Photography camp shows young girls new perspective while exploring Annapolis

Photography camp shows young girls new perspective while exploring Annapolis


Each summer for the last 10 years, Alison Harbaugh has hosted a summer camp to introduce young girls to the wonderful world of photography.

The weeklong Fearless Girls Photography Camp, designed for girls ages 10 to 16, focuses on the key principles and techniques of photography, but one of the main goals is to help instill confidence and individuality through taking pictures, said Harbaugh, owner of Sugar Farms Productions, a photography and video production company in Annapolis.

“I thought it was important to offer a way to show young girls photography to help boost their confidence within the field because when I was growing up opportunities like this weren’t really available,” said Harbaugh.

The camp sessions are divided by age groups. Last week was for a group of 10- to 12-year-olds. This week, eight 13- to 16-year-olds get their turn. That’s fewer than in past years but has allowed for more individual time with each new photographer, Harbaugh said.

Each day the camp starts at 9 a.m. when the whole class comes together to evaluate their pictures from the day before and discuss plans for the day ahead. The sessions focus on a different aspect of storytelling. One day the focus might be about composition and lighting and the next session might be about capturing street photos.

“We aren’t just taking pictures, we are waiting for moments to happen,” Harbaugh told her group of photographers before they headed out to explore downtown Annapolis.

On Tuesday, the girls spent the day walking around downtown looking for photo opportunities. They stopped to snap pictures of a dog near Hillman Garage and asked a man sitting outside Chick and Ruths Delly if he would let them take his portrait.

Harbaugh gets help from assistants, including some who previously attended the camp. This year her assistants are Kaitlyn McQuaid and Maddie Roth.

“Being behind a camera while surrounded by other girls and encouraging mentors gave me confidence in other aspects of my life beyond photography,” said Roth, who attended the camp in 2019.

Roth hopes she can help instill confidence in the newest campers the same way the camp helped her.

One of those young campers this year is Charlotte Reider, 12. She was excited to participate in the camp because her sister had done it in the past and spoke highly of it.

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“What I’ve liked the most about this camp is getting to see things from a different angle,” she said. “I’ve walked around Annapolis plenty but I was never looking at it like I am this week.”

Once campers have picked up some new tricks and are beginning to develop their own style they are invited back for advanced sessions hosted by Harbaugh.

“Night photography is fun and also we travel to other locations like the Graffiti Warehouse in Baltimore to change scenery and present new fun challenges,” she said.

The camp hasn’t expanded to a co-ed session just yet but Harbaugh says that’s on the table.

Fearless Girls Photography Camp costs $300 per camper. It’s one of the many summer camps and seminars being offered through ArtFarm Studio, a creative space in the design district of Annapolis that opened in 2018.

For more information about how to join Fearless Girls Photography Camp or any of the other camps and seminars offered by ArtFarm visit their website at