Our 6 year old daughter Cali loves photography and continually borrows our phone to take pictures. We also gave her our old point and shoot. She loves it and we love to encourage her to learn about. When Dan reached out wanting to collaborate and provide his article about a beginners guide to photography for kids, I was very interested. Take a few minutes to read his article and learn more about mobile photography for kids.
Mobile Phone Photography-Beginners guide for Kids
In this day and age where our lives are so driven by technology and gadgets, it has become difficult to connect with our own children. Spending quality time with your children over creative and interactive activity is a great way to bond with them. Photography is a creative and interesting activity for your child. Looking at the world through a lens can help them develop a keen interest in their surroundings and piques their curiosity. There are plenty of options available in the market if you are looking to buy a good camera for your child.
However, unless your child gets a hands-on experience with photography, it’s difficult to tell if they will enjoy it and will want to pursue it further. Instead of investing in a camera, only to realize that your child isn’t interested in photography, it would be wise to first begin with a camera already available on your phone. This is an excellent way to gauge if they are or aren’t interested in photography and you still won’t be at a loss.
There are two important points that you must take into account before you allow your child to access your mobile phone. Children can be sloppy while handling things and often tend to drop them. There’s always a risk of your phone falling off their hands and getting damaged or broken. If your phone is a high-end device, you may want to consider using a sturdy and durable phone case along with a scratch resistant screen guard. The next important point which you must take note of when handing your mobile phone to your child is the internet connectivity. Your child may have access to websites and other online content that may not be suitable for their age. Leaving your phone unattended, in your child’s hands always poses the risk of their innocence being compromised. An effective way to counter this would be to turn off mobile data or use a setting to restrict internet access. If you are not expecting any important phone calls, you can choose to switch your phone to airplane mode.
Key points to begin teaching mobile phone photography to your child:
Know your camera’s features: Figure out your camera’s key features. Test the camera on various modes such as normal mode, panorama mode, burst shots etc. for still photography. Test the performance of your camera under different lighting conditions like natural light, ambient light, low light etc. These tests will help you evaluate under what settings your camera performs best. You can pre-set your camera to that mode, taking into account the lighting conditions at the time and then begin to teach your child.
Introduction to modes and functions: There’s a chance that your child may begin to feel disinterested or frustrated if they are not impressed with the result of their initial photographs. Begin teaching them photography with the basic functions of your mobile phone camera. Explain about focus. Light has a big impact on how the photograph will turn out. Explain to them how to use various lighting conditions to get the best results in their photographs. Teach them the function of flash. Ask them to click pictures with the flash mode on and with the flash mode off. This way they will see the difference in both pictures and understand the usage of functions better. Once you see that their clicks are getting better, you can progress to advanced functions like zoom, HDR etc. in the beginning your child will want to fit in as many things as possible in the frame. You need to explain to them how to first choose the object they want to photograph and then focus only on the object. Once they get better with clicking photographs of objects, you can teach them how to take photographs of subjects such as sunsets or the skyline etc. You can also check the various video modes and functions and if you like, consider a video camera for kids.
Accessing the camera: Children in general, have a limited attention span. The more time they spend looking for the camera app on your mobile phone, the more disinterested they become. You can avoid this by placing a shortcut of the camera app on your home screen. This way the camera icon will be visible to them as soon as the phone is unlocked. You may also want to consider pre-setting the camera modes such, that it is ready to use should your child choose to use your phone on their own.
Old phone with a good camera: We tend to upgrade our phones as soon as a new model is launched. In case you have an old device in a usable condition that has a good camera, you can consider letting your child use it. Letting your child use an old phone has many advantages. You can safeguard your phone from breakage or any other damage while it is in your child’s hands. You can let them use the phone without a SIM card and Wi-Fi. This will prevent them from getting access to online content that may not be appropriate for them. They can immediately click a photograph of an object or subject as they come across it. This will encourage their interest in photography further. Also having a device only to themselves allows them a feeling of ownership and they learn to become responsible for their belongings.
Editing & Sharing: There are many free apps available on Android as well as iOS platforms, which allow you to edit your photographs. Teaching your child to use these apps to edit photographs will only make them more creative. Children feel more encouraged when they receive appreciation for what they have done. You can share photographs clicked by them on your social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook etc.
We hope you enjoyed reading our post on teaching mobile phone photography to your kids. These are a few basic tips that you will find easy to implement. If you have any suggestions that would help make the experience of teaching photography to kids more wholesome, please do let us know in the comments section.
About the Author:
Dan Barr is a photographer, a parent to two girls, and the founder of KidsCameraGuide.com, a blog which is all about teaching photography to kids and kids cameras. You can visit Dan at his website http://www.kidscameraguide.com.