Basic photography for kids

March 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Are you home and stuck finding ways to keep your kids entertained? Have you considered giving them a photography project? Chances are your family has a DSLR or a point and shoot camera just laying around. Amazon even offers some kid friendly cameras that are a little more durable. The Fisher Price Kids camera is a little more money while the VTech Kids Camera is a good option under 50.00
There are a lot of factors when purchasing a camera but the biggest determining factors are your budget and the child's level of interest. If you'e not sure if they will enjoy photography, then a cheaper camera is probably the smart move. But if your child has shown interest in the past it might be time to get them something they can grow into!

 

Let's say you have the camera but don't know where to start? Here are some ideas on how or where to start. 
For younger kids probably under 10 you may not be able to teach them as many skills at this age. What you can do is get them used to using a camera, holding a camera properly and help them learn to think outside of the box by giving them challenges and encouraging them to practice.

 

Here are some activity ideas for children under 10
Learn their colors and photograph things of a certain color (ex. all the colors of the rainbow)
Find & photograph objects that start with certain letters or all the letters of the alphabet.

Go on a scavenger hunt
Make a photo journal of your day
Find and capture items or objects of your favorite color
Designate a frame or two in your house for the kids only photos.
Make up a story book with photos
Take your favorite stuffed animal or toy on an adventure and document it with the camera
Take pictures of your favorite place 
Paint a picture you took
Take a photo of yours and turn it into a puzzle

 

 

 

Ages 10 and up is when you can dive in and start to teach this age range even more about photography.

Always, always always start with some basics in composition and design elements. 

The seven elements of art are line, shape, space, value, form, texture, and color. These elements are the building blocks, or ingredients, of art,

This will lay the foundation and teach them the proper techniques they need to thrive as an artist and/or photographer.

Soooo what do I mean by the basics in composition?
Rules of thirds, how to properly crop, leading lines, filling the frame and utilizing negative space.

 

Teaching your child these elements will not only add variety to their photo with composition but those techniques will help them tell a better story with their photos.

 

Leading lines. This is when the kids need to keep an eye out for lines that guide the viewers eyes through the frame that lead them to the subject. Like hallways, rows, tree lines etc. I should point out that train tracks make great leading lines which is why several use them, however, it is illegal to go on train tracks and extremely dangerous. 

Negative space is one of my favorites. I absolutely love how this technique can create a lot of drama and emotion in a photo.

Rule of thirds is the basic guide to composition that has been used for years. Imagine a tic tac toe/grid over the image. You want the subject to fall on one of the intersecting lines.

Cropping and Limb Chopping is important to learn as well. It's important not to crop the subject where the joint bends.

 

LIGHTING
What about lighting? How important is that? Teaching kids about the different types of light is huge. This is something that they can see on movies, in artwork/paintings and just paying attention to natural light during the day. The kids could easily do a photo series on lighting with their favorite stuffed animals or action figurines. Have them shoot with 

Window light - pretty self explanatory

Backlighting - the light source is behind the subject

Catchlights - making sure the subject they're shooting has the light reflecting in their eye.

Lowlight - Again, pretty self explanatory

 

 

 

Activities for the older kids can be similar to the ones for the younger kids listed above but they will have more to focus on like working on their composition
Break it down for the kids and have them focus on one skill at a time. Example 3-5 images focusing just on composition. 3-5 images with leading lines, etc.

Make up a scavenger hunt of several items around the house or yard that they have to find and photograph.

Photograph the same object several times - this helps them discover new ways to document something other than the traditional method.

Even with older kids you can work on ABC's with the kids and have them photograph an item of each letter of the alphabet.
Work on colors and have the kids photograph each color of the rainbow. If you really want to get creative have them shoot primary colors and then secondary colors to teach them about the color wheel!

Experiment - shoot from different angels, perspectives and sides. 
Check your backgrounds - a simple concept that often gets overlooked
Hold the camera straight - make sure the horizon line is straight

How to properly hold the camera 
Finding a  point of interest
If you have a DSLR learn the different modes on the camera and what situations they might be used for
& if your child is using a DSLR they can start to learn about exposure. 


 

 

 

 

I hope this helps you stay sane and your kids stay busy.

Stay safe, stay healthy and remember that if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! 


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