This spring take your kids outside for an outdoor photo challenge. Doing a photo challenge helps kid photographers by limiting the scope of their picture taking. Instead of a million pictures of boring, bland grass, they can look for green and brown grass, zoom in on a blade of grass, or find a piece of grass poking up out of stones or mud.
I still remember taking my oldest son to a local public park when he was about 7 years old to take pictures together. This was before digital cameras. I gave him a disposable camera to take pictures while I was taking photos on our walk. Within 5 minutes, he was done! When I paid to have the photos processed, so many of them were out of focus, or focused on dirt and grass. I was a bit upset.
Use a Digital Camera
Now, I let my kids use my old digital Canon Rebel. They are limited only by the size of the memory card. The kids can delete photos on the fly with my help. The camera focuses automatically which has reduced the number of blurry photos. When I download the photos in Photoshop Elements, I tag my children’s photos with their names to make it easy to find their photos again.
Keep the Basics Basic
Keep your camera and photography instructions simple. While older kids will be more interested in how the camera works and the effect on their photos, younger kids just want to take pictures like Mom and Dad. If you stick to the following 3 guidelines, your kids will have enough to think about when creating their pictures without losing a sense of fun.
- Move with your feet closer to the subject.
- Make sure the subject fills the view finder.
- Tuck your elbows next to your body before taking a picture.
A photo prompt helps kids focus in the midst of visual stimulation coming from all directions. They’ll be more likely to stop, look, and think about the shot they want to take if they need to find the subject of the shot first. If I had challenged my oldest son to look for leaves, I think he would have taken longer to use up his roll of film.
Ideas to Get Your Kids Started
- activity like people walking
- sunrise, sunset
- kids playing
- feet on the ground
- feet running
- change your angle – lie on the ground, hang upside down, turn sideways
And from Katie of Boost Your Photography: Adjectives work really well, because everyone can find something different for “calm,” “crazy,” or “gross!”
Bartram’s Garden through My Daughter’s Lens
Last summer, I took the kids to visit Bartram’s Gardens in Philadelphia. Seeing me grab my camera, my then 6 year old daughter asked to grab my old digital Rebel. She took tons of photos! And yes, there were a lot of not so great photos. However, I found these 3 images which I love. Given time, I think my daughter will develop a good eye for composition.