Two participants of the Open Aperature photo clinic taking turns being the photographer and climber on the wall
Apply for the 2022
Open Aperture
Photo Clinic
Too many people from underrepresented communities feel that outdoor spaces and activities are not safe for them nor have participants like them involved. Some of this is due to a lack of inclusion and representation in outdoor media showcasing the outdoors. We want to better equip marginalized communities to tell their own stories because the more photographers we have in these underrepresented communities, the more opportunity we have to share their stories and show that everyone belongs in the outdoors. Ultimately, no one can better tell the story of a marginalized group's experience better than those directly affected.

With its inaugural hosting in 2019, Open Aperture is a photography clinic for underrepresented groups within the outdoor community who are interested in learning more about climbing photography. This year, Mountain Hardwear will provide six full-ride scholarships (transportation, accommodations, and food while participating).
Portrait of one of the Open Aperture participants.
Two participants in the Open Aperture Photo Clinic look at a digital camera for their latest capture.
Get involved
The 2022 clinic will take place November 4-7 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and participants will receive ongoing mentorship for a full year after the program. Applications will be open until October 9th.

To qualify, you must meet the following:

  • Identify within one or more underrepresented groups
  • Be familiar with basic photography skills
  • Express interest in learning more about climbing photography
  • Have a vision as to how you can use your photography to create awareness of underrepresented communities in the outdoors
About the Clinic
The clinic is led by Nikki Smith (she/her), a National Geographic Adventure contributing photographer, first ascensionist, guide book author, and advocate for the queer community within the outdoors.

Participants will learn:

  • Climbing photography skills from experienced industry photographers
  • Editing workflow and techniques
  • Valuable tips to help create editorial queries to increase their chances of getting published
The curriculum will cover:

  • Pre-shot planning
  • Framing
  • Angles and positioning
  • Jugging fixed lines
  • Night-time photography
  • And more...
Due to COVID-19:

  • Proof of vaccination will be required
  • Masks must be worn for all indoor programming and activities
  • Individual lodging will be provided for each participant
  • CDC guidelines and protocols will be followed
Over the shoulder of Nikki Smith during the clinic giving instructions
Two participants laugh and shout during the clinic.
Participants will not only get to learn but will start their portfolio with images published by Mountain Hardwear and potential media partners. *Participants will submit their photos to Mountain Hardwear and will have images selected for use by Mountain Hardwear.

Participants will also take turns modeling (climbing, belaying, hiking, etc) to create an experience in front of the camera, as well as behind.

To submit an application, follow the link below, and you’ll be directed to the online submission form.
three climbers on a rock wall during the open aperture photo clinic
why open aperture matters