Documentary photography workshops for girls.

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    Documentary photography workshops for girls.

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    Documentary photography workshops for girls.

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In the digital age, both young men and young women are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages, both condemning and artificially cheerful, about what it means to be a girl. The steady barrage of distorted and manufactured images creates conflict and noise in the minds of young women. In their relentless pursuit of the perfect “selfie,” young women are evaluated often solely on their beauty, weight, body type, taste in clothing, and ability to uphold ever-changing and impossible double standards.

Girls in Focus believes that young women have so many other stories to tell, if we simply provide them with the tools to tell those stories…and then listen.

Girls in Focus is a series of workshops that aims to teach the art and science of documentary photography to young women. Girls, ages 13-17, will learn more about photography while simultaneously exploring a topic, in-depth, with their cameras over the course of 8 weeks. We will meet once a week for 2 hours. In addition, we will have a couple of field trips where we all photograph a “story” together and then review our images afterward, in order to demonstrate how people see the same thing in different ways — but also in the same ways. The girls will receive cameras on loan for the duration of the class. The workshop will end with a gallery show of the best of their work, as well as a coffee table book of their photo essays.

Fall classes 2016 start soon at Kari Bedford Photography, located at 314 E. Monroe in downtown Springfield. Please share the application with a young woman in your life.

Team Member



I am a girl in focus too

Girls in Focus was founded by Kari Bedford, an award-winning professional photographer since 1999. She is a mother of two daughters, the wife of Ben Bedford, and the owner of Kari Bedford Photography, a portrait studio located in downtown Springfield, Illinois. 

In 2012, she was voted “Best Photographer” by the readers of the Illinois Times. In 2013, she was nominated for “Small Businessperson of the Year” by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The State Journal-Register also included her as one of the “Top 5 Senior Portrait Photographers” in Springfield.

 With her lifelong love affair with documentary photography, she frequently incorporates a natural storytelling approach into her portrait work. It is that enthusiasm for good storytelling that she, along with other qualified teachers, wishes to impart to young women and members of the Springfield community via Girls in Focus. 

Kari Bedford is dedicated to improving her community. Past projects include Prom it Forward, an event that provided prom dresses to young women in need as well as Coats for Clicks, a local coat drive and charity photo booth. She has also been the official photographer for Springfield PRIDE since its inception in 2011.


Taking Girls Seriously

When it comes to young women, it sometimes seems like we only hear one story. It may come in different disguises — fashion, fame, beauty, sex appeal — but it is basically the same story, over and over again.

Girls in Focus believes that young women have many, many other stories to tell.

Girls in Focus believes that it is time to empower young women to think critically and more important, to listen to what young women think — rather than tell young women what to think.

Girls in Focus believes that young women deserve to be taken seriously.

Girls in Focus aims to empower young women through hands-on workshops that teach the art and science of documentary photography. Students are encouraged to seek out and portray stories in the world around them while learning to observe, anticipate, compose and ultimately capture the truth of their subjects with a greater sense of confidence and technical proficiency.

Girls in Focus seeks to encourage young women to assist one another by way of constructive criticism, peer reviews, and careful selection of their own images. Ultimately, each workshop will end with a gallery show of the best of each student’s work, as well as a coffee table book of images available for purchase. Proceeds from each workshop will fund future workshops, ensuring that no student will ever be turned away on the basis of her ability to pay.

Girls in Focus relies on women in leadership, local businesses, local media, community members, photography mentors, and donations from people like you. Click on “Donate” to find out how you can help.


How you can help

Thank you for supporting Girls in Focus! Your contributions enable us to reach our goal of empowering young women through the art and science of photography education, as well as provide necessary funding to promote Girls in Focus, provide printed artwork for the gallery show, and compile the coffee table book from each group of students.

We successfully raised $10,051 through our Start Some Good campaign! Thank you!!!

To donate funds by other means, gear or goods, including new cameras or gift cards to stores that sell photography gear (such as B&H photo, Best Buy, Target, etc.), please contact us via the form below.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”

― B.B. King



  • Brief history
  • Basic techniques
  • Good visual stories
  • Seeing differently
  • Minor editing
  • Select topics
  • Moments
  • Apply techniques
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Cull images
  • Peer reviews
  • Selection of images
  • Importance of cohesion
  • Captioning
  • Portfolios


Read updates on current Girls in Focus classes, student gallery openings, events, fundraising efforts, press coverage, and future classes.


314 E. Monroe • Springfield, IL
(217) 836-5623

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