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In my former life, before becoming a photography teacher full-time, I worked in the public schools, teaching elementary students and teachers to embrace technology in purposeful and meaningful ways.
One of my favorite tools for engaging kids in their learning was the camera, but there were always projects I wanted to explore with students that expanded beyond the confines of the six hour school day. So once a week, after school hours, I spearheaded our 5th grade photography club. It quickly became my favorite time of the work week.
Using old point and shoot cameras, I found that kids were willing to dive right in and explore their world through personal projects, unique composition, and creative editing.
Now, as a mom to a four year old daughter, I’m having a blast getting behind the lens with her as well. Some of those same projects I used with students, I’m now able to pull in to our family adventures, and we’re connecting in even deeper more meaningful ways behind the lens.
If you’re looking for a few ideas to begin involving your kids and family in photography more, here are six creative photography projects and ideas to get you started.
Turn your photos into a hands-on project! Choose a theme, and photograph items that fall into whatever it is you choose. Some ideas to get you started could be: objects that begin with a certain letter, shapes, or colors. When you’re done, print out the images and glue them onto paper or canvas to create a photographic work of art that can proudly be displayed in your home.
Get out of the mindset of perfection and practice creative composition with this one. Spend an afternoon snapping photos without using the viewfinder! Close your eyes, frame your shot, point, and click. Everyone will be surprised by how, even without trying, you can still get accidental shots that you’re bound to fall in love with.
Set out to make a time capsule of images with your family. List out together some of the fun things you want to remember about this time in your life. Your favorite games to play, places to go, people to see, or outfits to wear. Once you have your list, snap photos of each of these items. Print the images and place them in a sealed envelope. Five, 10, or 20 years from now, get that envelope of photos and open it up! I’m sure everyone will have a couple of smiles and laughs looking through them.
On the days where everyone is grumpy, turn the mood around by going on a gratitude walk. Think of things that make you all smile and set out to photograph them. It’s a great way to shift the mood in your house, find a change of pace in your day, and focus on the positive parts of your life together.
When your kids are older, I’m sure they’d love to have a memento of their childhood home and neighborhood. Take a trip out with your child to photograph your home, town, school, playground grocery store, post office, etc. Add in any photos of their favorite things to do, people to play with, or childhood treasures. Compile all the images you collect into a family album you will all appreciate for years to come.
Transform your images into works of art, using off the wall creative editing techniques. I absolute adore PicMonkey.com for kids to easily edit and transform their images. They can play with layering techniques, add in their own digital painting over top of an image, apply filters to give their images a watercolor or comic book type look and feel, or add in doodles and clip art to create digital stories, cards, or posters. Lots of opportunities to let a child’s imagination run wild!
Do you have any other family photo project ideas? Please share in the comments. If you give these a try share your experience and images here too.