About 4 years ago, I redeemed some leftover Air Miles that I accrued while I was still living in Canada. I have loved photography for a long time and I had this idea that maybe, one day, my kids would get interested in it, too. That is how we came to own our green Fuji FinePix XP90 digital camera. I chose this camera because it is water proof and it is shock proof, which I figured might be a good feature because - you know - kids drop things!
I have the camera set on Scene Recognition Automatic Mode and the image size is set to "S" (small) 4:3, although it got knocked into a 1:1 aspect ratio at some point. I wonder how that happened?!!! (Kids and buttons, I tell you!) I have the wrist strap attached to the camera and I also added a lanyard that I have instructed my kids to always wear around their neck to help prevent drops.
Our kids have used this camera a few times over the years, but it was only in recent months that they have begun to really show persistent interest. All of the below photos were taken by my kids! I edited them, but I did not adjust crop, perspective or clarity/sharpening.
So, what happens when you give your kids their very own camera to use? Scroll on! :)
1. You get to see a bit of the world through their eyes.
I am a portrait photographer, so I am basically always and only taking pictures of people. Seeing the pictures on the kids' memory card has been really intriguing! It is mostly still pictures of...things, first of all! Also, the perspective of some of their pictures are a little wild and different, but in a good way!
Their pictures show me what they personally find picture-worthy, which is eye opening as their parent and as a photographer.
2. They develop a new way to be creative.
There have been times when my kids have worked together to purposely create a photograph. Once, they went to one of our living room windows and opened the blinds to let more light in. Then they moved a footrest to the window, so that they could take turns taking photos of each other sitting on it. Another time, they experimented with different compositions while trying to get one good shot of a bristle blocks creation. They have also tried to frame their subjects with nearby houseplants. Gradually, they are learning how to take interesting pictures!
3. They feel pride when they get a good shot.
I can hear the sense of achievement and pride when my kids review their shots, share them with each other and then come over to show me.
They get the same excitement that I feel when I get a shot right, which is really cool to have them experience for themselves.
4. You get a chance to teach them some basics of photography.
For kids, one of the main things to teach is how to avoid blurry photos. I stress to them the importance of keeping their hands and arms as still as possible when pressing the shutter, and also to rest their arms and/or camera on a horizontal surface when available. I tell them, too, that since it's a digital camera (vs. film), they should feel free to take multiple shots to ensure that one is not blurry.
In terms of composition, I have taught them to take pictures from different angles to make them more captivating. For example, pictures of a dog lying down can be pretty neat when you take it at the dog's eye level. Also, they now know about the concept of filling the frame, where you take a close up shot and the subject dominates the entire picture.
5. As a photographer, I get to share my passion with them.
My kids have seen me taking photos for as long as they remember, and even more so now that I have taken on a daily photography project documenting our family. I love love love photography, and it's been a joy getting to see them try their hand at it, too. There was a recent family walk, where I spent nearly the entire duration excitedly and animatedly explaining the exposure triangle to my son (aperture, shutter speed and ISO - these are the three factors that control how bright or dark a photo is)! It's pretty technical and yet he actually listened intently and asked questions throughout our conversation. I really don't think I could have held his interest if he hadn't been experimenting with photography himself!
Have you tried giving your child a point-and-shoot camera to play with? What were the results? What were their favourite things to photograph? Let me know in the comments!