All too often you go and reach for your camera only to hear “Not now Mom.” or “Why do you want a picture of this?” from our kids. For moms, as our kids get older we either have to be photo ninjas and covertly sneek up and photograph them through a window or we have to bribe our kids with toys or money (and sometimes both!) It is exciting when kids are old enough to really enjoy photography but it is also understandable that they might have a love hate relationship with a camera. Here are some ways to create the Photo Spark.
We have loved seeing our older kids take an interest in being the ones to take the pictures. Even though they don’t know the first thing about the science of photography they do know what is interesting to them. What we have seen with us setting up their camera in a semi-auto mode, and giving them some basic tips, they are able to find interesting and beautiful objects.
We wanted to share a few fun actives you can do with your child to make photography really fun for them.
FIVE WAYS TO EXCITE YOUR CHILD ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY
1) Exploration. It is ok for your kids to find interesting things to photograph on their own. Invite them to share their images with you and talk about what was interesting about them. The idea is not to take amazing images, but rather to start to find interesting objects, lines, color, and shape. Chances are they will photograph their pets or siblings.
2) Create a Photo-a-day or an Alphabet project for them. For the Photo-a-day project set a project length (start small…like for one week.) Come up with random words such as red, glow, animal, food, small etc. Assign the words to a day and see what they come up with. The Alphabet project uses the letters of the alphabet to determine their photo assignment. An example would be A is for apple. B is for balloons. C is for cat and so forth. I bet as they go through each of these projects you will see some creative shots. If they miss a day (or two) don’t sweat it. This is just a fun project so it your 7 day project takes them a month… that is ok.
3) Be their model. For years they have allowed you to take their picture while sleeping, eating, and playing. Now it is your turn to be documented. You really might be surprised by how they see you. We suggest giving them a topic like “My mom in the garden” or “Mom making cookies.”…or even “Dad working on the car.” Sometimes having a topic helps give them focus and they start to look for interesting shots. Or just let them be in charge. Maybe they just want to photograph you. Take their directions and let them direct you.
4) Pack the Camera. Encourage them to take their camera or iPod with them when you go somewhere. Even if it is just to the grocery store or park. Even better…take a camera on vacation they can use. This is a) a great way for them to be exposed to lots of different surroundings and be visually stimulated and b) you are documented! Taking a camera out when a kid is bored is a great way to inspire their creativity. Especially when they are limited to a small space. They will find all sorts of cool angles and objects to photograph.
5) Print and display. Find a wall in your home or an album that is all theirs to display their images on/in. If you have Chatbooks upload their images to your Instagram account with a hashtag of their own. Set up your chapbooks so they get their own series based on their hashtag. Kids love getting mail… how much fun would it be to get an album of their images?
Photo credit: These images were all taken by Ansley age 8 with a sony A6000 camera and 50 1.8 lens.