Gary Gardiner has years of experience as a professional photographer.

Gary Gardiner has years of experience as a professional photographer.

When he's out with his camera, people frequently pick his brain to find ways to improve their own photo skills or to upgrade from amateur photographer to pro, Gardiner said.

Seeing the demand for the knowledge sparked Gardiner to create PhotoCamp Ohio, a day's worth of lectures, demonstrations and workshops aimed at helping improve photographers' skills, both in terms of taking pictures and in running a business.

The popularity of digital cameras has brought the price of the trade down, making photography more accessible and more popular, Gardiner said.

"It used to be expensive. Not much for the gear, but for the film," he said. "More people have cameras, and they're all digital, and people need to learn how to use them."

That brings about the need for experienced photographers to share their insights, he said.

"(The idea for the camp) actually comes from those moments, where as a photographer, I'm standing on the street with a bunch of people around me who want to talk about photography and what makes a good photo," Gardiner said. "They stop me on the street and they ask me questions, and I can tell them my story."

For PhotoCamp Ohio, Gardiner has brought in a five photographers, in addition to himself, who have a range of experiences in different types of photography.

All of them are local, meaning when the camp is over, people will still have access to the photographers to ask questions, Gardiner said.

"These are local photographers who are going to talk about local work and local photographers," he said. "We're going to be here for them to talk to next week."

The camp will focus on what constitutes a good photograph, how to take better pictures and the business of photography, Gardiner said.

"What we've discovered is that there are a lot of weekend photographers," he said.

"They're pretty decent at what they do, but they need to learn more about the business - how to shoot better photos, how they get processed."

PhotoCamp Ohio is geared toward "advanced amateurs" who shoot with digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras and want to take better pictures, Gardiner said.

"If you have a point-and-shoot, this is probably not the class for you," he said.

PhotoCamp Ohio is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 16 at Everal Barn at Heritage Park, 60 N. Cleveland Ave.

The event is sponsored by Partners in Art Inc. at Gallery 202, where Gardiner's Classic Studio has space.

PhotoCamp Ohio is a great way for Gardiner and Partners in Art to reach their goals of helping photographers and increasing access to the arts, Gallery 202 owner Renee Kropat said.

"(Gardiner) does a lot of classes in the studio, and he wanted to bring out more professional people," Kropat said. "We want to have more organizations involved in the arts in Westerville. This was one way for us to help out another organization through the nonprofit."