BY JOHN ADAMS
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Taking pictures is beautiful, and children love playing with cameras. It’s up to us to turn this desire into a hobby that can last for decades. Here you have 10 useful tips to encourage children to take pictures and improve their technique:
1. Buy them a camera: Yes it sounds obvious and stupid, but really it is the first step. Children need their own camera, so they can carry it with them, drop it, forget it, use it, etc. If the camera belongs to them they will feel the owners of its results. And, nowadays, it’s not expensive, just a cheap 3 or 5 megapixels camera (Better if it’s intended for children) is enough.
2. Appreciate the pictures: This also sounds obvious, but it’s also important to have it in mind as sometimes we don’t have much time to share with them. Children need to feel that their work is useful, so they need to see it and share it. Since they don’t have a flickr or picturesocial account, the only feedback they can get is yours, so make sure you give it to them.
3. Encourage them to use and carry the camera: Ok, they have the camera; wouldn’t it be good to make sure they use it? Remind them to bring it along when you go out, and once outside encourage them to use it.
4. Share their point of view: Children are born untaught; this is good from one side as they are not corrupted but also they need to know a little about composition and framing. So in order to explain to them how to see as a photographer you need to share their point of view, so get down on your knees and watch the world as they do. From there you will help them assemble meaningful compositions.
5. Work with still objects: Capturing movements is difficult, as the first step is to create a good composition. My suggestion is to start photographing objects or places; it’s easier as they don’t try to escape from the frame.
6. Play with colors: Children love colors, so use them to teach them about exposure. Try to picture colorful things in order to make them easier to understand contrasts and illumination. It’s easier to find differences in a color scale than in a black and white one.
7. Play with lines: Children love drawings and lines, so use natural lines to learn about composition. Suggest that they take pictures of things and places with a lot of lines, so it’s easier for them to visualize the composition.
8. Take them through the city: The cities have colors and lights and walking through regular spots and taking pictures of the routine walks is a very good way to train the photographic eye.
9. Print their best photos: As photographers we love to have our works exposed. Children want the same. So make sure you print their best photos and place them in a nice frame somewhere visible at home
10. Encourage them to keep working: The best way to succeed is working, so help them to make photography a habit. If they take pictures regularly they will improve for sure.
And latest, as a bonus for the truly good ones:
• Let them use your camera: From time to time make them feel big and important. Let them use your camera and play a little bit with the controls, so they can control and improve lighting and exposure.
I hope this list serves you and your children to enjoy photography as much as I do. Thanks for reading!