Give a Kid a Camera

I take pictures.  Lots of pictures.  After years of taking hundreds of pictures a month, someone who doesn’t even know me would be able to look through my photos and know what is important to me and the way in which I view the world.  This stranger would be able to see what I value, what brings me pleasure, what I find interesting, and what my memories are made of. Photos do that.

And that is why I like to pass my camera off to my kids.  They see me take pictures all the time and naturally, they want to be a part of it. I used to be afraid to let them use my camera, but over time, I have seen the value in it.

Here are six reasons I let my kids have a chance behind the lens:

1. It shows them that I believe in them.  One of the best things I have read in this cialis online past year is a book called, Too Small to Ignore.  In the book, the author (CEO of Compassion International), talks about letting kids do things that seem above them.  Letting them do things you aren’t 100% sure they can do.  Letting them do things they aren’t 100% sure they can do.  This builds confidence in both directions and the child feels loved and trusted with something so important.  Letting my children hold my camera fills them with pride!

2. It lets them be a part of something I love.  Anyone with young children knows that kids love to “help” mom in whatever she is doing.  I firmly believe that we as mothers need to strive to say, “Yes!” to them as often as possible when they are young, especially if we expect them to say “Yes!” to us when they are older. I let my kids cook with me, clean with me, and yes, even take pictures with me.  Participating in things that others love is a big part of being a family.  I love taking pictures and so I want my kids to be a part of it.

3. It helps them start to appreciate the beauty around them. Photography and scrapbooking have done more for my spirit of thankfulness and gratitude than anything else in my life.  Once I started to take pictures and record memories, I was suddenly more aware of everything around me.  The birds were more beautiful.  The flowers were awe-inspiring.  The morning sunset became breath-taking.  The little dimples in my son’s chin made me gasp for breath.  I started to realize that beauty is everywhere, if only we would open our eyes and our souls.  And once I did that, my life has never been the same.  I want that for my kids.  I don’t want them to have to wait until they are adults to start noticing the beauty of creation.  And if photography can help open their eyes now, while they are still young, then I say, “Yes!”

4. It gives them practice in thinking before acting.  All people—but especially children—need some lessons in learning to think before they act. Photography is one way to practice that.  Sure, you can take a camera and click away without any thought, but I have noticed that after a while, my kids see something with their eyes that they want to reproduce on the camera. They slow down, become intentional, think, and then act. What a valuable skill!

5. I get to be in pictures once in a while.  Let’s face it.  Many of us are stay at home mothers and therefore in this season of our life, our days are spent at home with little people.  We spend many hours cooking, cleaning, reading, kissing boo-boos, cuddling, and do everything it takes to run a home.  I don’t want to let this season of my life pass by without any photos to record it.  I love passing the camera to one of the kids and letting them capture this part of who I am.

6. I get to see the world through their eyes. It is so fun to download photos to my computer and see what one of my kids has captured.  I love to see the things that they thought photo-worthy.  The subjects, the angles, and the perspective of the images gives me a tiny peak into their heart.  It says so much to me about who they are when I see what they find interesting or beautiful.

Now, before you get any wrong ideas, my kids do not have access to my camera whenever they please!  I do have rules and guidelines that they abide by. I try to ensure the following:

1. They must always ask.  If they have not gotten permission, they know they are not allowed to touch the camera.

2. They need to be taking pictures only when I am with them.  This way, I can keep an eye on them and make sure they aren’t doing something that could be dangerous to their bodies or to my camera!

3. They have to wear the neck strap at all times (I tie a knot in the back for the little ones so that it won’t be too long.)

4. They can’t use my good lens. If we are at home and they ask, I will put on my kit lens that I never use.  If we are out, I may say no if the only lens I have is my good (and heavy!) one.

5. I put the camera in auto for them (I shoot in manual).  They are too young to know anything about camera settings. Av mode would work too, as long as the lighting wasn’t going to change dramatically.

6. I teach them  how to focus and take the picture.

So what do you think?  Does the thought of passing off your camera to your kids scare you?  Excite you?  My advice to you is to take a deep breath and give it a try.  You never know what you will find!

All of these photos were taken by my children (except the header image, which was taken by my daughter’s eight-year-old  friend).  None of them have been cropped but all have been slightly edited by me (I keep my camera in full-neutral mode so added color and contrast has to be done in post-processing.)