Children's Photography projects
Don't be afraid to let your kids loose with the camera! Digital photography has brought about a new way of life and without the cost of processing film, there is room to experiment and explore in a way that we have never been able to before.
"But my child might drop the expensive camera". Parenting is a hard job, but if you never show them the right way to do things, they'll never have the opportunity to learn and get things right!! Put the wrist strap around their wrist and insist that they are not allowed to take any photos unless this is on. Supervise their initial outings, only take photos inside the house where dropping would be less catastrophic, show them how to hold the device correctly so that it comfortably fits into their hand. It may take your child some time to develop the coordination to hold the camera still and take a non-blurry photo at the same time, but because they can see the result immediately, you can both access and modify technique on the spot.
There's no need to tell your kids that they're taking photos the wrong way or of the wrong things anymore. Let them go deliberately out of focus and see what you end up with. Take a look at the defocus group to see just how beautiful out of focus can be!
1. Give all participants a camera, no matter how young! Waiting to share a camera is not much fun for little folk. Tell them to take photos of colour rather than objects. Get your head away from the fact that you're captureing an image of something and think about creating a colour palate.
Get really close to your subject, close enough to touch, but the focus should always be on spectacular colour.
Set a time limit to hold the youngest participants attention (we did hours in under an hour) and walk, run, or climb around your house looking for the best examples of colour.
2. Compile all your photos. You should have lots, and I mean hundreds if you've gone wild enough. I tweaked the images enhance some of the dull ones and balance the colours so they sat well as a set.
3. Print your favourites. Printing is cheap these days. Keep your eye out for sale days and you can get your prints for $0.09 each. At that rate you're only spending a couple of bucks to get a whole heap of vibrant colour.
And here's the next fun part - create a design with your photos! Cut them into shapes, maneuver them, but most of all play with your colour elements. Finish it off by gluing your photos onto a backing sheet, sandwich into your frame (trim if required), and you're ready to hang.
Our creation hangs in the smallest room in the house. It certainly livens up those 3 white walls.
During the school holidays, I came up with the idea for this photo project. We occasionally walk the 2.5kms to the childrens grandparents, but on this occasion I wanted them to take it easy and see more of the world around them. We each took a camera and agreed that the youngest (4.5) would "take photos of numbers", the eldest would (7.5) "take photos of letters", and I would take photos of lines and patterns. I had no idea what we'd see so I was really hoping that we'd come back with something interesting.
This became a great exercise in taking our time and opening our eyes to the details of the world around us. We've walked this way MANY times but we still found interesting details we'd never seen before.
1. Give all participants a camera, no matter how young! Old phones sometimes have cameras, out dated digital cameras may not have the resolution that you'd consider adequate anymore, but it's ample for a little person.
2. Choose your journey. Not so close that you don't get a chance to explore, but not so far that you'll be exhausted and end up with cranky participants. Select a journey that will allow them to safely stop at any point to take shots. Even if it's a well worn journey that you take daily, when you slow down to walking pace, you'll see many things you may have missed when travelling at speed.
3. Assign each member of your party a mission - letters, numbers, squares, gates, fence pailings, front doors, street signs, flowers, lines, lights, cars, or anything that you may be able to see multiples of on your journey and that suits your season and climate (i.e. don't go looking for flowers when it's not Spring). When you are given a goal to keep in mind, you may notice that your eyes open up and see your environment in a completely different way. For instance if I said "there are so many red cars on the road today", you'll have the tendancy to notice all the red cars.
Don't limit what they're taking photos of. They see the world differently to you, even if it's simply because of their closer-to-the-ground point of view.
4. Process the images - agree upon which images are good enough to keep. This is a VERY important part of the project as the children need to make their own assessments of what they feel has worked well and how the iamges fit together as part of the overall project. Next, process the photos (correct light, colours and crop if neccessary - I'm a big fan of the square) and then print. Cut the images down to size if requred and stick 'em up. I've gone with squares in a square, but you could make a an alphabet path winding around the childrens bedroom, or attach them to strong and use as bunting or a garland.
For our project my plan was to capture at least one of every number (we got HEAPS more than one each) and one of each letter (the Z was really tricky to find).
You'll end up with sets of images that tell your own story of your walking trip.