Teach Photography Early On

It is never too early to teach photography to kids. Of course it will depend upon their age and development level. Once they are old enough to be aware that a camera takes a photo of something and will not just be mimicking your actions, you should be ready to go! These ideas can help you help them start off a great relationship with cameras.

Take advantage of the new digital cameras designed especially for kids. Kodak, Vtech and Fisher Price all have durable and user friendly cameras for any budget. It might be time to move up the megapixel ladder yourself and use the old one so you will not care as much if it gets broken. (Besides, you never want your child to feel guilty and shy away from touching one again.)

Your child shouldn't sense worry or fear when holding and playing with his or her first camera. Put a wrist strap on and make it fun to smile for the camera!

  • See what THEY think would make for an interesting photo. Someday they will be thrilled to look back at photo moments captured through their eyes and not just through yours. (Most of your own childhood photographs are of what your parents thought was important and maybe were not always of what you had thought was important.)
  • The experience of sharing a photo is one of a kind. When they say "mommy, come here and take a look!", you will be on the yellow brick road.
  • Take a step back and let them ask questions. Don't make them feel silly if they do and let them process things at their own speed. Show them some of the camera settings when age appropriate. Look it up together in the manual if you don't know. It is a great way to show how reading will help them and develop good learning skills early on.
  • Show how the zoom works and/or have them step closer to objects to get full frame smiles. (They are the most worthy for picture frames.)
  • If the camera has a "macro" setting, switch it on and turn your budding photographer loose into the backyard. Have them take really close up shots of plant-life and insects. Their bedroom will be a treasure trove of items of interest too and will help to keep their interest and open up new windows to the world for them.
  • Give your permission to let them take as many photos as they want. The new digital cameras have tons of memory. Get them thinking about subjects and learning to anticipate a good "photo-op." Maybe Grandpa, who's outside throwing a ball with their sibling, might be one.
  • Don't take a camera away from them! (Within reason of course, dinner might be on the table.) You don't want to stifle their creativity just as it might be peaking!

  • Grab some favorite toys and photography props and prepare a "scavenger hunt" list of items for them to photograph like a tree, their bike, a ball, or other things that you think might spur on their interest.

    Now For More Quality Time!

    Photos Reviewed

    With your camera's "view" or "playback" mode, whether as hooked up to your TV, downloaded onto your computer or simply viewed from the camera, take some extra time to sit with your child and go over the results. Listen to them as they review their work.

    Be very careful of potentially negative comments even when you don't intend to say them. "Oh, that looks like a ...." might not even be what they were trying to do. Ask questions and see what they would change if they took the shot again. Be careful not to step on a fragile ego.

    One flipant remark like "why did you take that photo?" can squash any enthusiasm and may be hard for them recover from without even knowing you did it.

    Do ask them to be selective with the photos. Get rid of most of them by letting them know that you can only save their favorites from each session.

    Learning to recognize what makes a good photo and why they might like one over another will help them reason and detach from some of their efforts with their first camera and help them strive for quality and not quantity. One day they will teach photography to someone they care about.

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