Every parent wants the best for their children, whether that be their health, education, or lifestyle. However, many of us parents also want our kids to find value in the activities that we love. If you’re known as the parent who always has a camera, you probably want to show your kids how much fun photography is, too. But remember how challenging teaching your kid how to ride a bike or how to swim was? Luckily, they’d have to try hard to hurt themselves when learning photography, and we’re going to help you be the best teacher you can be. Consider buying them their own starter camera when they are ready and consider a used buy digital camera online. Continue reading to learn how to teach your kids photography.
Get them an affordable camera
Think back to when you started experimenting with photography. Chances are, you didn’t have a very good camera unless you were lucky enough to have one handed down to you. Your child doesn’t need a top-of-the-line Sony or Canon to get interested in photography. Keep in mind that the goal right now is to get them to fall in love with photography. You can always invest in more gear later, but they don’t need more than the basics to find that passion.
Connect with them as you teach them the basics
Nowadays, kids have plenty of resources to learn the basics of photography, such as YouTube and blogs. Regardless, no photographer can be successful without a decent foundation of the basics. That said, as their parent, you know how your child learns best, and you can give them insight from your personal experience. Since you have the amazing opportunity to teach your kids about something you love, you have a perfect bonding opportunity. Tell them stories. Tell them about the time you took a few pictures and later realized you forgot to take the lens cap off. Show them some of your photos.
Don’t overcomplicate the process
We’ve all heard the saying, “explain x to me like I’m a five-year-old,” and depending on the age of your children, that may be especially appropriate. Kids need new ideas explained to them in the simplest terms possible. Don’t start throwing around terms like aperture, bokeh, and noise because you’ll end up confusing your kid more. Ease them into the terminology. Think of it like a math class—if someone hasn’t learned their multiplication table, you probably shouldn’t be trying to teach them algebra and calculus. The bottom line is this: As their teacher, you need to keep your “lessons” short and sweet. Let them practice more than anything—they get enough lectures at school.
Keep them engaged with a scavenger hunt
Let’s be honest; kids have rather short attention spans. Remember all those times you bought them a new toy? It was the coolest toy around, and you were undoubtedly going to win the parent-of-the-year award–and then it happened. Within a couple of days, they grew bored and left that toy gathering dust on a shelf in favor of the next newest thing. Teaching your kid a new skill is a lot like giving them that toy, so you need to find different ways to keep them interested and engaged.
Depending on your child’s age, handing them a camera and telling them to “go take some pictures,” could work or not. If your kids are younger, you might want to consider setting up a scavenger hunt to give them some direction. Remember that your kids are arguably more creative than you are, but they don’t know the different types of photography and what they can and can’t do. A scavenger hunt will give them some guidance and ideas for different kinds of photos they can take. However, going back to not overcomplicating things, start simple, and don’t overwhelm them. For example, you could have one scavenger hunt around the interior of your home. Once they feel comfortable with that, maybe you can go to a local forest preserve and get some nature photos. Do whatever you think would interest them, but if you’re teaching a teenager, a scavenger may not work because they’re too cool––we were all there at one point.
Be extra patient
Now, of course, each child learns differently, but there is one universal tip we can give you—plan on being patient. You’ve probably learned over your years of photography experience that one of the best ways to learn is to get out, practice, and learn from your failures. Again, depending on the age of your kids, they may need more guidance than other ages. However, your kid will undoubtedly need some space to experiment creatively and have some fun with their camera. Most of their photos probably won’t be very good in the beginning, or they’ll all be of one subject, like the dog. The point is, they’re becoming interested in photography, and that’s a win.
Teaching your kids photography is no easy feat, but it’s very rewarding. Not to mention, there are plenty of career opportunities in photography, and you may be the one inspiring them to move in that direction. Similarly, they may merely have a new hobby—anything to keep them out of trouble, right? Worst case scenario, they’re not interested in photography, and that’s okay, too. Photography is rewarding and has an amazing community, but the skill isn’t for everybody. At least they’ll have given it a shot.
If you need to get your child a camera, don’t feel obligated to go to an expensive brick and mortar store. You can buy a digital camera online from Gear Focus, a trusted online marketplace that sells both new and used gear. Many of us have children of our own, and we also love photography. In fact, when we created Gear Focus, we wanted to have a designated marketplace for creatives, by creatives. Over our years of operation, our platform has become one of the most reputable places to purchase cameras and accessories. Our inventory includes everything for beginner photographers––like your child––up to professionals. In other words, whatever you need to get your kid started or take your personal skill to the next level, our team has you covered. Check out our inventory now!
Also, check out David McKeegan’s video below for additional advice.