The other day, our daughter had her first kindergarten project due, the subject was: community helpers. Me being the usual procrastinator found us with only a few hours to tackle a project that I knew about for several weeks. It was Sunday at 4pm and it was due the next day, of course we had two weeks to prepare for this, but why get a head start? We decided that we would go around and photograph the community and incorporate that into a flip book - she would do it all herself.
Isabella has her own kids camera - the Fisher Price badboy! But we felt this project needed a bit more pixel power - so she used our family camera, the Canon G10.
Isabella has a pretty decent eye - we really don’t push photography on her, but she has demonstrated talent and enjoys snapping everything from her little sister, to landscapes to her stuffed animal “portrait” sessions. But we had never asked her to “really” photograph anything. She did great!
For this project, she chose the fire station, police station and city hall. She was able to take a photo of the fireman standing next to the fire station sign, a moving firetruck, a police van, the steps leading into city hall - it was all in focus, it looked good.
She glued the pictures to the page, she wrote the descriptions of the pictures (with our help of course) and taped it all into book format - her project was finished on time. We asked her what she liked best about her project and she said “taking the pictures!” That was music to our ears!
Here are a few tips about getting your child to enjoy photography:
- consider sharing the family camera with them: if the parent teaches the basics about handling the camera and goes over some basic ground rules, most children will respond responsibly, if not, choose a child friendly camera!
- basics: how to hold the camera, use wristband so it doesn’t fall to the ground, don’t put fingers in front of the viewfinder, how to turn the camera on and off
- explain what focusing is: use the LCD for smaller children, this will help them fit what they see into the picture. explain to your child that what they want in the picture needs to be seen in this frame. for older children, encourage the use of the viewfinder.
- explain basic lighting: even small children grasp the concept of too sunny or too dark
- curiosity is natural in children, encourage your child to explore, be creative, look for a subject they like. like the homework project mentioned above, ask them to tell a story!
- encourage them to bring the camera wherever you go: to the zoo, to a birthday party, on vacation, the more they shoot, the better they will get!
- develop the pictures! make a scrapbook of their images - how satisfying for them to see their photographs!
- keep it light and fun!