Families have new photographers: Children

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

This time of the year, families get together and create memories. Often at the end of the visit, someone will say, “Oh, we forgot to take pictures while we were all together!”

Children can be trained to be official photographers. They can be encouraged to take a few really good and interesting photos and decide which ones to keep.

Children as young as 4 can take pictures responsibly with guidance. First teach them the basics. If you want new digital camera, the Canon Power Shot ELPH 180 is highly recommended for youngsters first learning to use a camera. It costs a little over $100 and takes photos almost as good as an expensive smart phone.

Where to start

If you do let kids use your Smart Phone, there are many editing Apps like Enlight where a team of teens and youngsters can have surprisingly professional results. You can search Apps for kids’ photography, Pixlplay adapted Smart Phones for kids, Kidizoom camera, and places to save kids’ photos on line.

Now back to the traditional digital camera. Professionals have suggestions. Show children how to hold the camera with the strap always around their wrist with the camera tight against their body perfectly still. Show them how to use the buttons: power, snap shot, replay, and trash. Then explain how to decide what they want to take by just looking through the screen. They can practice taking close ups and extreme close ups safely inside the house without using the zoom. Young children are often too unsteady for the zoom.

Photography patience

The first time photographer will probably use up the battery clicking away so don’t expect a great deal of keepers. Point out that a photographer needs light or flash but does not point into the light unless there is a reason. Show them what happens if you do. What interests them might be very different from what you want or what interests you for a while. At least everything is digital and can be erased.

Children can practice for portraits by lining up their toys and taking close ups of human faces. They can take photos of hands or shoes so the family can play “Guess Who?” A patient family pet is also a good subject. Try to stay away from selfies, experts suggest. Teach close up, medium, and full body shots. When they are good at those show them the zoom. However, teach them to choose their shot carefully and hold really still or put the camera on a flat surface for zooming.

You can encourage them to try creative angles, like being on their back looking up through a tree, or looking down from the top of the stairs. For more ideas see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons, Facebook, and Pinterest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.