These days with smart phones and digital cameras, kids are able to get behind the lens much earlier and experiment with photography more frequently. Best Buy’s photography selection can help with a wide selection of cameras and gear. My very first camera was a neon orange one from McDonalds when I was six. It took a special type of film that was expensive, and my parents weren’t too keen on refilling it often. Unfortunately for them, I fell in love with photography early on as a child.
If your child is showing an interest in photography, I would first browse through some magazine images and get them to pick out which ones they like the best. Ask them why they are drawn to this particular image. This may reveal what they are interested in taking photos of (animals, nature, objects etc.) Encourage your kids to put thought into their shot. In this day and age, it is so easy to click a button over and over and not have to worry about film running out, or getting an acceptable photograph right away. Once your child has taken a few of their first photos, review them together; just make sure not to be too critical. Ensure that you are complimentary of their work to encourage their progress. Only address basic errors such as a finger over the lens if it seems to be a consistent problem.
Tip: Teach them to see things, to notice the small details that they wouldn’t normally pick up on.
Mobile photography is a great place to start
Starting out by letting your child use your mobile phone to take some photos is a great way to gage their interest in photography before you start shelling out for a new camera. Here they will be able to experiment with some basic rules of composition and framing, including:
- Filling the frame
- If photographing people, do not cut off heads or limbs at the joints
- Be mindful of contrasting colours (E.g., shooting someone in a red shirt in front of a red wall isn’t ideal.)
- Create a focus
I wouldn’t worry too much about rules such as “rule of thirds” for children, just encourage them to experiment and try different angles and distances.
Choosing a kid-appropriate camera
If your child aces mobile photography, you may want to think about purchasing a family camera, or if you think they’re on track to be the next Richard Avedon, splurge and purchase them one of their own! Depending on their age, you may want to go with either a DSLR like the Canon Rebel or a Sony mirrorless camera. The Sony is bit more compact and easier to handle for small hands. The benefits of one of these two cameras vs. a point and shoot camera are:
- Option for new lenses
- Advanced settings such as ISO, aperture and shutter speed
- Manual focus
- Higher quality imagery
- Higher quality video
Having these options will help advance your child’s skillset greatly.
Other tools to consider that can boost their photo skills
Once you have your new camera, you will be able to determine which accessories are right for you. Your camera will likely come with a lens with different focal lengths such as a 28-70mm or 16-50mm. This lens will allow your child to zoom in or zoom out. You can find a range of lenses online and maybe wonder what is a good alternative. A lens that you may want to invest in is a 50mm 1.8. It is one that only has one focal length but allows your backgrounds to be completely blurred out. Depending on what your child is interested in photographing, purchasing a tripod to help keep the camera steady is always a good idea. This is especially helpful if you do choose a DSLR that is a bit heavier. And lastly, you will definitely want to protect your child’s new camera, so a small camera bag is helpful for them to store it in, along with extra batteries and memory cards.
Turning your home into a gallery
Your little one will likely be very proud of their work.
There are many ways that you can show it off around your home while showing them that you are just as proud!
- Print: There are a wide range of printer types for photos; however, your printer is likely capable of printing pretty great images; all you need is some quality photo paper
- Digital photo frames
- TV may have a setting that lets you run a slideshow of photos when it is “off”
- Mobile Phone: You can even do something as simple as making one of their photographs your phones background or lock screen
Your child may just stick to snapping photos on your camera phone and that’s okay; but, if they do fall deeply in love with photography, Best Buy’s camera page has a ton of options to get them started and continue to advance their photography skills as they get older.