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teaching children to take photos

10 tips for teaching your kids how to take photos like a pro

Photography is a brilliant thing to teach children and you will be surprised at how much they can pick up from a really young age. Our 3 girls are all into photography so I took them along to the Cat Lounge in Glenfield so they could practice their skills on pretty much the cutest models around…

I’ve always thought the greatest compliment that you could ever receive is to have your child follow you into your line of work. My Dad was a Property Valuer and my Mum an Astrologer and I never felt the call to follow either of them – choosing instead a dual career in photography and advertising (depending on the day of the week).

So I was blown away when my step daughter started to show a serious interest in photography around 8 years old. By 10 years old she was shooting in manual and had used her pocket money to buy a Canon just like mine.

Now one of my friends who is an incredibly talented Fashion and Lifestyle blogger – Holly Estelle – had a shoot for H&M and asked Kiki (my step daughter) if she would like to shoot and direct a fashion shoot for her (you can seen the end result over here – it’s amazing!) It’s a pretty amazing opportunity for a 10 year old it’s fair to say there was a fair bit of “it’s not fair” from my two daughters.

Now as I explained to them I’d love to have them all decide to be photographers and I’d happily teach them all. And as any of you who are photographers would know – you always have a lot of cameras around so there is always lots of gear to use!

So the day before school started the girls all asked if we could go to the Cat Lounge in Glenfield and take photos of the cats. It turned out to be a brilliant idea and I’m stoked to say I now have three aspiring photographers in the making.

The Cat Lounge

First up – a little about the Cat Lounge. The Cat Lounge is the first cat cafe in Auckland and has 20 super cute rescue cats roaming around in this purpose built space. Incredibly relaxed and obviously loved these cats make the perfect models for aspiring photographers.

10 tips for teaching children how to take photos

Now my girls were lucky that they got to play with my work camera’s but any camera will do (even just the one on your phone). We spent an hour there taking photos and here’s some of the things I practiced with the girls over this time…

#1 Turn off the automatic settings

Just introducing children to the concept of adjusting the ISO, shutter speed and aperture is great and you’ll be surprised at how quick they pick it up.

Photo by Sophia – age 9

#2 Changes in light

With an indoor and outdoor space the light changes often which means that they are having to adjust their manual settings often and think about how the light and shadows work with their subjects.

Photo by Bella – age 11

#3 Framing

Thinking about using the environment around them for naturally framing the cats.

Photo by Bella – age 11

#4 Leading lines

I challenged the girls to think about what lines they could find to draw the viewer into the cats.

Photo by Kiki – age 10

#5 Close ups

The cats at the Cat Lounge are so chilled out and mellow so it was perfect for the girls to practice their close up skills and focus on the features of the cats.

Photo by Bella – age 11

#6 Capture the moment

With the cats doing cute things literally all the time the girls had to think quick and get that shutter ready to click when they spotted something

Photo by Kiki – age 10

#7 Use your body as a zoom lens

The girls all shot with prime lenses at the Cat Lounge. Our 9 year old had a 50mm, our 10 year old had a 50mm on her own camera and our 11 year old had a 100mm macro. Without having the ability to zoom and not being able to pick up or move the cats they had to use their bodies, get down low or climb up high to get the interesting shots

Photo by Bella – age 11

#8 Practice composition

I challenged the girls to think about what makes a great photo. We talked about the rule of thirds and where we put our focal point.

Photo by Sophia – age 9

#9 Perfect those blurry backgrounds

It’s the first thing the girls asked for – blurry backgrounds! It’s a great way to introduce the concept of adjusting the aperture to achieve a different look.

Photo by Kiki – age 10

#10 Create something you’re really proud of

Our girls all created photos they are really proud of while having an awesome afternoon hanging out with some really cute cats!

Photo by Sophia – age 9

Our girls are 9. 10 and 11 years old and I’m blown away by their creativity, individuality, technical skill and imagination.

I’d thoroughly recommend heading to the Cat Lounge for an afternoon of photos (or just to hang out with cats if you’d rather). Entry is $12 for adults and $8 for children and bookings are recommended.

And if anyone would like some tips on taking photos let me know – maybe we could set up a special session at the Cat Lounge…. 🙂

Photo by Kiki – age 10

Photo by Bella – age 11

Photo by Sophia – age 9

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