We asked award winning photography blogger Darren Coleshill from Photalife to give us some of his expertise on encouraging your kids to get creative behind the camera. Over to you, Darren!
”If you look back over your family photos what do they show? What can you see? If they’re anything like ours then they will show the children, on rare occasions they show one parent and the girls, while I’m taking the photos.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I appeared in a photo and I certainly can’t remember the last time my wife and I had a photo together!
Both my girls are at the age when I want to get them interested in taking photos and personally I think getting children interested at a young age is so important. We all know that children absorb information so quickly when they’re at school, so this is a perfect time.
I’m hoping my tips will help you get your children taking photos. I’m not talking about teaching them about ISO, shutter speeds but small tips that will help them take photos they can be proud of.
Pick The Right Camera
From experience, picking the right camera is key – there’s really no point in getting them an expensive all singing all dancing camera, but equally a disposable camera isn’t right for them either.
A simple basic camera with a zoom and importantly a screen is perfect. Even a phone with a camera is fine. Children need to see what they have taken a photo of and this needs to be instant, not a few days later!
Holding the Camera
Before you get them to snap away show them how to hold the camera. If they are using a phone then showing them a grip where they hold it in each corner is normally good.
Show them what happens if fingers are in front of the lens. No one enjoys looking through photos where little fingers are in the way. Show them beforehand so they won’t get disappointed when you look back at the photos later.
Setting up the photo
When getting children interested in taking photos don’t bombard them with too much information.
The best way to start is to tell them to start by getting everything in the center then they won’t go too far wrong. This is where having a screen is ideal as they can see exactly what they’re taking a photo of.
The beauty of digital photos and smartphones is that you can take endless amounts of photos and it doesn’t matter. If they get a disposable camera then it’s limited to 24 or 36, which is no good.
My tip would be to give them a camera on a day out and just let them snap away. You can then look back over them together and pick out their favourites, or work on different ways they can improve.
Get up Close
On most cameras there will be some form of zoom, but also explain to them that if something looks too far away then move up to the subject so more of the point of interest is in the photo. This may be easier said then done, but let them find out what they like and what works best for them.
Focus on Interesting Things
Why are they taking that photo? Once they’ve got the basics of actually taking a photo get them to take photos of interest.
What catches their eye? If it was an animal or person get them to focus on that and fill the photo with the thing they found interesting.”
Following these tips will give your child a good start in their photography journey, and over time, different tips can be introduced such as the rule of thirds, or even advancing to a larger camera with more settings.
Now step away from the camera and get your little one to snap photos of you for a change, instead of the other way round!
Darren is an award winning family photo blogger at Photalife.com