Getting kids involved with photography isn’t as hard as you might think. Children from a very young age innately love to show off the world around them in new and creative ways.
There are so many fun ways to start your budding photographer off in the right direction. Here are 10 of my favorites to get you and your kids started. But really, your imagination is your only limit!
- Honey, I shrunk the kid. Young children have such a unique perspective on life, and of the world in general. Hand your little one a digital camera with simple functions and easy to handle—then let them go do their thing. Their low to the ground perspective and angles will make for some very intriguing shots. Choose your favorites to create a photo journal to look back on.
- Where is the color? Once your little one is accustomed to their camera, send them on a mission to take photos of items with a specific color—and only that color. This will help them to continue getting used to their camera and for those who are very young, it can reinforce colors in relation to shapes. Another variation can be the first letter of your child’s name. Ask them to take photos only of items that start with the same letter as their first name.
- Good old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Give your little ones, depending on age, clues—or tell them outright—about the items you’d like them to find and photograph. Then have a fun prize at the end of the hunt for them to take pictures of and enjoy.
- Find your ABCs. Help your kindergartner to learn their ABC’s in a brand new way! Have them run around the house (or the store, the park, the backyard, the toy box) and take photos of something in alphabetical order. When all is said and done, make a book out of their ABCs for them to look back on later, or read to their younger siblings.
- Celebration Cards. A great way to tell someone you love them is with a card. It’s the foundation for Hallmark, after all. Why not help your kids create a photo card from some of the images they’ve taken to celebrate someone special in their lives. Whether Mom, Dad, Grandparent’s or teachers—there are tons of ways to make this fun and help your little ones bring their enthusiasm and creativity to the mix.
Older Kids and Teens
- Photo time capsules. Documenting your life as a child is something not all kids will consider top on their lists while they’re young, but may look back on in ten years as something they’re very proud of. Have your older kid take photos for a week of everything that impacts their life; friends, teachers, the bus driver, the kids who don’t get along with them, their text books, their bedroom—everything. Then have them go through the photos and have them turned printed so they can write on the back what or who the image is about. Then, have them place everything in a box, seal it up with a date not to be opened until, give the box to Grandma or Grandpa to ensure NO PEEKING! Then, in the time frame you decide, have them go through the photos again and reminisce.
- Superhero shrink-ray. Forced perspective photos can be a lot of fun for older kids and teens. I’ve found tweens and teens love to laugh about silly things and this is a great way to do it. All it takes is 2 friends; one that stands far away, while the other is near. Have the near friend hold out a hand to make it look like the far friend is resting in their palm. Let the fun ensue!
- Vision boards. Being a kid can be hard. Sometimes, giving them an outlet for their optimism can be just what they need. Enter vision boards. Teach them how to take photos of things they want to aspire to be, to obtain (when reasonable). For what they can’t take photos of, have them hunt through magazines, or online and place them on the board. Giving them this tool young could help them later on in being able to craft a life they love.
- Compare and contrast. No one sees things in exactly the same way. To prove this point, have multiple children (siblings, friends, etc) take photos of the exact same object or objects. This works really well if you have children of varying ages in the family. When you’re all done, compare and contrast the different ways the item was photographed and discuss the reasons behind the composition.
- 365 Days. Similar to the Photo Time Capsule, this project takes photo-documenting to another level. Instead of a week-in-the-life, this is a full year commitment of taking a photograph of something—anything—every single day for a year. For older kids on social media, this could be a great way to post their blooming skills and get encouragement from friends as they post their images online.
Do you have any additional ways to get kids involved with loving photography? Let me know in the comment section below.
About the Author:
Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!