Having your kids interested in a hobby is great, sharing a hobby is even better. If your kids have shown an interest in photography, or if you want to help them get started, here are some tips to make it interesting:
Tip One: Start Slow
You don’t need to teach your kids every trick in the book on day one. Instead, give them tips in bite-sized pieces. This way, they won’t feel overwhelmed or that it’s “too hard” to learn.
Tip Two: Begin with What They Know
It can help if you begin showing kids what they already know, such as the controls on their camera or a subject that they are used to photographing. Once they’re accustomed to taking photos with regularity, they’ll be ready to absorb more information.
Tip Three: Explore Camera Settings
Help your child understand the benefits of different camera settings for different situations (like macro, action, low light, etc.), this will help you advance to explaining exposure next.
Tip Four: Explore Exposure
Understanding exposure is a huge part of knowing how photography works, so be prepared to spend some time on this and to take it slow. Begin with shutter speed by finding something fast (a car, for example) and testing out how different speeds affect the image. Then work on aperture by finding a still-life where you can help them differentiate between shallow depth of field and deeper focus. ISO comes last and requires a darker scene.
Tip Five: Learn to Frame
Taking photos can become distracting, it’s just too easy to keep snapping without concentrating on the details. Have your kids put down the camera, make a “frame” with their fingers, and decide what they want to photograph (and hopefully why) before they pick up the camera again.
Tip Six: Review and Print!
Once a week, load up all of your child’s photos and have a review. You can point out why some photos work and how others could be improved. A tiny bit of editing can introduce them to the concept of cropping or making horizons level, but you might want to avoid other editing methods as they might discourage children from trying to get scenes right the first time on camera.
Tip Seven: Start a Project
A photography project can help kids focus on finding subjects and scenes – you just have to find a project that appeals to them. Here are a few ideas:
– Toy Adventure: They can develop a story about their toys, setting scenes and choosing heroes and villains.
– Collage: Have kids take photos of their favorite things, and make a collage.
– Time Lapse: Using a tripod, set up a camera and have kids take photos at regular intervals. Then, help them put it together to make a time lapse.
– Alphabet: This is a bit of a longer-term project, involving things that look like letters of the alphabet until they have the whole set.
– Things that make you…: Happy, sad, sleepy, etc.
– People you love/family tree: Turn kids into amateur portrait professionals by having them take photos of people who are important to them, which they can then print and make into a collage or family tree.
There are tons of fun projects to keep kids busy as photographers, and as they complete each project you can help them improve their craft by gradually adding on more compositional tips (contrast, rule of thirds, leading lines, etc.). Have fun with it and soon you’ll have a little professional photographer to take with you!