Friday, June 5, 2009

Introducing your pre-schooler to photography

This Momma looves taking pictures. There is nothing more precious than a beautiful, spontaneous family moment caught on film. Naturally my pre-schooler has taken an immense interest in photography seeing that Mommy more often than not has a camera looming somewhere nearby. Wanting to share my love for taking pictures with my little one I purchased him a digital camera of his own a year or so back. The down side to those 'kid tough' toddler cameras on the market today..they are clunky, awkward and take horrible quality photographs. My son pitched his long ago and away with it, at least for a time, went his interest in becoming a junior paparazzi. The bug came back of course and now at the age of 4, after some sit downs with Mommy and lessons of the importance of taking care with our equipment I now from time to time share my beloved pink digital camera. There is something very special about a very young childs photographic works. For a moment we are able to see the world from their unique point of view. Once upon a time the world was even to us a very big place, full of adventure and new things to discover every which way we turned. What a pleasure it is to have a reminder of much simpler times.

A few helpful tips for getting your little one started -

1. Save your money when it comes to those toddler-safe cameras that are out there. Frankly, they suck. If you are brave enough I highly suggest getting down to your little ones level with your own personal camera for some one on one lessons. Being right there..your hand over theirs..I assure you your camera is quite safe. Teach them how to turn it on and off, which button to press to take a picture and be sure to show them how to use the viewfinder. After a week or so of one on one practise sessions you will have built up enough confidence to either allow them to handle the family camera (under supervusion of course!!) or one of their very own.

2. Once a pre-schooler knows how to operate a camera keeping yours out of reach is probably a good idea. I've had mine punked on more than one occassion.

3. Let your child make mistakes. The only way they will learn how not to continue putting their finger over the lens is to let them take a few photographs this way, show them the pictures and then explain what it is that occured. Seeing is believing. And if your kid likes the pictures that way then let it be. It's not about's about fun.

4. Step back and let your child get creative. So you think 50 pictures of the same Thomas the Tank Engine tee is silly, or that junior is getting a little too close to the family pet to actually land a decent shot, take a breathe. This is FUN for them and you may actually be floored with some of the results (as I was with some of the extreme close-ups my son took above). You may want to mention however that getting a little too close to that caterpillar could cause it some harm, sometimes intervention is necessary.

5. Show off your childs work. Create a home gallery in your kiddos bedroom showcasing some of your favorite shots, make a travel album for the road for your child to enjoy, turn photographs into greeting cards for loved ones. Nothing encourages a budding photographer more than seeing that finished result turned into something special. My son has a growing gallery in his bedroom of framed prints he took his very self. That is sure something to be proud of.

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