Teaching kids to take better pictures

Oct 23, 2011 at 7:57 p.m. ET

Children love to be Mommy's little helpers -- so teach them how to use their technologically advanced brains to help you out on the other side of the camera. Here are some tips to teach your kids how to take great pictures.

Kids taking photos on the beach

Give her her own camera

Instead of buying your child expensive photography gear (or letting her use your camera),  get her an inexpensive camera of her own, or give her a hand-me-down. Emily Potts of Moms With Cameras suggests buying rubber-encased cameras sold in stores' toy sections for very young children. Grade-school children can handle an older-model digital camera purchased at a low price.

My camera, my best friend

Let your child take his camera everwhere so he can learn to catch inspiration at any time or place. Photographer Emily Potts uses this to encourage the much-needed practice: "Because digital shooting is cheap (you just reformat the card), kids can take tons of photographs and experiment with results." She also uses this as an opportunity to offer gentle bits of constructive criticism: "Saying things like, 'See how you cut off Fido's feet at the bottom of the frame? If you back up a bit, that won't happen. I love how you got his happy doggy smile, though!' is a great way to help them start seeing images before they take them. These little bits of constructive criticism will help your child take beautiful images early on."

Be free

When teaching her kids how to photograph, Jen Anderson of PhotographyByJennifer.net allows them to be their own inspiration. "It's amazing how kids can learn how to find the light, compose a shot, and be creative with posing other subjects," says Jennifer.

So go out there and let your kids take pictures with their own cameras. You may be surprised at the results and learn a little bit about your kids in the meantime.


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