Fresh Perspective: Photography for Your Aspiring Shutterbug was originally published on Cultivate, a blog from Seedling, and is being reprinted with permission.
As parents raising kids in the digital age, we constantly snap photos because our cameras are literally at our fingertips. Next time you grab your smartphone to take quick pic, hand it over to your child instead. Ask them to take the photo for you. Why, you ask?
Children learn by imitating adults: They play house, pretend to drive cars, and cook in play kitchens. Take it one step further and allow them to physically take on a more adult task, and kids will rise to the new challenge and feel a sense of pride.
Photography is a great tool for introducing basic life skills. It's a fun, artistic way for kids to gain independence and find a creative outlet for self-expression. Choosing subject matter and determining composition teaches them the process of decision-making and how to think before acting. And the best part of letting your child take photos? You get to see the world through their eyes—what captures their interest and what they deem important.
Seedling team member Ashley muses,
"When I was seven, my family took a vacation to San Diego. As I wandered the grounds of the hotel, I discovered a small pond with several baby ducks swimming along the surface. I ran back to our room to ask if I could 'please, please, please' borrow my mom's camera to take a photo of the ducklings. I returned the 35mm camera to my mom, who saw from the top dial that I had taken not one, but eight photos. Which, out of roll of 24 was a lot! Instead of chastising me for using so much film, she simply said she was excited to see how my photos turned out. Having the ability to spontaneously document something that moved me made me feel proud with a sense of accomplishment."
To help instill a love of photography in your child, start off with a few prompts for picture-taking.
Because kids learn by doing, briefly explain how to use the in-camera app on your phone. Then, spend the majority of your photo sesh practicing. Bring a bag of random objects and encourage them to explore shooting items from different angles — up high, down low, overhead, close up, or wide shot. At Seedling University, we curated a selection of small toys that could be staged solo or in a vignette. Our kids refined their portraits of dinos, graduated to videos, and experimented with handmade filters like placing a kaleidoscope over the lens. The results:
- Ask little ones to walk through the house and take photos of household items that are of a certain color, or that start with a particular letter of the alphabet.
- Ask older kids to shoot something that represents an emotion.
- Send your kids on an outdoor scavenger hunt to snap images of 20 natural wonders. Using their camera, they check their discoveries off the list by snapping an an image.
- Challenge them to further their creativity by writing captions or a story about a particular photo they’ve taken.
- Experiment. The beauty of digital is that it allows you to snap as many shots as you're inspired to do.
Children who participate in the arts “develop the ability to innovate, communicate, and collaborate,” according to Arts for LA. Why not start that artistic education home? Go ahead, let your little one snap away. You might just be amazed at what they create. And they’ll be amazed at their capabilities.
Do you know LAS FOTOS PROJECT? The benefits of photography stretch beyond those that apply to younger children. Las Fotos Project is a community-run program for adolescent girls that encourages them explore their creativity and build self-confidence through artistic expression in an effort to ensure a prosperous, successful future.
Written by Ashley Fauset, brand and content manager at Seedling.