- 09 Jun
Camp Breeds Winners: Katelyn Barclay
We’re launching a new series here at It’s A Camp Thing called CAMP BREEDS WINNERS, because let’s face it, they do! In this series we will be highlighting current campers and camp alumni who have done something great, from starting businesses to charity events and more! We’re rolling out our first installment with Katelyn Barclay, a Camp Matoaka alumni who started Teenography! Read below…
1. What sparked your interest in photography?
My grandfather was an avid photographer and would take me out when I was younger to photograph flowers. After receiving a camera as a gift when I was 12, I decided to take photography as my elective at school. From there, the rest is history!
2. How long have you been interested in photography?
I got really into photography when I took my first photography class in 7th grade, so I would say for about 5 or so years. I’ve been taking photography and learning about perspective, lighting and more ever since.
3. Is photography a common hobby in your family?
Yes! My grandfather loved photography and would carry a camera wherever he went.
4. What inspired you to create the Teenography business?
I was inspired to create Teenography after family members and friends asked me to shoot events or portrait sessions. Because I am a full-time student and competitive travel volleyball player, I had to turn down many great opportunities. I figured that if I couldn’t take advantage of these amazing opportunities, I could find other ambitious teenagers that would like to and I already knew of some talented photographers through my school program.
5. How many staff members have you employed at Teenography? Is there a high interest?
Because the concept of Teenography has been so well-received, I’ve worked hard to continually increase the staff to keep up with demand. Teenography currently has 16 teenagers on staff, of which 12 are photographers in Broward and Palm Beach. I’m looking to expand to Dade County over the next few months as we have had many requests from the area. I have been fortunate to hire some of the best teen photographers around, but it is not easy to find teen photographers who have the knowledge and skills we need and who want to dedicate part of their weekends working. We get emails periodically from teens who are interested in working for Teenography, but we’ve been more successful hiring through referrals from other Teenographers.
6. Do you require a certain amount of prior experience or training before assigning photographers to events?
I like our Teenographers to be trained through photography classes, but also have found some very talented teens who have been taught by their parents who are avid photographers. I require all candidates to submit a portfolio and that gives me a good idea of their eye, the quality of their work and their potential. All Teenographers are required to have their own DSLR camera and other equipment, including lenses, flashes, etc. Before becoming a Teenographer, each teen is required to work an event or two with a current photographer so we can see how they interact with the client and see what kind of portfolio they can produce during a real event.
7. What services do you provide for clients?
We provide photography, videography and photo books.
8. What kind of events do you assign photographers?
9. How do people learn about Teenography? Do you rely heavily on social media?
Almost all of our marketing is by word of mouth. The moms and dads in our community rave about Teenography and word has gotten around very fast about us! We also cover community service events and that results in additional exposure because we post our portfolios for everyone to see and the organizations are usually very appreciative and mention Teenography. We are on both Facebook and Instagram, but do not rely heavily on social media or do a lot of extra marketing because we already have a lot of demand.
10. Do you handle all of the business aspects yourself?
Other than my mom answering the phone while I am in class and helping with emails and uploading portfolios when I need, I handle the day-to-day aspects of the business.
11. How long do you plan to keep Teenography going?
I would love to give one of the younger Teenographers the same opportunity I have had to learn how to run a business. It’s been a great learning experience and one of them may be interested when I go to college, although everyone has their own style so I will need to figure out the details and discuss it with my parents. Because it is a business and we have very loyal clients, we owe it to them to keep it up and running!
12. Is Teenography difficult to manage with academics and other activities?
I know that academics come first no matter what. In addition, I have a large commitment to my travel volleyball team with practices and tournaments. Finding the balance was very difficult at first because I also took on some leadership roles at school with student government and also running the student organization that markets and gives tours for University School. It took a while, but managing everything I do inside and outside of school has gotten easier over time.
13. What have been your biggest challenges with regard to Teenography?
The biggest challenge would be finding talented and dedicated Teenographers. We cover events and have been very fortunate to find really responsible teens who show up on time and follow through on their commitments. However, we could use to grow the staff more and it’s not easy to find teens who have this great equipment, have been trained and want to work.
14. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment with Teenography?
I think our biggest accomplishment is winning first place in the 2015 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge—High School Track. I also think our growth has been a big success and I’m proud of the way our concept has been received by our clients and executed by our Teenographers.
1. How was your camp experience as a child?
2. How many years did you attend camp?
I went to Camp Matoaka for 6 years—from the age of 10 to 15. I would still be there if I could!
3. What were some of your favorite activities at camp?
I loved pretty much anything adventurous, but waterski and ropes course were my favorite.
4. Did camp have any influence on building your Teenography business?
Absolutely, but indirectly! I went to camp without knowing a single person. Matoaka gave me a comfortable place to push my boundaries with meeting new people and being adventurous away from the comfort of home. I learned to take risks and try things, and I grew into a confident person that may never have considered trying to create my own company otherwise.
5. Camps staff photographers, have you thought about expanding your business into other areas that could utilize your services?
I have given it some thought, but our current specialty in children’s birthday parties has kept us incredibly busy; if we were to expand, I think that would definitely be a natural extension of Teenography because it is similar to working with kids at birthday parties.
6. Were there any skills acquired at camp (ex. leadership skills) that have helped you with this endeavor?
The biggest traits I acquired at camp that are directly transferable to Teenography would be leadership and being daring. Matoaka is set up where the older girls are expected to be good role models for the younger girls. I learned from them and was ready to set good examples for the younger girls when it was my turn. I also learned a lot about how to deal with others. Living closely with so many girls gave me a chance to learn about people’s personalities, how to be diplomatic and how to handle different situations. Camp also allowed me to develop my bold and daring side as my favorite activity was the ropes course. I got pretty accustomed to jumping off of really high platforms and taking risks. The risk that ropes involves is very helpful when becoming an entrepreneur because without risk, there is no innovation!
1. What’s a unique item you didn’t leave for camp without?
I could never leave for camp without my bag full of string for friendship bracelets!
2. Do you listen to music in the shower?
I can’t take a shower without my music!
3. What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
I don’t really like breakfast foods, like cereal or pancakes. If I have to eat breakfast, it’s usually one of dad’s smoothies or yogurt with berries and granola.
4. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Flight or invisibility would be really cool. I always thought being able to be teleported somewhere would be really awesome!
5. What’s your least favorite vegetable?
I cannot stand mushrooms.
6. What’s a quirky fact about yourself?
As weird as it sounds, I am really good at catching food in my mouth when someone throws it up in the air!
7. Can you touch your tongue to your nose?
No (and I’m not sure I would want to ).
Have a story about how CAMP BREEDS WINNERS? Submit it now to firstname.lastname@example.org!