Jordanna Farrimond runs Artists in the Making - photography and art for kids in Sheffield. Here, she shares her ten top tips for getting primary age kids into photography through exciting and challenging activities.
1. Make it active
. Kids love moving and using their bodies. I often challenge children to capture a photo of their friend in several poses completely in the air; star shape; tuck jump; superman pose etc. They love it because they capture some silly photos but they also get to jump around and burn off some energy. Meanwhile they’re learning about how to direct their model and use careful timing.
2. Play with perspective
. Children like photos that make them laugh. Why not give them a dinosaur toy and see if they can get a photo of the dinosaur looking like it’s swallowing someone whole by holding it close to the camera? They can position it carefully in relation to their model to get a really effective shot. They’ll soon come up with a whole heap of ideas of how they can use household object to make an interesting picture. At the same time they’ll be learning about how to carefully position an object in a photo.
3. Let them manipulate it
. Children love playing with simple manipulation programmes and there are many free ones to choose from. This process leads them towards editing their photos, deleting the ones that haven’t worked and developing a critical eye.
4. Set them a challenge
. As kids and as adults we love a challenge. When it comes to children and photography it can be as simple as being given a list of things to photography and then finding a good spot to get started. Don’t make it too obvious. I usually include things like; something over a hundred years old; something under one year old; something curved, something man made; a natural pattern; something above you; something from a low angle. You will be surprised what they come up with. Children are not afraid to be abstract, try something ridiculous or spot something different.
5. Take a camera everywhere
. We all know that the more pictures we take the more we improve. There’s a lot to be said for taking a camera out and about even if you’re not planning to take photos that day. You never know when your child is going to spot something they want to capture.
6. Don’t patronise them
. Some children are ready earlier than others to learn about camera settings. Don’t assume that they won’t understand. To begin with, instead of explaining in detail, perhaps just make it practical: show how certain settings give certain effects and they’re sure to try and copy that effect in the future.
7. Show them inspirational pictures
. We all need inspiration for our own photography. We can get that from almost any source but a good way to inspire children is to show them photos taken by other photographers whether they are adults or kids. It might be a great way to share photos that you love with a child. Some children like to keep a scrap book of pictures they like and the ideas it gives them. Others just want to get on with it when they’ve got an idea. That’s fine too!
8. Talk to them about colour
. A simple explanation of complimentary colours can go a long way. I like to demonstrate how colours can enhance one another with a few pictures- you could just take a look at your own pictures/ pictures from the internet for some examples.
9. Encourage imagination
. A good way to develop children’s imagination is just to play. Why not give them a bunch of materials and see if they can make homemade filters to create different effects? I sometimes ask children to create a dreamy/ spooky/ old- fashioned photo using their own homemade filters. This really gets their imaginations whirring!
10. Praise them
. As an ex- teacher I know just how important praise is in children’s lives. Kids flourish when an adult tells them they’re impressed or that they like their idea. With a little praise children can really get engaged in what they’re doing and get a lot of enjoyment from it. Have fun!
Jordanna runs photography and art workshops for children and sometimes adults in and around Sheffield. She used to be a teacher and has a special interest in using creativity to improve well-being. Take a look at her website, Artists in the Making
, or send an email
to find out about what she does.