Most children consume their time using computers, tablets etc., or they spend time watching television. They barely get outdoors for any activity. This not only hampers their health but also their overall development. The problem is even more pronounced in teenagers. Though there are many excellent cameras for teenagers in the market, they prefer to click photos from their smart phones, which they spend a significant amount of their time using.
Photography is an interesting activity that you can teach your child. It will heighten their creativity boundlessly. Photography isn’t just about simply learning to use a camera: it is about an individual’s perspective of how they see the world and how they wish to articulate their vision.
As you teach photography to your child, you will spend more time together. You can use this opportunity to strengthen your bond with them. More often than not, you will find that your child is teaching you photography because you will be seeing the world through their innocent perspective.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you teach your child photography:
- Camera selection
- Settings on the camera
- Holding and steadying the camera
- Storytelling through pictures
- Edit and Share
You can consider giving your child your old camera. It will be easier for you to teach with this camera, as you would have good knowledge of the functions and will know what modes are best under different lighting conditions etc. However, you need to bear in mind that kids are likely to drop things. Also, they may find your old camera big and heavy in their tiny hands. You can choose to invest in your kid’s camera for your child. There are many reasonably priced models available in the market. The advantage of purchasing a kid camera is that they are designed keeping in mind that kids tend to drop things, therefore though lightweight, they have a sturdy build and are ergonomic for children. Giving a child a camera that is only for them to use, will instill a feeling of ownership and responsibility early on.
Settings on the camera
It will come handy if you familiarize yourself with the camera first. Explain to them the importance of different types of light and how it impacts the quality of the image. Explain the functions of various parts of the camera to your child. Teach them what will happen at the click of each button. Most cameras come with different settings. They have various modes like portrait, macro etc. Explain to them the difference between these modes and settings and how they need to be adjusted in different situations. Once your child understands these settings and you see their photographs getting better with the use of basic settings, you can then begin with teaching them about techniques like adjusting the shutter speed, exposure range etc.
Holding and steadying the camera
Children get frustrated and begin to lose interest when many of their photos turn out blurry. There are a few simple yet effective tips that you can teach for your child and you will notice a big difference in the clarity of their captures. Ask them to use a timer setting. Most cameras come with a timer setting. This will allow them a short window to steady the camera without having to expend pressure on the shutter release button. Teach them to steady themselves against a wall or lean their elbows on a flat surface such as a railing or a window sill. If there isn’t anything around to take the support of or to lean on, then they can hold their elbows close to their body and find a comfortable stance that will help them get clear shots.
Storytelling through pictures
Every picture tells a story. This is something that you need to explain to your child when they start to learn photography. As a beginner, they are very enthusiastic to fill the frame with many objects. This way the photograph will turn out to be meaningless. Teach them to question themselves – what do I want to convey with this photograph? How do I want this photograph to be perceived? This will not only help them develop a deeper understanding of the subject but will also help them come up the learning curve equipped with better knowledge. Also, it is imperative that you spend time with them going through all the photographs and provide an appreciation for what they have done well or constructive feedback for what they could have done better. Your interest and involvement will instill a positive reinforcement and inspire them to keep going ahead on their learning journey.
Edit and share
There are innumerable tools available these days, which allow you to make corrections to photographs. You can use them to clear background distractions or fade them just enough in order to highlight the subject. You can enhance the quality of the image. Teaching your child how to edit photographs, will bring out more creativity in them. Children are constantly looking for validation and appreciation from people they look up to. You can show them your appreciation by sharing their captures on your social media accounts such as Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and showcase their talent. If your child is old enough to have a social media account of their own, you can help them with uploading the photographs clicked by them. You can also have their photographs printed on greeting cards that you can send to your family and friends on occasions like Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries.
Teaching photography to your child should not be limited to you sharing your knowledge. Besides learning photography, your child as well as you should have a fun experience. This learning journey will not only help you bond with your child but also bring out their creativity and playfulness which they express through their captures. Photographs are forever. As your child grows older, they will have wonderful memories of their childhood, to reminisce and cherish in the form of their photographs. Your appreciation of your child’s talent will fuel their passion for photography. This can later be transformed into a rewarding career choice.
About the Author:
Dan Barr is a photographer, a parent to two girls, and the founder of KidsCameraGuide.com, a blog which is all about teaching photography to kids and kids cameras. You can visit Dan at his website www.kidscameraguide.com.