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Author Topic: Photography for Kids  (Read 9685 times)
Stef_T
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« on: July 09, 2006, 12:41:35 AM »
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Hello everyone,

This summer I will be a councillor at a two week scouting camp on Lake Ontario near Coburg. One of the activities that I have agreed to do is to (attempt) teaching kids aged 8-10 about photography. What I could use help for, apart from actual photographic knowledge (if you know some photography primer sites please let me know) is how much would kids this age understand. If you have children this age (my kids will be all boys) I would greatly appreciate knowing how much you have been able to teach them, and what activities relating to photography they enjoy doing.

Thanks for your help,

Stefan
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jule
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2006, 02:15:49 AM »
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Hey Stefan...haven't heard from you in a while. I have taken a small group of 10 year olds for 5 - 2 hour sessions of photography. I think the thing to remember is to keep it simple, fun, and activity based rather than theory based.

Try to get a sponsorship from a local camera store or one of the camera manufacturers to supply you with a heap of those disposable cameras - with a deal to have the films processed at a really reduced rate. Explain that for every $20 camera they supply, they have the potential to foster a $400 - $10,000 camera sale in years to come.

The children are really keen to just take photographs. I started by very simple instructions that if they wanted clear images, they needed to keep the camera still, and showed them how to. Instructions were then given on using the particular cameras they were provided with. A short question session on what they thought made good photographs...followed by sending them off to take photos.

The images were processed and examined - with a sharing time and short discussion examining examples of their photographs illustrating exposure, focus and composition. Then each week we concentrated on a theme - people, landscapes, action. Collating an album along the way was an important part.  

I steered away from all compositional guidelines and let their own creativity and experimentation guide them. They themselves came to know which images worked for them.

We were lucky and had cameras and processing donated, and time between each lesson for processing of film. A bit archaic in this age of digital, but cheap and easy to administer in this school setting.

If you want to do digital, most families have digital cameras, but standardising instructions for the myriad of cameras brought may be a problem - and if you don't know how to operate Johnny's dad's complicated camera, it could take your time away from actually teaching and supervising the children.

Doing a photography course where the children don't get to hold photographs can be a very empty experience. They just love passing images around and giggling, putting them on pinboards, and scrapbooks. Looking at them on a screen just doesn't have the same impact with this age group....so if you go digital..you will also need someone at the camp to take care of all the CF cards, download all the images, and print out all the pics after every session. It could be very time consuming for someone. You could perhaps outsource this if there is a local lab nearby the camp, giving the members of the camp a flyer mentioning the lab's sponsorship.

Just a few ideas. It is so much fun with the children - they have endless enthusiasm and creativity. Hope this helps a bit.

Julie
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Orgnoi1
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2006, 05:31:51 PM »
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How the kids pick up the art of photography directly is represented on how you teach them to look at it. Currently our son shoots (and is 10y/o) pretty consistantly all week. Surprisingly upwards of 1000 shots a week. He enjoys it because we enjoy it, and it allows him to feel like hes a grown up doing the same as we do. I think kids as a whole like to learn something (despite how people view kids these days) and they like to come away with something from their learning. I would have to agree that if you intend on teaching, I would secure a way of getting them the shots they took so they can "own" and take the shots away with them.

As far as asking how far a 10 year old can go... our son started seriously shooting at 9... he has had smaller digitals and film cameras before that and loved shooting. Over Christmas time we invested in a Canon D30 and a few lenses for him. He has almost outgrown (and outshot) the D30 now and unfortuantely we are going to have to get him a new camera soon... probably in the lines of a 10D or maybe even a Rebel XT since he has small hands (heck he IS a kid). He also this past week has been bugging us to teach him some processing and posting techniques, so we have been showing him basic processing using Paint Shop Pro 8 and posting to our northeastfoto forum. We didnt feel he was ready for using Photoshop CS just yet though...LOL

Hope that aids you in your quest.
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Stef_T
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2006, 03:12:28 PM »
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Thank you both for your replies, sorry that it takes so long to get back, I seem to be more busy now during the summer than I was during the school year. Go figure.

I will try to get some disposable cameras for the kids, but I do not think that it is very likely that they will get more than one. I am certain that kids will go through 24 exposures very quickly. There is also the issue of developping. Which at best would take a few days, and therefore eat into the time that they would have with the cameras.

What I could use some more advice for, is what to do when the kids are not holding a camera. I plan on bringing my father's old SLR and my digicam and explaining how they work. Perhaps describing the different types of photography abstract, landscapes, nature, portraits, macro etc, having examples of each. I would love to stay away from theory, as you said Julie. Personally I feel that we are all too young for theory and should just be out shooting, but unfortunately, I doubt that we will have the ability to do that. Therefore if anyone has any ideas as to some more interesting aspects of the theory of photography, or other hands on activities even, I would be very grateful.

Thank you,

Stefan
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jule
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2006, 07:02:44 PM »
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Quote
Therefore if anyone has any ideas as to some more interesting aspects of the theory of photography, or other hands on activities even, I would be very grateful.

Thank you,

Stefan
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=70384\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think you will have problems on your hands if you are going to teach an activity called "photography" in sessions over a two week period, and not have the children able to take lots of photos. I think that trying to teach 'interesting theory' would be the quickest way to turn them off photography.

As an ex-school teacher, I can say with confidence that children that age generally do not want to look at other peoples photos of macro shots,  or other peoples landscape photos, nor do they want 'interesting theory'...especially on summer camp - which is supposed to be 'non-school'.... they want to experiment and explore themselves.

What about photograms - using that light sensitive paper which doesn't require solutions for developing.??I'm sorry but at the moment I can't recall the name of it.

What about bringing their own digital cameras, and do a bit of peer tutoring - pairing those who have some idea of how to work their camera, with those without one. You could then give them tasks using their own cameras.

Are there any computers at camp??? The children could be in pairs or threes and download their images and make a small selection to print for discussion and display. Then...is there any way of perhaps getting a parent with a small photographic printer and to perhaps donate some time to print out their chosen photos after their activity sessions?

I would personally scrap the idea if 10 year olds couldn't take photographs in an activity called 'photography.'

Julie
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 11:51:20 PM »
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Since you're at a camp...

1) Break the kids up into pairs.  One person in each pair will be the 'photographer' and the other the 'camera'.

2) The 'camera' closes his or her eyes and the 'photographer' leads them by the hand to a spot they find interesting, then poses the 'camera' as they see the shot.

3) One the image composition is in place, the photographer releases the shutter on the camera by tapping the camera (gently!) on the ear or on the temple or some place like that.  The camera opens his or her eyes and takes the picture in their memories.

4) After a specified time, the two switch places.  Final wrap-up is each person in the group describing their favourite picture (from a photographer or camera perspective.

This exercise can require a bit of supervision depending on the kids, but often it will open their eyes (literally and figuratively) to aspects of the forest they've never seen before.

Mike.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2006, 09:24:11 AM »
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Make a pinhole camera, a big one.  I made one inside a closet once and you could actually sit inside the camera and watch the image in real time.  The experience has remained with me for decades.

Peter
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jule
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2006, 04:42:25 PM »
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What about photographs using their mobile phones?

Julie
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AWeil
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2006, 04:47:34 PM »
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A friend just posted a link to this project:

http://www.kidcameraproject.org/

I thought you might be interested. It's about kids taking photographs and commenting on their observations. In my view, that should be plenty. The results speak for themselves. Any kind of theory would only reign in their spontaneous self expression. The joy of the latter is enough.

In a camp, themes like 'Important to me' ,'Funny' ,'Unusual', 'Like a Lot' , 'Something Big', 'Something Small' and so on will probably suffice.

Angela
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