you choose to add to your media gear equipment this summer, remember that pictures and video are the best way to engage parents in a positive way. Plus, the pictures and videos that you share can make an impact on more than just the parents of your campers. Showcase your camp to your town, your community, or even your state by ramping up your media presence. Campanion is here to help

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