Recently I enrolled into the Photography program at our local college, I am one month is and LOVING it! I have noticed while out taking photographs for my projects, the family has become quite interested in photography. Especially the kids, they have really gotten into my new venture, and are often offering suggestions. Which got me thinking about Photography for kids, I can still remember the very first camera I got as a child. It was given to me as a gift, for what I have long since forgotten, but what I have not forgotten was the camera or the photographs I took. In fact, I still have many of the photos I took in an album as well as the negatives tucked away.
My First Memories Of Photography
I grew up in a family of photographers, my grandfather and aunts were shutter bugs. Often times us kids would be the subjects of the photos, dressing up for special occasions and dragged to countless parks and locations to have our photos taken. Both of my parents became Photographers in the last few years, and now have their own business and studio.
As a Child, I often accompanied my Grandfather on his treks to the lake where he would spend hours waiting for the ships to come in so he could snap pictures of them passing under the Blue Water bridge. He belonged to a club that shared their photos of working ships on the great lakes, I was lucky to attend a few of the yearly meets. It was always such a big event and I always looked forward to seeing every ones photos.
I was about 7 years old when I was given my first camera, I loved it, I took it everywhere and took photos of EVERYTHING. My main subjects were of course my pets, and often my little brother, I took photo evidence of him breaking or playing with things he was not to be touching. Often he would blame me for such incidents, but was unable to get away with it as I had photo evidence!
What Does Photography Have To Offer Kids?
Asides from being able to prove their innocents when it comes to pesky siblings, Photography has plenty to offer kids. Photography is very educational as well as a great outlet to be creative and expressive.
Photography Encourages kids to
- Learn a new skill, which is beneficial to self esteem
- Be innovated
- Learn Presentation
- Express themselves
- Develop their own ideas through design
Plus it’s great fun as well as provides hours of entertainment, Photography can be a great hobby for kids, and can follow them throughout their lives opening many opportunities to join clubs, or later in life find employment doing something they enjoy!
Where To Start?
Getting started with Photography is easier now than ever before, access to cameras at affordable prices is quite literally at your finger tips. Many smart devices such as phones and tablets have great cameras for a beginner to start with, chances are you and your child have access to one right this very moment.
The great thing about Photography, is that very little equipment is required, a camera, a little creativity and knowledge will get your child started in no time. Expensive gear is great to have, but not necessary, you can always add to your child s gear slowly if they show a great interest in Photography. Birthdays and Holiday gift ideas just got easier!
At What Age Can A Child Start Exploring Photography?
Well, at what age can they hold a camera and push a button?
My son got his first camera when he was 3 years old, the photos he produced were great! I love looking at what he saw through his lens at that age! The world really becomes quite interesting and magical when you are looking through the eyes of a young child! Photos of everything he saw from dust on the floor to his toys and family members are still stored in a folder on my computer. I loved looking at the images he produced, it gave me a great idea of what it is he found interesting or how he was feeling that day.
His first camera was a Vtech, it was a cool looking orange camera that ran off of four double A batteries, and connected to the computer to download the images. The camera also had an LCD viewing display that allowed him to see his photos in real time, and play games with the pictures he took!
Vtech cameras have come a long way in the last 12 years, the latest version of the camera is a simple point and shoot auto camera, your child is also able to take selfies. Vtech utilizes 2 cameras that your child can easily switch between front lens and selfie lens. It has dual view finders, a built in flash and 4 x digital zoom! The feature I enjoy the most with this camera is that it has quite a bit of memory storage as well as having a slot for a micro SD card for extra image space. It still includes games and is a great little camera for shutter bugs ages 3 – 9 years old. Dropping this camera won’t be as scary as dropping mom or dads cell phone or tablet as Vtech built this camera to be durable and kid friendly.
Camera’s For Older Kids
There are cameras on the market for every age group, as well as every skill level. Again something as simple as a tablet or cell phone camera are great for beginners. But what if your child would like to learn Photography like the pro’s? Believe me when I say you have options! The first thing you must decide is will you purchase a point and shoot camera, or a DSLR?
The difference between a point and shoot and DSLR is quite large, point and shoot cameras are great for beginners especially if you are not looking to purchase extra equipment. They are just as the name suggests, a camera with presets that allow you to go out and point the lens and press the shutter producing an image. They are capable of zooming in and out, as well as often times having a built in flash. They are also pretty compact making it easy to put them in a backpack or purse for on the go Photography. A point and Shoot camera like the Canon Powershot ELPH 180 is an excellent starting point. It is well within the budget for a beginner, and will produce some great images.
A DSLR Camera offers you much more than simply pointing the camera and pressing the shutter release. With a DSLR you open new doors to the study of Photography, including lens, flashes and the ability to add other accessories designed to assist you in your style of Photography. With DSLR cameras you also have the ability to shoot HD video, making it a camera and video recorder.
Another feature the DSLR’S offer is the ability to point and shoot or use Manual, learning Manual is essential for anyone looking to improve their photographs and make quality images to last a lifetime. Auto is a great starting point when you or your child are first learning to take photos. DSLR cameras are the better by providing you with the ability to start with the basics and level up to the pro’s.
For a beginner I recommend the Canon EOS Rebel T5, it’s a mid range DSLR camera with a decent price point.
There are so many wonderful books that you can purchase to help your child learn Photography, my favorite book for kids is Photo Adventures For Kids. This book is great for learning composition and the settings to use for a chosen subject, it is well illustrated and offers step by step guidance.
Another great book covering everything the beginner needs to know is The Kid’s Guide to Digital Photography. This book will help your child learn the basics as well as about taking, editing and how to use finished photos for school projects.
The most important thing to remember about Photography is to HAVE FUN! Get out there, get creative and explore the world around you. The one thing I have discovered with Photography is that my family and I spend so much more time together outdoors exploring locations around us. We have rediscovered new things about our favorite locations as well as completely new places we had no idea existed before.
Do you have a shutter bug? Tell us all about your fun adventures together in the comments below, and feel free to share your photographs with us!