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While we’ve had many posts giving advice on shooting photos of children (Successful Portraits of Children [Matrix Style], How to Photograph Children, etc..), here on DPS we haven’t expounded on the joys of shooting WITH children. I admit for some of you out there without children of your own this idea may be a big turn off. But it also might be a bit of help. And for those with children and a camera, I’m sure you’ll find this experiment enlightening if you can find the patience to follow it through. 🙂 This challenge expands on the post 13 Lessons to Teach Your Child About Digital Photography and asks you to put it to use, letting us see the results. Let me explain the challenge and let you decide.
The challenge is fairly straight forward and contains four parts:
1) This challenge is meant to be fun. If it’s not fun, just go get some ice cream until fun returns. Kids love learning when fun is involved so it’s up to you as the adult to keep it light and fun.
2) Now then, head out some place you, as the adult, would like to go with your child. Give them a camera to use, keeping it age appropriate, such as a point and shoot for younger children and more expensive SLRs for older kids. Let them take as many pictures as they like. Set a time limit for taking photos at that location. In this location, show them what you find interesting and the pictures you are taking. Depending on their age, tell them why you’re shooting what you’re shooting and ask the same of them. Show them how to take the photos you are taking. This part of the challenge is mainly ‘Adult Teaches Child’ so lead it in that manner, but let the time take you where it will.
3) It’s the child’s turn. Ask them where they’d like to go (within reason!) and invert #2 above. Take a back seat but keep asking questions about what they are shooting. Ask open ended questions rather than yes and no questions. Shoot what they shoot and follow in their footsteps. Again, keep it fun and set the time according to the child’s current disposition. Younger kids may only want to spend five minutes while older children maybe want to spend half a day shooting.
4) Lastly, review the photos. Either on camera or at home. Each of you will then pick your favorite photo the other took and post a link here to both photos in the comments section. Let us know why you picked the photos you two picked.
I came up with this challenge after spending many, many hours hiking with my daughter over the years. She always sees things I don’t, in ways I don’t. What interests her is worlds away from what interests me, but, as with most children, she has a keen eye for seeing things fresh. And that helps a ton when looking for ways to photograph any subject.
Plus you get to spend part of the day just being a kid again. For #3 above try to really get into it and abandon all you’ve learned about how to photograph and what’s ‘right and wrong’. Just be a kid and have fun with the kid you’re spending time with, especially if they are your own child.