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Encourage Your Child's Creativity With Photography

Updated on April 23, 2015

Cultivate Creativity Early

While many parents focus on things like teaching and encouraging children to learn academic skills before age five, they often forget that artistic and creative skills taught early can enrich the child a lifetime. Those skills can help them as adults think in more creative ways and use them in their personal and possibly professional lives as well. They can pass them on to their own children.

Each parent will need to assess when they think their child is ready to start learning photography, but it seems 4-5 years of age is a good time for many children.


Photography Basics for Children

I believe one of the best things a child can learn early is photography. Every day they come across something amazing and new. They want to study it and they ask questions about it. Being able to photograph it, they can capture it. Teaching them the basics of photography will help them capture those things the way they see them and the way they want others to see them.

No need to research and teach complicated techniques and theories. There will be time for those details as the child matures and their skills and comprehension expand.

Basics to photography include:

  • Framing-Framing is as simple as picking a subject to photograph and finding it in your viewfinder.
  • Composition- Composition means selecting what else besides the subject you want,or don't want, in the photograph. It also means how close or far away to photograph the subject or determining if you want to shoot straight-on or at an angle to the subject.
  • Lighting-Different types and amounts of light affect the outcome of a photo. When a camera takes a picture, it is the amount of light and color recorded that creates the photo. So if there is low light, then the photo will have shadows or darkness. One technique with lighting that may be fun for children is the use of backlighting. Photographing a bird in late afternoon with the sun behind it will produce a silhouette of the bird.
  • Camera functions and care-How to turn the camera on and off, how to zoom in and out and how to review photos are really all a young beginner will need to know. Just as important is teaching how to take care of the camera: placing it into a case, care in not dropping it or sitting it somewhere it can be damaged.

Your Child's First Camera

Photography Activities for Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration for a little one needs some focus (no pun intended). Children are easily distracted so each day or so, give them a photography "assignment".

Some examples:

  • Photograph the family pet(s).
  • Different birds or insects
  • Flowers
  • Food items
  • Textures and colors
  • Family members
  • Their toys

Encourage them to photograph anything they find interesting and to experiment with props, lighting and poses.Don't direct them too much on their choices unless they seem to be stuck on what to do.The point is to let them explore what they like and what they want to capture on film to show.

After their assignment, have them share each photo with you and tell about what they wanted to capture and if they feel they succeeded in it.

Children will often use their toys as photography subjects.
Children will often use their toys as photography subjects. | Source

Celebrating Their Art

If you have a printer available, printing off the photos your child has taken and having them use those photos in other art projects, such as montages or mixed media creations, will further enhance a child's creativity. If the child is comfortable with it, displaying his photos and artwork in the home is showing support and helps their self esteem.

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