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Chances are, your children, just like mine, like to go about taking photos of everything. If that’s the case, you should help them develop their newly found passion by telling them a few essential tips about digital photography:
1. Avoid cluttered backgrounds!
A useful piece of advice to give your little would-be-photographers is to avoid backgrounds that distract attention from the subject. Cluttered backgrounds are especially found indoors.
2. Don’t shoot the same things!
Whether they’re shooting people or things, children tend to take photos that look just the same – they use the same perspective, the same angle, and the same zoom. It’s important to encourage them to experiment with perspective, distance from subject, and camera settings. You want to tell them the basics: move around the subject, move up or down, change the modes depending on time of day, weather, and subject.
3. Zoom with your feet!
When shooting their first photos, children are prone to have their subjects either too far or too close. Tell them that it’s always better to zoom in on a subject with their feet, and that when that is not possible, that they can use the camera’s optic zoom. Also tell them that digital zoom is bad, and that they should avoid it.
4. Keep the camera steady!
Show your children how to hold the camera properly, with both hands, to avoid shooting blurry photos. Tell them that it’s preferable to prop their hands on something when shooting.
5. Find the focal point!
A good photo has a focal point, or a visual point of interest. Tell your children to look for that focal point before taking the photo, and to ‘build’ the rest of the photo around it.
6. Shoot the same thing several times!
Professional photographers take several shots of the same thing, and your children should do the same. The first photo is rarely the best one. Fortunately, with digital cameras you can take as many photos as you like, space not being a problem. Long gone are the days of the costly film – I can remember an uncle telling a cousin of mine: ‘Don’t take too many photos because the film is expensive!’
7. Shoot people, places, and things!
Some children shoot only things, others only people, a few only places. The thing is, once a child gets used to shooting only people for example, he or she tends to stick to shooting only that. It’s important to encourage children to shoot everything worthy of being captured, whether it’s a person, a place, or a thing.
8. Use the right shooting mode!
Digital cameras have shooting modes like snow, twilight, or portrait. These are easy to switch, and usually don’t require much configuration – just to rotate a wheel or click a button a few times. Tell your children to use an appropriate mode for each photo they take – the result will invariably be better photos.
Last but not least, make sure you remind your children not to pester animals with their camera. Cats seem especially annoyed by children with cameras, and they can scratch, as my little boy has already found out.
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