Do your kids fill up your smart phone with 500 photos of stuffed animals or “selfies” of silly faces? Today, with cameras so ubiquitous, kids are more eager than ever to capture their world through a lens, and that’s a creative act you can encourage. “Exploring the world through a viewfinder lends to a unique perspective on everything,” says Marianne Drenthe of Chicago’s Marmalade Photography (marmaladephotography.com). Here are some tips for helping your child hone his or her shutterbug skills.
Tell a story. Professional photographers know how important story is to a great image. Young photographers will pick up this concept naturally. “Kids really are super creative, but it never hurts to remind them to tell a story with their pictures,” says Robin Dodd, a portrait photographer (robindoddphotography.blogspot. com) and mother of three in Nashville, Tenn. If your child is old enough to write, challenge him to write a story that he can illustrate with photos, or let the photos he’s taken inspire a story. His imagination will soar.
Upload, print and discuss. Set up an account for your child on Flickr or another photo-sharing site and help her upload her photos. These can be easily printed into inexpensive books your child will treasure. Look through the books with your child. “This is a great way to get in touch with your child on her level and understand better how she views the world around her,” Drenthe says.
Get up close. The macro setting (often represented by a flower on the camera) can be great fun for a curious child, says Drenthe. Have him experiment with shots of everyday objects like a pet’s nose, a blade of grass or flower petals.
Steady as they go. Help your little shutterbugs avoid camera shake by showing them how to steady the camera against an object such as a doorway, piece of furniture, column, tree or fence rail, Dodd says.