It's an undisputed fact that most children love photography. Inevitably, they're intrigued with the way that images of themselves and the world around them end up on the screen of a camera, and are more than eager to have a go at creating their own. Fortunately in this era of digital photography this isn't as far-fetched or expensive as it would have been back in the days of yore, when photography meant the purchase of expensive film.
There are many affordable cameras on the market these days which are perfect for sensible older children, while strong, hardy models are also available to get very little ones started. Children growing up today are sometimes referred to as 'digital natives' due to their almost innate familiarity with information technology, and you'll be astounded by how digitally savvy even a three year old can be once he or she gets their own camera.
Creative photography has also been aided by various specialised programs such as Photoshop which can be purchased and downloaded onto your computer. Free programs are also available on the internet, including Be Funky, which I discovered only yesterday, and have found to be terrific fun. Kids will have a blast digitally manipulating their images, and I've seen unique works of art created simply by cropping, colouring and adding special effects to photos which were originally quite bland.
This is an original photo taken by me.
This image is a digitally manipulated image of the previous photo.
Programs such as Photoshop and Be Funky
also enable children to create their own personalised cards, posters and other gifts. Perhaps you can get your children to make personalised Christmas cards for your friends and family this year, or special calendars and posters.
After adding some special effects to this photo, I also included some text...it's so easy, even a child could do it.
Another website that kids will love is Adornpic
, which has heaps of funny special effects and stickers which can be added to your photos. Have you ever wondered what you would look like with purple hair or wearing a crown? Have you ever desired to see your image up on a huge billboard? On Adornpic, anything is possible.
My crown and mask have been provided, courtesy of Adornpic.
Photography is also wonderful hobby for children of all ages, as it encourages them to look out for the beauty and humour which surrounds us in everyday life. From an early age, they can be trained to develop an intuition for the qualities which make a good photo and to critically appraise the pictures which they take. Once these skills are refined, if they desire to, they can also be encouraged to enter into photography competitions.
Here in Australia, there are quite a few competitions with special categories for children and teenagers. Run by the South Australian Museum, the Anzang Nature Photography competition
is one of the most prestigious and has a category for junior entrants, under 18 years old.
The Australian Museum in Sydney also runs an annual photography competition called Up Close and Spineless
which focuses on invertebrates, and has categories for both primary and secondary school children. There are many other competitions as well, and more information can be found on the internet. Personally, I've found this blog, Photo Competitions
, to be very helpful. Also, check out your local library, as councils and shopping centres often hold regular competitions too, most of which have special categories for children.
Whether at home or on a travelling holiday, another creative and cheap way for kids to use the photos they take is in a scrap book or travel journal. Even very young children can document their lives in this way with pictures of family, friends and places which were visited on a day out or family trip. Older kids might will probably desire to be more creative, by including digitally altered images, text or art work.
Another digitally enhanced photo, courtesy of the magic at Be Funky.
In conclusion, photography is a wonderful hobby for children as well as adults. With the advent of digital photography, and the many amazing and tough kids' cameras on the market, the time has never been riper for children to get involved. Not only is photography fun, affordable and creative, but it's a hobby which many people, young and old, pursue with a passion throughout their lives. So point your kids in the right direction, and encourage them to try some of these fun photographic activities during the next school holidays.