National Geographic Kids Photo Editor Kelley Miller’s Photography Tips For Kids
What child doesn’t love it when you break out the camera? Seriously, either they are totally oblivious which means that you can get the best candid shots of them living in the moment or else you end up with a little performer on your hands! Either way you end up with some fabulous memories, right? As A National Geographic Kids Insider I was recently fortunate enough to speak with Kelley Miller, the photo editor for National Geographic kids publications and she had some absolutely amazing tips on how to capture some amazing shots! She also shared 5 tips on how to get your kids just as interested in photography as you are.
1. Use what’s available.
Let’s face it, you don’t necessarily want to hand over your $500 camera to a 2 year old but there are always other options. You can hand over your smart phone (maybe with a bit of guidance) or an inexpensive point and shoot camera that rarely sees the light of day. Excitedly suggest that your little one can photograph what they love most- family, friends, pets- whatever. Let them get used to the idea of capturing the moment in their own special way. You also may end up with some amazing shots taken by your child. We don’t have the same eye and you may discover that your child really is a budding photographer in the making.
2. Take photos of what you are interested in.
Kelley suggests taking photos of what you are most interested in and giving your child a photo assignment. If your child loves dogs then maybe it’s time for a neighborhood walk that includes taking photos along the way. As adults we pick up our camera to catch moments that matter to us or hobbies (sports, concerts, etc.) that mean something. If you let your child do the same thing they are much more likely to keep picking up that camera after the first assignment is complete.
3. Test out different camera settings
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your camera! It comes with a variety of settings for a reason so use them! When using your smartphone make sure you tap the screen to zero in on your target subject. If you are using a point-and-shoot camera then try out the fireworks setting at night because it shuts off the flash but still accommodates your environment. Also sometimes a shot would be great if only… so test it in black and white. Often times a bit of blurriness or if something in the background appears competitive can be fixed by using grayscale. If you love vintage photos then you have to test out the Sepia setting too. There are so many possibilities so open yourself and your kids up to all of the cool things that your camera can do.
4. Try smartphone accessories and apps
Selfies are all the rage now and some smartphones actually have a voice activated feature that will help you get the best version of yourself possible. Also there are a lot of cool lenses that you can try like Photojojo. Sometimes it really is all in the editing, right? Downloading a great editing app like Camera Plus is really important because it’ll help you to fix the little details that might matter most. It also changes your eye a bit. You no longer need perfection in every shot when you can crop and edit like a pro!
5. Gather inspiration
Inspiration is absolutely everywhere so soak it up and encourage your kids to do the same. Google things that you love, check out photography books at the local library and take in exhibits. Once you open up your mind and consciously look for ideas you’ll realize that the possibilities are kind of endless. Also you should participate in the National Geographic Kids MyShot Community to gain inspiration and support for your endeavors.
So, grab your smartphone or your point-and-shoot and head outdoors on an adventure with your kids today. You’ll have a blast and I bet you’ll end up learning something new about your child-either as the photographer or as the subject- that will make you smile.
Just as a reminder, the National Geographic International Photography Contest for Kids is accepting entries until October 15 — and the grand prize is a National Geographic Costa Rica Family Adventure! We appreciate your help spreading the word about this fun contest!
Disclosure: I’m part of the National Geographic Kids Insider program. I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. All the opinions on this blog are my own.