It is often said ‘start ‘em young’ but you don’t want to go too hard-core early getting them into a hobby and have them backlash against something that can bring a lifetime of joy. That’s certainly how I feel about introducing them into photography, I would rather indirectly have them casually experiment and organically ease into looking at photography as a serious art form.
Get sturdy cameras
Depending on the age of your little ones, the level of camera sturdiness is important. You can find rubber enclosed cameras for those as young as 3 years old (which I got) and it includes videos and digital photo options along with a memory card. Obviously the older your child the more sophisticated the camera will be. But as a start don’t get anything too complicated and something that is sturdy enough that you won’t have to hover over them making sure they take good care of it. The idea is to get them started using any sort of camera and have fun just taking random photos. 90% of which will be blurry, dark, or unusable –thank God for digital photography which makes it easy to delete photos, so let them have at it.
Get disposables for trips
On trips kids are more likely to loose or forget cameras, so even cheap child cameras will be money wasted. Best to invest in less costly disposable cameras, that way you are less emotionally invested (and financially). Have kids explore new environments and snap different shots. The sense of satisfaction on their faces when you print out the pictures is priceless; and have them placed in a small album as a reminder of their trip
Have them start taking pix of family
I know it’s hard giving up control, but get them used to portrait photos, especially in family gatherings. Make sure you take your own photos and don’t rely completely on your little guys for those heirloom photos. But once you have your photos, ask them to take their own, both formally posed and natural ones. This will start to give them a sense of involvement, responsibility, and confidence. You will see how much care they will take in composing a photo when they realize the importance of it.
Talk about lights and shadows
It’s never too early to get them to think about shadows and light, and the difference it makes in different lighting environments. Even as little kids, I like to point out different shadows and ask them if they want to take a picture. This will get them started in thinking about lighting early on – even if indirectly.
Play with perspectives
Similar to lighting, getting them started in noticing different angles and perspectives is always a good thing and it’s never too early. As they take a picture, have them look at the same subject from a different angel and talk about which one looks more interesting. This is all about getting them to get a feel for thinking outside the box and looking at things differently (who knows? this may feed into their daily life for other things – always to get them thinking outside the box).
Any other tips for starting the little ones thinking about photography that you found useful?