From a young age, my daughter showed interest in taking digital photographs. Though Frans and I are by no means professional photographers, we can at least take decent photos and have done our best to help her improve. Over the years, she has gotten so much better and is actually quite creative when it comes to her never-ending camera roll of nature and our dog.
10 Beginning Photography Tips for Kids
Starting around the ages of seven or eight, your child might start looking to you for REAL approval, not just a head nod and an obligatory “Good Job!” That’s when you can start with the following suggestions. D
- Take a lot of photos.
Practice makes perfect and the great thing about digital photography is that it’s pretty much free. No more developing a whole roll of before finding out 90% are blurry and 10% feature feet. The more opportunities a child has to take photos, the more they will enjoy life through a lens and cherish those moments.
- Think about what you’re actually taking a photo of.
If they have no clear subject or intention in mind, the photo will be boring and generic. Just telling them to have a focal point or purpose will make a major difference in their approach to photography.
- Pay attention to the background.
If you tell them to focus on one thing, kids automatically overlook everything else. It’s good to get them in the habit of checking for people or unkept mess in the background. Notice how her photography is more deliberate and how she now takes several factors into account (both unedited).
- Keep fingers off the lens.
Sometimes, children don’t know where to put those little fingers of theirs. Show them exactly where the lens is so they learn not to put fingers on or near it.
- Make sure the lens is clean.
This is especially important with smartphone cameras as it’s quite easy to get fingerprints on the lens. Remind your child to wipe off the lens (with a soft cotton or microfiber cloth) before taking photos. Otherwise, all their photos will have a fuzzy haze over them.
- Check the lighting.
More light will make for better photos. Have kids avoid taking photos in dark corners inside. In case of glare or bright backlight, have them slightly tilt their phone at a angle or to focus on a different object to adjust light exposure.
- You can always crop.
It’s better to back up for a wider view of a scene and then crop it later. A camera or smartphone with a lot of megapixels gives you more freedom with this. The Sony Xperia Z3v can take 20 megapixel photos, allowing you to zoom in and still retain fine details. An example of this is below (same photo, both unedited but one is cropped). This is much better than a close up capture with heads and arms cut off.
- Play with editing tools.
There are a number of free photo editing apps on every iOS, Android, or Windows phone. Even standalone digital cameras have software to place photos in funny backgrounds (like a bus stop billboard or magazine cover). These help kids develop some creativity in their photos by experimenting with colors, filters, text, and overlays.
- Try different angles.
A new angle can make all the difference. Encourage kids to move around, tilt the camera, focus on certain details, change the focus, and see which shots they like better
- Tell a story and capture a “moment.”
Photography can be a fantastic way to enjoy and remember life as it is in right then. Plus, it gets them engaged with whatever situation they’re in and wherever that might be.
Instilling a Love for Photography
In helping a child to take good photos, it’s important to not inundate a child with all the things they’re doing wrong. Instead, commend them when possible and then maybe suggest one point at a time to work on. When they show a good understanding of one concept, move on to another. In time, they’ll figure out their favorite type(s) of photography (i.e. landscapes, abstract, portraits, etc.) and develop their own style. After a while, he or she might even take better photos than you.
I received a product for review as part of the #VZWBuzz Lifestyle Ambassador program. All opinions are my own.