Introducing Photography to Kids

This interview with Simon Pollack, a British Photographer marks  the 1st post in the series on Introducing Photography to Kids.

Canon IXUS digital camera, front 3/4 view, ope...
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As a professional photographer how would you introduce photography to a young child?

– I was talking with another photographer friend of mine the other day, we both agreed that as soon as our kids are old enough to hold a camera that they will have one of their own. Something small and most definitely digital to start with, something with an easy to use interface. I think that teaching a child to take a photo will be easier than teaching an adult! Once you have the technical aspect down i.e. “point and shoot” it’s just going to be about coaxing different things out of that child… “try pointing at a person like this” or, “when you take a photo of that tree, have a think about how you would like to see it in a book before you press the shutter”

I don’t have a child of my own as yet, but another friend of mine has a three year old, she’s just been given her first compact digital camera and totally loves it! Now she can photograph dad for a change. The little girl in question spent ALL Christmas day taking photos of everyone at the Christmas lunch, I watched as she composed and snapped her photos – it was so cool to watch! A little comment from her dad, a little pointer from her mum and lots of showing everyone her photos on the back of the camera and she was already noticeably thinking about her photos by the end of the day – it was really amazing to see the change in such a short space of time.

I think photography has become much more accessible for children and certainly more interesting with the introduction of digital, They can see their photos right away on the cameras display screen, they can save their photos to a computer and print them out, they can share them with friends…

What are the essentials in camera care which everyone should know?

– Camera care, these days, with a compact camera is very easy! Don’t drop it in the bath, Don’t feed it to the dog and make sure you remember as a parent to keep the batteries charged for that impulsive moment that your child wants to “go shoot” If your child is old enough to have a dSLR and he or she has a couple of lenses, make sure that your child knows to turn the camer off whilst changing lenses. This lessens the dust that is sucked into the camera body and invariably onto the sensor. Never blow inside a camera with your mouth – the hot breath can cause condensation inside your camera and sensitive electrics and moisture are a very bad combination. When you purchase a compact digital for your child, it’s always a great investment to get a case for it (the camera, not the child!) and make sure that it’s used. There are great many cases out there – Crumpler make some great little pouches, or there are some great new cases from a company named ACME

Which camera(s) do you recommend? What to look out when selecting the right camera?

– I have had a long line of Canon compact cameras and currently I own a Canon IXUS 960is (IXUS 950IS) which I have found to be very sturdy. It’s a fine camera for the older chldren, I wouldn’t give it to a three or four year old, I’d buy one of the new OLympus “TOUGH” 6000 or 8000 cameras for my three year old.

I’m about to take delivery of a Tough 8000 to review personally, I’d be happy for anyone to ask me questions about it. The OLympus is that camera you may have seen advertised, bouncing down steps and across a yard? It’s waterproof, drop proof, crush proof for just incase your child has a habit of leaving the camera under a car!

This Guest Post is by Simon Pollock He is the lead blogger in the Cameras and Equipment section of the Digital Photography School blog.  He also manages the forum section for dPS and has been a photographer for ten years. You can contact Simon via email at simon@digital-photography-school.com

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