NOTICE: Due to COVID-19 Camp Wirkshop July 2020 session has been cancelled. Please fill out our contact form for info on alternate dates in August 2020 as well as for info on Camp Wirkshop 2021.

“Camp Encourage and Camp Wirkshop was an experience that will touch my heart forever. I’ve never met a group of people who were so talented and passionate about what they do. I learned from everyone : Tyler, Brandon, Craig, fellow photographers, camp staff and counselors, but most of all the kids at the camp! Good things happen when people come together and share a passion and love for each other!”

Jill Larison, Texas family photographer


July 22-25, 2020



Camp Wirkshop Class of 2017

Camp Wirkshop is a four day three night photography based multi-media storytelling camp with the goal of intense story-telling learning but more so of giving back.

Attendee’s will spend the week embedded inside Camp Encourage, a summer camp for kids on the Autism spectrum. While there, students of the storytelling Camp Wirkshop will practice honing their documentary storytelling photography skills all the while diving into a story assignment that will end with the creation of a multimedia film involving still photographs, audio capture, and interview. Students will spend the week working together in teams of two to photograph and create a multimedia film about an assigned subject.  We start the week learning about using documentary photographer for a client and the art of interviewing subjects, then dive into the thick of Camp Encourage were we provide hands on training in photo journalism and multimedia storytelling.  Each team leaves with a completed Multimedia film and a set of images ready to be used by Camp Encourage to help in the next years fund raising. All the photography and films produced from the Wirkshop will then be given to Camp Encourage to help them further spread their message of encouragement and support for kids with Autism.

This is sure to be not only an intense learning experience but a fulfilling and rewarding one as well as students get to use their talents to help make a difference in these kids lives. Each team will be randomly given an assignment and will be embedded with a group of campers or with staff. They will work with that particular group the entire duration of the camp. Stories will be developed during that time and documented for full effect.

Camp Wirkshop is open to all photographers looking to gain knowledge and experience in visual storytelling and multi-media films. Although not billed as an advanced workshop, students should come with their own gear and have already established a very solid grasp on how to use their cameras. This is not a beginners workshop.

Here is the best part! It is like going to back to summer camp as a kid. That’s right, we’ll be camping like the campers we are documenting! Picture an old school camp cabin with a porch door that slams and rows of bunk beds. Yup you read that right, we, as a workshop group, will be sleeping in one large room together in bunk beds! I call top bunk! Cabins are air-conditioned and students will be supplied with sheets, blankets, and pillows. Needless to say we are going to really get to know each other. All critique and work sessions will take place in the cabin each night so expect long days and will leave best friends. 

Are you ready for an adventure?

Day 1 cabin check in

All photos by Craig Fritz

Your instructors:

Tyler Wirken will be the photography guide. He will spend the week helping those who attend the workshop to realize their full photo-journalistic documentary potential.  He will provide with in the field mentoring, story execution, classroom discussion, and critique for each attendee’s work. Click for more about Tyler.

Tyler works with a student in the field. Camp Wirkshop 2017

Brandon Parigo will be the multimedia guide.  He will spend the week helping those who attend the workshop to realize that providing context to their images through use of audio capture and interview can help them tell a better story, and ultimately push the agenda of their clients. He will provide field mentoring, classroom discussions and critique in audio and video capture.  His style is to allow photographers to stay photographers at heart while implementing new tools.

Brandon assisting a student with audio capture. Camp Wirkshop 2017

Together both Tyler and Brandon will push story above all else and help attendees really focus on how to develop a single unique story within a larger context.

Summary Schedule (Subject to Change)

July 22nd
Arrival at Wirken studio in the morning.  Introductions then we will travel to Camp Encourage, settle into our cabin and spend the afternoon shooting.

July 23rd and 24th 

Teams out in the field shooting. These two days are devoted to guided story exploration with each student setting their own schedule based on the needs of their story. Students will have in the field mentoring of photography, story and interviews as well as individual edit and critique time.

July 25th 

The group wraps up anything that needs to be completed at camp and then returns to Wirken Photography Studio. Group celebration at night.


Tuition: $1,900 per person

Includes a bed in the workshop cabin, top or bottom bunk, for four nights, plus three meals a day at the camp ground cafeteria as well as the group celebratory dinner in Kansas City. Students are responsible for travel to and from Kansas City, Missouri as well as hotel rooms in Kansas City pre and post camp. Students will not need a rental car.

Equipment:  At a bare minimum each student should bring their standard photography equipment including at least one digital SLR camera, a wide angle lens (preferably a 35mm), a telephoto lens and a flash.  It is highly recommended that they also bring a laptop computer.  The multimedia elements of the workshop will require an audio recorder and microphone. Attendees can purchase from us ahead of time (to be picked up at camp) or bring their own (ask about our recommendations).  If they want to learn video they will also need a camera that can record video as well as still images.




Can’t make Camp this year? Sign up to be the first to know of future Camp Wirkshops:

Previous Camp Wirkshop Multimedia Films

These films were made by Camp Wirkshop students, were shown at a benefit and helped to raise over $60,000 in support of Camp Encourage. 


For more information on Camp Encourage as well as the campground click the links below:

Camp Encourage

Tall Oaks


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