Photos: Campminder or Waldo - New Camper Blog Series

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Another Tuesday means another post in our New Camper Blog series. Today, we’re going to be talking about camp pictures, specifically the different ways you can view pictures during the summer. Let’s jump in!

Let’s talk about pictures in general first: we take LOTS of pictures each day during the summer (and by lots, I’m talking over a thousand). We hire staff specifically with the job of taking photos during classes, and we also have staff taking photos during Evening Programs at night. These photos are a great way to catch a glimpse of your daughter while she is enjoying camp!

Here are some things to know about our photos overall:

  • We always try to take the very best photos that we can, but we are also going for quantity as well. We want you to see your daughter, so we don’t take only one professional grade shot when we visit Waterpark. We take 40 pictures to snag a photo of each camper. This way, you can see your daughter in action each day (hopefully!).
  • Overall, our photos are good! We use great equipment and are always updating to new cameras. We hire a Photo Intern each summer to oversee our photo process, and this helps in making sure we consistently take great photos.
  • We post photos throughout the day, and these uploads happen during two time periods: after morning classes during lunch, and at the end of the day after Evening Program.
  • Over the course of each week, we will hit as many classes as we can during the day and keep track of where all of our cabins are going during the day. Our photographers keep track of which classes they have visited and mark them off on our master list. We try to hit a range of classes, and also try to get a range of ages in each class over the course of the summer.
  • Just because we keep track of cabins and which classes they will visit, it doesn’t mean your daughter will be in a picture every day or that we will snag a picture of her in every one of her classes. Our goal is to get some great photos from each class but also for our photographers to keep moving. Your daughter may not be in the picture we took during her class period (she may be in the bathroom or doing another activity in a different part of the class). Don’t worry, just check soon, and you’ll find a picture!
  • Encourage your daughter to jump in front of the camp cameras. We have cameras everywhere! Remind your daughter that you want to see her in pictures. Most of our campers LOVE having their pictures taken, but if you’re not seeing pictures of your daughter, shoot her an email to remind her. Also, if you haven’t seen pictures of her in a few days, shoot her an email and tell her you want to see her in some pictures!

Now that you know how we take photos, let’s talk about how to view those photos during the summer. When viewing photos, you have two options: Campminder and Waldo.


What it is: Campminder is our database system (the same system you use to fill out your Online Forms), and we post all of our photos in Campminder each day. We divide these photos by day and by time period (so, we have a Morning Activities, Afternoon Activities, and Evening Program folder each day). You can browse through all of the photos in a visually appealing photo stream, and then you can favorite photos as you go (allowing you to have your best photos saved in one location). You can download photos for free straight to your device or computer, allowing for easy saving and sharing.

Advantages of viewing photos in Campminder: If you want to get a great feel for camp, scanning through Campminder will give you the full camp experience. You’ll really get a sense of what is happening. While Waldo is very accurate, by scanning through Campminder, you can make sure to never miss a photo of your daughter…and you may even catch her in the background of a photo, which can be fun. Using Campminder over many years, you’ll have all of the photos you favorited in one spot, which is very helpful.

Disadvantages of viewing photos in Campminder: As I mentioned above, we post thousands of photos each day. If you’re going to really look through each photo, it’s going to take some time! You could also scan through thousands of photos and never see a picture of your daughter (or possibly miss one), if she didn’t get in front of the camera that day.


What it is: Waldo is an optional, add-on facial recognition service we offer to families that costs an additional fee. You have the option to sign up for this (if you’d like) before your session begins (we will send more information a week before your session). You will upload a headshot of your daughter, and then each time we post photos online, Waldo will scan through these photos for you. When Waldo finds a match to your daughter, Waldo will send these photos straight to your phone. You can invite family members (for free!) once you’ve signed up so that they can also receive photos of your daughter.

Advantages of using Waldo for photos: Because we post so many photos online, Waldo is the quick and easy way to see photos of your daughter. No need to scroll through pages of photos, Waldo takes the work out of it, making photo viewing simple. For a facial recognition service, Waldo is incredibly accurate, often finding side profiles of your daughter in the background. Dads claim they have “gotten their wives back” in the summer, as they are no longer spending hours scrolling through photos.

Disadvantages of using Waldo for photos: Waldo is an additional fee. You must pay in order to use the service, while Campminder is completely free to use. While Waldo is very accurate, occasionally it will miss a photo or tag an incorrect photo of your daughter (note: the system does “learn as it goes” and will correct itself once it has a better sampling of photos, but still can miss things occasionally).

One special note for this summer: Waldo doesn’t work with masks. The facial recognition program can’t accurately tag your daughter if she is wearing a mask. While campers will spend large portions of their day without masks, there will be times when your daughter will be in a picture while wearing a mask, and you would miss that photo in Waldo.

Which service should I use?

So, which service should you use? It really depends on what you want as a parent.

  • For parents who want it all and want to see everything, use Campminder. It will give you the best overall view of what camp is like and will allow you to make sure you find your daughter in every single picture, no matter how small she may be in the background or if she is wearing a mask.

  • For parents who want photos sent instantly to them and want it to be as easy as possible, sign up for Waldo. The fee is very reasonable, and it is a delight to receive texts throughout the day with pictures of your daughter.

  • For parents who want the best of both worlds, use BOTH. We have MANY parents who do this. For example, you may work full time or you may be on vacation…having Waldo in situations like these is great! You can receive photos throughout the day and don’t have to worry about checking Campminder multiple times. Then, when you are off work or when you return from your trip, you can take the time to go through the Campminder photos to really “see it all.” Parents also comment that Waldo helps them find their daughter once they are looking at pictures in Campminder – because they have seen a photo of their daughter and know what she is wearing that day, they can quickly find her in the big mass of photos much easier when switching to Campminder.

I hope this has helped answer questions about summer photos; feel free to ask more questions below – we will help you figure out the best photo solution for YOU. See you next week for another New Camper blog!

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