Introducing Children to Photography
Photography, as a hobby, has a lot to offer to children. Read on to learn more about it. Most children are fascinated by cameras. But, while we always try to make them pose for us, we are generally reluctant to trust them with a camera. The fact is, photography is an excellent hobby for children that can open up a whole new world for them. Why Photography? Like with most hobbies, taking up photography can actually benefit children in many ways. It teaches them to be observant It teaches them to be sensitive to their surroundings It helps develop attentiveness to details It encourages creativity and individuality How to Introduce Your Child to Photography The important thing to remember, while introducing photography to your child, is that it is essentially supposed to be fun. Rather than bombarding him with rules and theory, encourage him to start exploring the world through the lenses. Here are some tips: Gift him an appropriate camera A professional SLR camera with an assortment of lenses and accessories is obviously not a good idea as your child's first camera-nor is one of those tacky disposable cameras that are sometimes advertised as 'ideal for children'. If you have an old camera with automatic options, it will do, or you can buy a new one. Later, if your child shows more promise, you could go in for a better model that offers more features. A first camera for your child should: Be small, light, and easy for your child to carry around Be able to withstand rough handling Have automatic settings Preferably allow a basic zoom option Be relatively easy to use The digital age has revolutionised photography, making it more accessible and user-friendly. If you are not sure yet about your child's interest, investing in a digital camera will no doubt be somewhat of a gamble. However, it offers many advantages: Your child can afford to experiment, as you do not have to pay for buying or processing the film. Your child immediately gets to see the result, and take more pictures till he is satisfied. He does not have to wait for the roll to get developed and processed by which time he has forgotten or lost interest in what he has clicked. With a digital camera, it is easy to retain good pictures and delete the rest. Teach your child to use the camera Mastering the art and science of photography can involve learning a bewildering array of dos and don'ts. However, at this stage, your child really does not need to know these. Start by teaching your child the correct way to hold the camera. This is not just important to enable your child to take good pictures, but also for the safety of the camera. Help your child master the art of framing the scene he plans to click. Teach him to use the zoom function to its best advantage. Also, teach your child how to focus to ensure sharp details. Gradually, explain the role of light and how it affects the pictures he clicks. Explain camera care Make your child responsible for the camera he owns. Explain to your child the need to keep the camera turned off when not in use. Teach him not to touch the lenses and keep it covered when not in use. More complicated procedures such as loading or removing film (or downloading images if you are using digital) need not be taught until you are sure of his ability to do so independently. Encourage creativity With time, most children learn to take decent pictures. However, what is important is that you encourage your child to explore and experiment with his hobby. Motivate your child to look for interesting settings and situations. Allow him to try out newer angles or perspectives. Encourage him to look for and bring out the 'story' element in the pictures he clicks. Always applaud his efforts at experimentation, but be objective in your feedback. Help him cultivate his hobby Plan regular photography outings where your child can have the opportunity to shoot newer subjects. Have joint photography sessions: select a theme, and later compare your efforts. Introduce your child to the finer points of photography by taking him to visit art galleries or museums where he can the view works of other photographers. Discuss the individual styles of these photographers and point out what makes a picture especially striking. Your child may not necessarily grow up to become a great photographer. But the lessons he has learnt will be sure to help him throughout his life.