In the not-so-distant past of photo paper and film canisters, photography was usually a grown-up hobby. However, today's digital cameras make taking pictures easy and cheap, so let the kids have a fling at photography without fear they will break the bank or litter the house with piles of fuzzy, unusable snapshots. Give them a camera, a few photo shoot ideas, then sit back and wait for the masterpieces they are sure to create.
Kids love wild animals and exotic places. Have them trek the wilds of the backyard or a nearby park for "dangerous creatures" they can photograph. Point out that a praying mantis or rhinoceros beetle would be as scary as a lion or tiger if we were the size of an ant, so a close-up of one of those will be impressive. If insects are too tame for your camera-wielding adventurer, remind him that the neighborhood tabby stalking that grasshopper is a cousin to the aforementioned big felines, and worthy of a shoot herself.
Old-Time Photo Shoot
Most digital cameras and paint programs allow you to render any image in black and white or sepia tones, which gives a nostalgic "yesteryear" feel to photos. Get the neighborhood kids (grown ups, too, if they want in on the fun) to dress up in old clothes from the thrift stores or grandma's attic. Use props to make up scenes from the past. The Library of Congress Digital Collections & Programs has a huge stock of photos from past eras to spark ideas for vignettes kids can imitate.
Suggest that the kids shoot close-ups of unusual objects or odd parts of ordinary things--the grille of an automobile or a super-close view of the center of a sunflower, for just two examples. Sometimes photographing things in high definition and close quarters gives a very different perspective that can be beautiful as well as informative.
This word, meaning literally "bright dark," refers to the play of light and shadow in drawings and paintings. Assign the kids a chiaroscuro shoot using the example of the way light shines through a picket fence or onto the ground through the leaves of a tree as an example. Turn them loose to photograph their own "bright dark" art pieces.
Have the neighborhood kids or classmates converge for an afternoon glamour shoot. Tell everyone to dress like her favorite movie star or model. Hang white sheets from a clothesline outside (where the light is better) and do a rapid-fire shoot like the pros. The kids will have a ball and they can share copies of the best pictures with their friends.
- Photo Credit the young photographer with camera on blue background image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com
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