by Dan Barr
While looking at something in front of us, it is difficult to take note of each aspect which is within our vision. A moment will only last for so long. But you tend not to notice everything about it. For example, at a birthday party, when the cake is being cut, it is not possible to observe the joy on the face of everyone present. Or on a beautiful beach during sunset, when the look and color of the sand and water change every few seconds as the sun goes down. All of these details are more pronounced in a photograph. Photography helps to freeze a moment in time, making it a memory forever.
Photography is an excellent skill your child can learn. Teaching photography to your child gives you a great opportunity to spend time together and you can also ensure your child learns something productive. Learning a creative skill will boost your child’s confidence and enhance their creativity. Photography will motivate your child to go outdoors. This will also help them to be physically active. Your child will learn to connect with nature, develop an eye for detail and learn to be mindful of their surroundings.
Listed below are a few steps to help you and your child get started on a beautiful learning journey.
- Purchasing a camera
- Learn the basics of camera
- Learn the basics of photography
- Learn to steady yourself and the camera
- Editing and sharing
I: Purchasing a camera
There are many good cameras available in the market in an affordable price range. You need to choose a camera that is most relevant for your child. The age of your child is also one of the key factors in deciding which camera you should buy. Since your child is a beginner, it would be advisable not to opt for a camera that has many complex functions on it. If your child is a teenager, you can even choose one of the drones for teenagers that are in the market. Before purchasing a camera, it would be wise to spark an interest in photography in your child’s mind. You can do this by letting your child use the camera on your phone. Once you see that your child has taken a liking for photography, you can then invest in a camera.
II: Learn the basics of camera
Once you have purchased the camera, a quick glance through the user manual will help you acquaint yourself with the camera. This will make it easier for you to explain the functions of the camera to your child. Begin with the functions they will use most frequently. For example the power button, shutter release button etc. Once your child has a good understanding of the basic functions, you can then teach them about more complex things like a mode dial, shutter speed etc.
III: Learn the basics of photography
Light plays an important role in photography. Many seasoned photographers say that a picture is only as good as the light. Explain to your child the importance of the aspect of light. Teach them how they can take advantage of light to enhance the beauty of the subject.
As a beginner, your child will be enthusiastic to fit as much as they can in the frame. However, this is not how the concept of ‘fill the frame’ works. They do need to fill the frame, but with the object they are focusing on. This will help make the photograph free of background distractions.
Explain to your child how they can use the ‘rule of thirds’ to add more character to the shots they capture. Ask them to visualize the shot before clicking it. Then roughly visualize the object they wish to capture, occupying either one third or two-thirds of the frame. This will enhance the focus on the subject.
IV: Learn to steady yourself and the camera
Teach your child the correct technique to hold the camera. If your child finds it difficult to hold the camera steady then you can ask them to rest their elbows on a flat surface such as a railing, table, window sill etc. Leaning against a wall will also help make a difference. You can teach them to keep a distance of one and a half to two feet, between their legs. This will evenly distribute the body weight and will help your child find a better balance. Using a timer is another great option if your child finds it difficult to hold the camera steady.
Kids will only hold their attention for so long. It would, therefore, be a great idea to let your child practice clicking photographs and get a hands-on experience rather than feeding them theoretical knowledge. Allow them to explore on their own. At the end of the day, you can review the shots they have captured. Appreciate your child where they have done well. But also gently provide feedback where they could have done better. Ensure that you acknowledge the effort your child has put into capturing every shot.
VI: Editing and sharing
You can teach your child to edit the photographs they have clicked. They can remove blemishes off of a beautiful portrait capture, remove background distractions, enhance the quality of the image, add some touch-ups or make color corrections. The possibilities are inexhaustible. Learning to edit photographs will make your child more creative. Your child is always looking for encouragement from you. You can share their captures on your social media. You can compile a digital album of some of their best captures. You can even have the photographs clicked by them printed on greeting cards to be sent on Christmas. This support from you will inspire them to pursue their interest in photography even further.
Photography will change the way your child looks at everything. They start seeing beauty in things they would not even notice otherwise. It gives them a new perspective. Teaching photography to your child can be a joyful experience and a fun-filled journey for your child and you as well.
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.