By the time your kids are entering school, you may find (particularly if they grew up with you snapping photos) that they start expressing some interest in taking control of the camera. With summer at hand, now is a perfect time to get your kids into photography camp to help cultivate their passion. However, if you don’t have the resources, or can’t find a good photography day camp in your area, how about creating a kids’ photography camp of your own? Here’s a sample itinerary:
Photography Camp Monday: Magic Triangle
Help your kids understand how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work together to create an image. For younger kids, it might be easier to “show” rather than “tell” – by setting up the following challenges:
- Things that move – find something that moves and have your kids practice taking pictures at different shutter speeds so they can see the difference between using a fast shutter speed and a slower one.
- Things that don’t move (much) – place something relatively close to the camera, like a toy, and have your kids take the same image using different aperture settings, so they can see how aperture affects depth of field.
- In the dark – Find a darker setting, such as indoors or in the woods. Help your child choose different ISO settings and see how it affects the amount of brightness in the picture (note: you’ll need to use manual mode for this to work the best), as well as the amount of “noise” created.
Photography Camp Tuesday: Camera Settings
Without understanding how a camera chooses its settings it’s hard for your kids to have real creative control over their images. Spending a day covering each setting – from automatic through to manual – along with some test shots of each type can really help them gain confidence. Keep your camera owner’s manual handy to ensure you both know what each setting does and try to encourage your kids to aim for semi-automatic modes rather than then giving the camera control over how an image is shot.
Photography Camp Wednesday: Composition
Once your child has a handle on settings, what they do, and how a change in shutter speed or aperture affects an image it’s time to talk about how the placement or composition of an image can make a regular photo into an amazing one. While there are endless rules on composition, here are a few simple ones you can teach and some ideas for helping them “see” how it changes an image:
- Focal Point – Why they need one, how it helps make a better photo
- Rule of Thirds – Once a focal point is chosen, how to place it in the frame for more dynamic images
- Contrast – How contrast can make things stand out
Depending on the age of your child, you can delve into a few more topics, such as Natural Frames, Symmetry and Patterns, or Dynamic Range. Just ensure that you back up each composition technique with an activity so they can see how it makes better images.
Photography Camp Thursday: A Challenge
Now’s the time to take everything they’ve learned and create a challenge. Sort of like a treasure hunt, but with your camera. For younger kids, you can make the treasure hunt simple, such as the following:
- The colors of the rainbow (one or two photos for each color)
- A-Z (a photo of something that starts with each letter)
- Different shapes
For older kids you can make a more difficult challenge by mixing up a variety of “things” to capture – perhaps from different categories, such as portraits, landscape, architecture, etc. Use your imagination so they can use theirs!
After you get home, it’s time to go through the photos and send the best shots of the week off to the printers, so you can pick them up the next day for the last day of camp.
Photography Camp Friday: Crafts & Games!
Get out your glue, paper, perhaps some glitter – today is all about showcasing your kid’s amazing photographic artwork. There are a variety of crafts you can do: photo collages, scrapbooks, framed art, etc. Here are a few fun crafts to consider:
- PVC Photo Vase
If your child is really loving photography, consider adding an extra day or two before craft day, so they can collect even more great photos. How about a photography treasure hunt? Create a list of items to “find” and have them take photos of each piece. This game is even more fun with a few kids split in separate groups – with a prize at the end, of course.
If you have an extra piece of furniture gathering dust, pull it out and create a brand new mod-podge piece with some new favorite memories.
The possibilities really are endless – but the focus here is to put your child’s photography on display so they can see just what they have accomplished over the course of just a few days! Remember to have fun too – feel free to join in the activities so you can learn too!