Kids ‘n Cameras: Five Tips for Introducing Children to Photography

Just in the past few months, my son has become interested in cameras and photography.  Both my husband and I are into photography, so he sees us using our cameras a lot.  He loves to sit on my lap and watch me while I’m reviewing photos on our computer.  He adores the images of the animals, flowers, family, and friends, I capture with my camera.  So, for his 5th birthday last month, we decided to give him his own camera to play with.  Now he’s completely obsessed. What a fun way to explore nature and record his memories of the things he loves!

  • Give your child a durable digital camera made for kids.  I’ve read several articles over the past few months recommending ways to introduce photography to kids, and they all say to skip the toy cameras made for kids and instead give them one made for adults.  I disagree, at least for younger children (ages 3-6).  Why a “toy” camera instead of one made for adults?  Durability.  Yes, you’ll be sacrificing quality for this durability.  But, well, children this age can be a bit rough on their stuff.  Expect the camera to be dropped, rubbed on rocks, ground into the dirt, stuffed roughly into a backpack, or spilled on.  Quality can wait until the kids are a bit older.
  • Choose a quality kid camera within your price range.  OK, I’m going to seem to contradict myself here.  I said in the first point to provide your child with a durable digital camera made for kids, and I said quality doesn’t really matter.  But that’s relative.  When selecting that first camera, I recommend you select one made for kids that can shoot the highest quality images within your price range.  Currently, the highest resolution (pixel, resulting in image quality) available in a camera made for children is 2.0 megapixels.  Of course, the cost is higher to achieve this quality.  A 1.3 megapixel camera might be just fine for the purposes of your child.  I recommend you check out this article from TopTenReviews.com to help you select the right camera… “2012 Compare Best Digital Cameras for Children“.  We decided to go with the VTech KidiZoom Spin & Smile Camera, and have been happy with our decision.
  • Then let your child play!  The first day he had the camera, my son mostly took photos of his favorite toys.  He also takes a lot of photographs of me and my husband.  I love seeing the world through his lens.  The shots are usually looking up at us!  Great 5-year-old perspective.   Now, a month later, my son mostly takes photos of the birds in our backyard or flowers we see while out and about.

  • Download the images onto your computer.  You’ll probably have a lot!  I recommend you sit with your child at the computer and decide which ones to keep and which ones to discard.  If your child is anything like mine, he or she will want to keep them all!  If your computer has the memory, that’s not a problem.  But I think it’s an important lesson to learn that some things are worth keeping and some are worth letting go.  Work through this with your child.
  • Create a photo album or a photo book of your child’s images.  Give your child the freedom to select the photos that mean the most to him or her.  Purchase a photo album for your child, and have your child place the photos into the book.  Or, alternatively, create (with your child) a photo book online through one of the great sites out there.  I have a preference for Shutterfly, but I know others who prefer Snapfish.  It’s so easy and fun to create a book through these online resources, and they make a great keepsake.

We have tons of photographs of our child doing things we think are cute, fun, or visually pleasing, but this camera and photo album is just for your child.  These are the images that are important to your child, a way to keep a memory of what was important at age five, six, and up.  What better gift can you give your child?

Interested in seeing some of his photos?  Check them out here… “Nature Fun for Kids:  Take a Photo Walk

20 thoughts on “Kids ‘n Cameras: Five Tips for Introducing Children to Photography

  1. Pingback: iPhone Photography for Kids | Educational Exploration

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  3. Wonderful – I have found now the right birthday gift. By the way, do you have some tips for celebrating the birthday with nature games – however indoor, as we celebrate it next month. Thank you again!

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  6. Wonderful post! Nature,photography and writing go hand in hand ,so by creating an interest in all,we are teaching our children how to appreciate all the wonderful things about nature.My daughter enjoys both writing and photography and is passionate about all animals and nature.Photography enables one to capture that unique moment.We enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing all those great pics.

    • Thank you for the feedback! What a wonderful gift to give your daughter… a love of writing, photography, and nature (and, I assume, reading, too). These are things that will nourish her throughout her life. We hope we are providing our son with the same foundation, and hoping to inspire others to do the same!

  7. Pingback: Nature Fun for Kids: Take a Photo Walk « A Nature Mom

  8. Great post. My daughter who is a teen now has been taking pictures since she was small. She loves it! It has encouraged her to be outside more. She has a movie camera now and will be taking video production in high school when she attends this fall.
    She has never dropped her camera…although I’ve dropped mine. I guess adults can do that too. 😉

    • HaHa.. I’m a klutz, so I’m probably projecting my fear of damaging my camera. My son hasn’t dropped his camera yet, but it’s been pretty roughed up on rocks and set down in the dirt. I love hearing about your daughter, and how her photography has developed!

  9. Those who say children should have adult digital cameras lack practical wisdom. It is easy to drop and destroy a digital camera, I have to take special care not to do that.

    • Yes, I, too, am very careful with my camera, yet it still accidentally gets banged around a bit. My son is very careful and conscientious with his stuff, and I’m afraid the fear of damaging a valuable camera would take the fun out of it for him.

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