If you give a child a point-and-shoot camera, chances are they’ll have a blast running around photographing everything they see. But does this help them truly understand photography? While it certainly allows them to practice their compositions without having to think of the technical aspects of the photograph, knowing how to use all of the functions of a proper DSLR can transform their snapshots into beautiful, professional looking photographs. Think of all the fun they could have by learning light painting or the tricks of perfect silhouettes!
I know what you’re thinking: why would a child want to know all of the technical stuff behind the images? You’d be surprised how much children want to learn everything about everything. And if you make learning fun, they’ll actually absorb all of the information you’re feeding to them.
Where to Start?
Instead of diving right in to the super technical aspects such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO, help children ease their way in to digital photography by introducing them to the different shooting modes. This is pretty simple - each mode has a picture that helps describe what the mode is used for:
The picture of a head = Portrait Mode
The picture of a mountain = Landscape Mode
The picture of a flower = Macro Mode
The picture of a person running = Action Mode
The picture of a person with a star in the background = Nighttime Mode
Pretty self explanatory! By choosing one of these modes based on their desired subject, children can begin to take the photographs they have envisioned in their head.
All of the other modes, such as M, AV, TV, and P, can be discussed later.
Once the children have familiarized themselves with the five different modes, give them the assignment of coming back with one photograph taken with each of the modes. A portrait with the portrait mode, a landscape with landscape mode, etc. This will get them used to branching out and photographing subjects they may not have beforehand.