Photography without cameras

img_6496

So you might want to introduce photography to your kids and not have any cameras! Or you want to remind them that what they choose to have in the frame should be planned and thoughtful.

In the past, while waiting for cameras to arrive I cut out viewfinders. Sometimes I cut them to be in the shape of an old school camera or you can find pre-cut frames.

I actually did this as my demo lesson. The goal was to teach them worm’s eye point of view and bird’s eye point of view. They used the view finders to get out of the comfort level of photographing in human’s eye, or just straight forward. I encouraged them to lay down on the floor and stand up on chairs for interesting views. At the end of the period they did a drawing of one of the points of views and we discussed which view was more interesting to them.

I have also used the paper view finders to introduce a David Hockney collage assignment. Showing them how many pictures you can take of one scene. I also cut up images and had them put them back together like a puzzle to prepare for their own Hockney. The did Hockney’s digitally and printed out.

The paper view finder is a great way to slow them down. I think you could stop mid year, remove cameras and review point of view with the paper view finders if you feel like their photography is becoming stale.

hockney-furstenberg-paris
David Hockney

Rainy Day Photography

There were only so many places to photograph in school. When the weather was good I had plenty of ideas but I dreaded a possible rainy day. We had talent classes every Monday for double periods. That was a lot of time to shoot and be able to edit after. I knew it was going to rain so I decided to have them use their skills of lines, shadows, texture, point of view, etc., and apply it to a theme photography project. The theme being rainy day!  I ran around beforehand borrowing umbrellas from other teachers so we each had one. The front of the school had an awning so we were able to shoot from there and come out into the rain with our umbrellas. Then we took it inside and photographed the rain from the windows around the school. Last we uploaded and edited as usual.

Digital Camera

Photography: Lines/Shadows/Texture

The photography of my elementary students brings tears to my eyes. They were so talented and totally understood concepts that I only began to learn in high school. My first year was a struggle teaching photography to youngsters, but by the second year I felt that they got it and I got it.

I taught photography the way I was taught it. Black and white was key. I feel that learning composition is easier without the distraction of color. We set the cameras to black and white for most of the year. Funny enough, at the end of the year when color was brought back the kids had new respect for black and white and some of the preferred to shoot or edit their photos back to black and white. And yes, my elementary kids as young as 2nd grade knew how to edit their photography in iPhoto.

The first year the students learned a lot about worm’s eye view, bird’s eye view, and rule of thirds. They brought these skills into their second year. I started the year out with editing in iPhoto because new cameras had not come in yet. They learned every editing tool in iPhoto and it was a huge success. By the time we began to shoot they were pros.

Lines, Shadows and Textures. Pretty basic stuff, but it got them shooting and excited. The school playground had a lot of this and when we went on a trip around the neighborhood they continued to find interesting lines, shadows, and textures. It never gets old, just look at anyone on instagram. I always reminded them to use their previous skills of worm’s eye view, especially with texture. My students would enhance their photographs themselves, sharpening, adding contrast, and so on.