Photography is something many children enjoy. Not only is it a great way to explore the world, but it’s fun, creative and can be a valuable bonding experience between you and your son. Teaching children photography doesn’t have to be hard. A few straightforward techniques are all it takes to be able to flourish behind the camera. We uncover some simple photography tips for kids.
The essence of taking a good image is understanding how to capture a moment and create a scene. Successful photography is based on three essential camera settings:
1. Aperture – refers to the opening in the camera lens that allows light to pass through, controlling focus and exposure.
2. ISO – a camera setting that brightens or darkens an image.
3. Shutter speed – refers to the length of time that the camera shutter stays open, controlling brightness and creating effects by either freezing action or blurring motion.
It’s also important for children to think about composition. How are they framing a subject? Do the hero and the background combined tell a story? Photography can also be greatly improved by encouraging creativity. Allowing joyful expression will help your son to develop a love of photography.
If your son is an absolute beginner, you can start by looking at a newspaper or magazine with him and talking about the images. You can ask questions that allow your son to consider why a particular image was chosen for the front page, or whether a photo sparks any emotions. Starting off slowly, photographing subjects your son loves is a great way to introduce photography. Having fun is the most important aspect as this will encourage creativity and inspire your son to persist.
Here are three essential pillars for photography that will help improve your own as well as your child’s images:
1. Rule of thirds
In art, design, film, and photography a rule of thirds guideline exists to improve the quality of artistic work. Essentially, an image can be divided into nine equal rectangles that allow a photographer to align the subject with intersection points and add balance to a photo. There have been many theories behind this rule, and it can be traced back to the 18th century. Many professional photographers use this framework. While the rule doesn’t necessarily need to be applied for every image, it can enhance a photograph. One activity that will help your son to understand this technique is to take photos at the beach. The water and the sky naturally divide an image into intersections, allowing for easy application of this technique. Your son can try to take a photo that divides sand, water and sky into equal thirds.
2. Leading lines
Similar to the rule of thirds, applying the composition technique leading lines will dramatically add depth to an image. The eyes are naturally drawn to lines – it gives an image overall structure and makes it easier to consume. The surrounding world is often structured by lines. We see lines in buildings, roads and patterns – our environment can provide many opportunities to explore these lines and add depth to photographs. A great activity to apply this technique is to ask your son to look at, and point out, lines on the way home from school. It will help him to understand that lines can be found anywhere, and he can use lines to compose artistic photos.
To create an interesting and unique image it can be helpful to change the perspective. Taking a photograph from a standing position will capture the world as we see it. However, changing position can dramatically add depth and an artistic element to an image. Encourage your son to stand on a stable surface to take an image from a height, or lie down on the ground to capture an image from below. He can also try positioning the camera from a unique angle. A fun activity can be to take photos from the height perspective of the family pet, highlighting an animal’s worldview and helping your son to see the world from a different vantage point.
Taking photos is more than a fun activity. It is a form of self-expression, and brings out creativity and playfulness in children. We encourage you to explore the world of photography with your son – ask questions, let him analyse the world through the lens of a camera, and encourage him to identify subjects that interest him. Techniques and photography rules are merely tools to enhance and structure images. The most important factors when your son is behind the camera are encouragement, imagination and enjoyment. Let your son guide the way – a child has an exceptional ability to be creative.
Recognising the strong links between creative arts and academic performance, Trinity boasts an unparalleled Creative Arts Programme for students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12. With a rich array of courses, and first-class facilities for Visual Arts, Drama, Music, Media Production and more, every boy can enjoy the benefits of the creative arts at Trinity, whether centre stage or behind the scenes. Trinity’s rich history has been the foundation for a breadth of performing and exhibition arts being taught, encouraged and fostered by some of the most passionate and expert educators in the country.
To find out why we’re Sydney’s leading school for boys and to learn more about Creative Arts at Trinity, download our Creative Arts booklet.