Like all kids, for mine, right from toddlers there’s always been a fascination with taking their own photographs – either surprising us with they they get with their own child-friendly cameras, or often with a stolen use of my camera, phone or tablet.
(Come on – how often have you picked up your tablet and found a stream of selfies or close ups of the dog on there?)
Recently, we started actively doing some photography with the children; setting them a theme and going out to take photos together. As always, the results never fail to surprise us…
We didn’t venture further than the garden for the first week’s challenge – and gave them three themes to work to; ‘Straight Line’, ‘Circle’, and ‘Pattern’. The way they interpreted the themes with what they saw was just brilliant.
In fact it’s all about perspective – and it’s SO fascinating seeing how your children see the world. It’s not about creating the most perfect photograph *you* would make from that prompt. It’s about enjoying what their brain explores and sees and creates.
This is a large wire dandelion sculpture we have in the garden – but rather than choosing the overall head, which is a mass of patterns, Boy opted instead to get up close with the very centre of the sculpture, deciding the mass of knotted wire at the heart of the sculpture was more interesting and less obvious.
The younger two both opted for full and complete ‘circles’ in this theme. But this one of Boy’s stood out from the rest of the flowerpots, hose wheels and drainpipes – he had spotted the grouping of flowerpots, but instead of recording the complete set, he chose the centre part and took a shot of four part-circles instead. MUCH more interesting and dynamic.
It’s a project with double the fun too – they’re all competitive, obviously, and demanded to go through their pictures with their photographer dad afterwards (I had to download them all and label them anonymously so he had no idea who had taken which shot) and have him judge them. Personally, I thought this was a recipe for disaster, but they genuinely loved understanding what was good about each, and how they could have improved or made it better.
Nothing technical or complicated, and no photoshopping or filters – just essential basic photography knowledge, pointing out simple things like straightening edges, removing distractions, the rule of thirds… Simple principles that any child can learn and understand, and see the results of.
I can’t see what they turn up with next month! Would your child be interested in joining in too? Let me know in the comments, or like the post over on Facebook – if enough people are interested, I’ll get something organised, with some nice prizes to win!