I love looking at the images my children take with their cameras. At an early age I armed both of them with cameras--not expensive ones, mind you, but ones that would allow them to show me the world from their point of view.
So how do you get your kids to love taking pictures? It's so much easier than ever before. The immediate feedback of digital cameras allows children to quickly see the end result of their art work. From toddlers to teens, fostering your child's love of the arts can be simple and fun.
Hand your kids your phone. Almost all phones have cameras. Smartphone cameras are an easy way to get your kids to love photography. And, nowadays, kids can work a phone's camera better than we can. iPhones and Android phones all have fun apps available like CamWow and Pictobooth that is a kid magnet. The younger kids love seeing their faces distort and the frame fill up with a funky designs. Although most of these images might end up being deleted, they are still fun to look at enjoy a good laugh. I even like to keep a few of them on my phone and review then now and then...especially on days when my kids are driving me crazy and I need to remember a funnier time.
Below is an image from my son's iPod. Yes, it lacks amazing image quality, but it is enjoyable to remember our trip to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He had a blast picking out his favorite balloons and capturing the image on his iPod.
Go on a photo safari scavenger hunt. Create a list of images you want your child to photograph. For example, take your kids to the zoo and make a list of animals, attractions, objects, and people that will be there. Head to the zoo with a camera for each person and have fun. It's amazing how differently we all see the world around us. A child's vantage point is so different than an adult's. Shown below is my son before an aquarium photo safari.
Here is an image my other son took at a local car show. We sent him off with an inexpensive camera to take pictures of his favorite cars. After we returned home, we hooked the camera to the big screen T.V. and let him scroll through his images. He was so proud!
Hand them a fun camera. I recently reviewed the Samsung WB250F. The camera offers a feature called motion photo. The motion photo effect allows you to take about five seconds of images. The images are then combined and the user can "erase" the parts of the image that they want to show movement. The camera saves these as .gif files. My nine year old son and I had a bunch of fun using this feature. He didn't want to put the camera down and we spent hours just laughing and laughing. Below is a sample of a motion photo my son produced.
During our recent vacation to Myrtle Beach, I handed my other son the new Pentax WG-3 rugged camera I am currently reviewing to get some underwater images (there was no way I was getting in that freezing cold water). I knew it was a camera he could have fun with, but not ruin since it is shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof, and waterproof. It was a relief to know that I could hand him a camera and not worry about him messing it up. Here is an image from the Pentax WG-3 of a friend we met on the beach after a storm brought him to shore.
Send them to a photography class at your local creative arts center or library. Older kids can benefit from a structured photography class. Exposing kids to the functionality of a camera will open up a whole new creative world for them. Learning how to create stop motion photography and selective color can be fun and interesting to the tweens and teens.
Invest in image editing software like Corel's Paintshop Pro or Adobe's Photoshop. Image editing software does not have to be expensive. Adobe has the Photoshop Touch app available on a tablet for $10 or on a phone for only $5 if you are interested in light retouching. Paintshop Pro is a mere $80 and has almost the same functionality as Photoshop that retails for almost eight times more. And don't forget about Snapseed. It's now a free app for iOS and Andriod devices. Or get Snapseed for your computer for only $20. Getting creative with editing images can be exactly what a teen needs to find their passion for photography.
The image above was taken on a recent trip to South Carolina's Fishing Island State Park. It was taken with my iPhone and retouched in a matter of a few minutes with my free Snapseed app. I am amazed at the difference. It was able to enhance the image quality, not distract from it. No doubt--the teen crowd and the experienced photographer can both love the results of a nicely edited image.
Photography is so much fun. Getting kids involved at an early age will promote creativity and help preserve your family's memories. I hope I have given you a few ideas to get your child(ren) interested in photography. Do you have a suggestion or two? Post your ideas in our forum. We look forward to reading them.