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How To Get Kids Interested In Photography

From toddlers to teens, here's our guide to getting children interested in photography.

|  General Photography
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It's no secret that children love technology with most of them reaching for iPads, smartphones and flat screens for entertainment. With so many hooked to electronic devices, it's a perfect opportunity to see if they might also be interested in photography. After all, they can capture good quality images with smartphones nowadays which they can then share on social media for that instant gratification and 'likes' from friends. 

Below you'll find tips on what camera to purchase children of various ages as well as some ideas on how you can perk their interest in photography, including challenges and using technology they're already familiar with. 

 

Get Them The Right Camera 

Cameras

If you don't give them the right kit at the beginning, you're going to lose them before you've even started. For teens, encourage them to use their smartphone or you could invest in a tough camera that will survive if it gets wet or is dropped. They may like the look of a retro-inspired mirrorless camera but these have a much higher pricing point and aren't something you'll want to be gifting until you know photography is a hobby they have a definite interest in. There are plenty of reasonably priced compact cameras if you do want to steer them away from a smartphone but in all honesty, smartphone cameras have improved so much that they'll be fine snapping away with one. For younger children, have a look at character cameras or the Vtech KidiZoom is a big seller over on Amazon. 

If you're unsure, take a look at our 'cameras for kids' guide or see if you can persuade your son/daughter to take our 'find the right camera for you' quiz. 

By clicking through to our Amazon pages and buying anything, you are helping to support the site at no extra cost to yourself - thank you. 

 

Browse cameras (UK)    Browse cameras (USA/international)

 

Encourage Them To Take A Camera Everywhere

The more photos you take, the better you will become at photography so do tell them to pick their camera up when heading out of the door (this won't be a hard task if they're shooting with a smartphone).  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 as you never know when your child is going to spot something they want to photograph.

 

BQ Aquaris X5 Smartphone

 

Familiarity Is Good

Your kids are going to be familiar with their everyday surroundings and the people they live with so it makes sense to start here when taking photos. Leave them to explore different rooms in the house or even the street you live on and see what images they capture. As they'll probably be familiar with Snapchat, getting them to use their smartphone for portraiture shouldn't be too much of a challenge, particularly if selfies are involved. You could even show them how they can edit their self-portraits in a photo editing app (a topic we'll look at in more detail further down the article). There's also the option of setting them a challenge, something we're actually discussing next. 

 

Living Room

 

Set Them A Challenge 

To keep them focused and thinking more creatively, set them a photographic challenge. It could even be a friendly competition between siblings so long as there's no falling out! There are literally hundreds of things you could get them to do such as photographing just one colour, capturing the alphabet in shapes and objects, photographing patterns or focusing on one particular subject such as flowers

If you're out on a day trip, give them a 'must capture' checklist they can work through or randomly shout out something they need to photograph right there and then if you want to be more spontaneous.

You could even join in yourself as I'm sure all children like the idea of beating their parents at something. 

 

Flower

 

Go On A Garden Safari 

We're not expecting you to jump in a Jeep and head off on a half day expedition, well that's unless you have a garden you can do that in! But seriously, for those of you who are like us and don't have acres of land to play in, you and your kids can step out of the back-door with cameras in-hand and head off to explore the grass, hedges, trees, flowerbeds or even pots and window boxes you have. 

As you would on an African safari keep your eyes peeled and be quiet. A magnifying glass will help you see the tiniest of critters but don't forget about the bigger animals too. Garden birds and squirrels are just as interesting to photograph as the bugs and creepy crawlies. You just need to be a little further away.

 

Blackberries

 

Involve Social Media 

They're more than likely going to be on it, so you might as well involve it. As well as sending silly portraits via Snapchat, they can share their day's activities via Instagram or how about encouraging them to make albums over on Facebook to share with family and friends? You can also create slideshows on Facebook, with or without music/themes, which they can use highlight several images in one post. 

 

Social Media

 

Praise Them

It might seem obvious but it's important as a little praise goes a long way and will encourage them to take more photos. We're not saying 'don't be negative' but there are ways and means to give criticism in a constructive way. 

 

Thumb Up

 

Exhibition At Home

It's now easier than ever to show photos on your TV so your budding photographer can hold their very-own exhibition at home. Invite grandparents around and your son/daughter can present their photos, talking a little about each one if they like, in the comfort of your living room. If you have a smart TV with apps built in you can use a photo viewing app and you can also connect smartphones and tablets over Wi-Fi. If it's not a smart device, simply connect via HDMI or USB. 

 

Smart Devices

 

Create Slideshows & Collages 

Slideshows are a great way to share several images with others and they can be fun to create. As well as desktop software, there are loads of apps out there that allow you to create slideshows with images captured on a smartphone. They can also be easily customised with special effect, frames, transitions and music. Plus, they can be easily shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and more. A popular slideshow app seems to be 'Slideshow Social', available on both iOS and Android

For kids who use social media quite a bit, collages are another way they can share several photos with friends and family quickly. There are loads of collage apps but a free one that has lots of options built in is Collageable. It's easy to use, there are lots of frames available and you can instantly share to sites such as Facebook so you can make those at home jealous of your trip. 

 

Collage app

 

Visit A Photo Exhibition (when you're not in lockdown!)

If you're looking for somewhere to visit on a day out, have a look to see if there are any free photography exhibitions near you. We know it's not something young kids will be interested in but exhibitions could be something older children might like to see. They're a great place to gain inspiration and to ignite an interest in a particular style of photography. Take a look at our exhibition section of the site to see what exhibitions are taking place near you. It doesn't hurt to plan ahead, for when we are allowed to go out.

 

Exhibitions

 

Enter Competitions

Once you tell your budding photographer that they can enter competitions and win cool stuff for free, I'm sure they'll be picking up their camera pretty quickly. ePHOTOzine runs daily competitions and sometimes monthly competitions sponsored by a photography company that are free to enter. We also have a guide to the best 25 photo competitions to enter, many of which have junior categories.

 

After School Photography Clubs

A quick Google search will inform you if there's a local photography club ran by a school near you. If there is, it'll be a great place they can learn more about photography with a group who are their own age. Another option would be to join a local photography club or society with yourself where regular talks and competitions are held. 

 

Photographic clubs

 

Get Them Printing 

Having photos on your phone is great but there's still something about holding an actual photograph you've taken that's well worth the price of ink and paper. The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 is a small wireless printer that we think is a worthwhile investment. You can use it to create polaroids from images captured on a smartphone which is just, well, cool. Your child will learn how to use it in no time and they can use the polaroids on pinboards, quirky washing lines or simply as a fun way to share photos with friends.   

There are also instant cameras, which have made a huge comeback, that produce prints as you as you click the shutter button they may be interested in. The latest one we got our hands on is the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 which scored 4.5 out of 5 in our review. 

 

Fujifilm Instax Shots

 

DIY Projects

Creating your own filters and building your own bokeh effects can be fun and also an inexpensive way to keep kids entertained. 

Something as simple as a sweet wrapper (think Quality Streets) wrapped around a lens and secured in place with an elastic band can add colour to shots while a pair of tights cut to size and pulled over a lens will give you a soft focus effect. You could also give your child a magnifying glass to put in front of their lens to create an inexpensive macro lens or how about helping them make frames that can be placed over subjects so you basically have a photo in a photo. 

 

DIY photography

 

Get Them Editing With Apps 

Photoshop is the name you automatically think of when someone asks you about photo editing but it's a complicated piece of kit that probably won't keep the attention of a young photographer right away. Of course, feel free to show them what can be done in full editing suites as photo editing is a really useful skill to learn but try not to give them too much information in one go. 

Another way you can introduce them to photo editing is with smartphone apps. A free photo editor that's really good is Snapseed (iTunes / Google Play). Developed by Google, it has loads of tools for editing your photos as well as filters you can apply. The photo editing apps from Adobe are particularly good, too. 

 

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