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After 14+ months of planning, we’re mentoring Guatemalan teenagers in photography! 

In the fall of 2015, I sensed God urging me to go outside my comfort zone and start a photography workshop with youth living at orphanages in Guatemala. I wasn’t sure exactly how to begin, so I prayed about it, shared my idea in a blog, and waited. A year went by, and then a couple of months ago, a Guatemalan photographer named Haroldo contacted me about helping teach a photography workshop. He’s a friend of IAA alumni Ivette Alvarado, who was inspired by the vision I shared in my blog. We met to discuss the details, and his excitement and support grew even more. So, Saturday, March 11th, Haroldo, and I taught our first class on photography theory. 

In that first workshop, we asked the students to take a few moments and outline personal goals for the class. After they were finished, we invited them to share their goals with the rest of the class. One child spoke up, “For me, photography will give me another opportunity.” I was so excited because this is one of the reasons why I wanted to pursue this workshop in the first place – to give these children more opportunities … opportunities to express themselves, to use photography as a source of income later in life, and to learn and grow! It was great to see that reality come to life in the first class! After sharing time, we dove into the basic camera fundamentals of how cameras work and how to care for the equipment. Then, we gave them the opportunity to take some pictures, and they were thrilled!

We’ve returned to the orphanage several times since then, introducing new concepts for them to practice to develop stronger photo compositions. After our teaching time, students put those concepts into practice, such as: the rule of thirds, f-stop and Bokeh, indoor artificial lighting techniques (i.e. speed lights), outdoor portraiture and reflectors, long exposures, action shots and shutter speed, etc.  

At the end of the photography course, we’ll host a photography exhibit for the students to display their best work for the orphanage staff and residents. From there, each student will submit their best photo to be displayed and sold in a coffee shop in the United States to promote the project and students! All proceeds will go back to fund the continued photography endeavors of the students.  

One of my dreams is to provide the students with cameras at the end of the workshop, so they will be able to continue developing their skills. I believe God is in this and will help us make these dreams reality. We’ve already received some donations of camera gear, which has been a huge encouragement! Would you please commit to praying for us as we teach these 8 young men?

Do you have a DSLR camera that you aren’t using? Would you consider donating it to help us with this mission? Please contact us.

I’m so excited to see the talents of each student develop over the course of the next 6 months, and anxious to share their work with you all as they learn and thrive in documenting the life around them. Thank you so much for your partnership in this ministry! Stay tuned for more!

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