Camp Ipad Photography: Chalk

Is there anything that represents the innocence and glory of childhood like sidewalk chalk? Watching the kids draw on the ground, and building, with chalk brought tears to my eyes. It was adorable. Then, they photographed the chalk and we got some very interesting shots. Especially since they already learned worm’s eye view, and got that yummy shallow depth of field.

With the older kids I showed several examples of how chalk can create a fun illusion that they can interact with. I made it very friendly, for all ages and abilities. They could draw something intricate or simply use color and shapes and photograph the chalk in compositionally interesting ways.

Photo Jul 25, 11 42 10 AM


Camp Ipad Photography: Rule Of Thirds

I cannot express the importance of teaching the rule of thirds EARLY in your photography class. I do it right after point of view. I love to show this quick youtube video on the rule of thirds because it just spells it out in a simple way. I show many examples with, and without the grid or tic-tac-toe lines.

With the little kids I stress the importance of putting whatever the subject its on the LEFT on the RIGHT but NOT in the MIDDLE. This becomes our rule of thirds mantra and we say it together as a class. “On the Left on the Right, Not in the Middle.”

Not to say that putting your subject in the middle is wrong, rules are made to be broken! When something is begging to be perfectly symmetrical, or in the middle, rule of thirds won’t necessarily work. But always try! This is digital photography, we can take thousands of pictures here!

I like to give my younger students a beanie baby to photography, because A, I have SO MANY and B, they’re adorable. We also review point of view here too. So I’ll show them a Rule of thirds shot of a beanie baby in a dramatic bird’s eye or worm’s eye view and quiz them at this point. Then for their shoot on this day they will be expected to take rule of thirds pictures in bird’s eye and worm’s eye view while keeping the beanie baby on the right or left side, NOT in the middle.

Camp Ipad Photography: Framing

Framing is super important to teach. There are a million doorways, windows and holes in the world to see through from. I like to also call framing “Through the Fence,” as there are a ton of fences in any given school. This is also a great time to talk about timing. If you have a perfect frame set up, you may want to wait for the opportune moment until someone or something passes by as well. My camp kids waited for someone to run by in their frame, or hole, or a ball to pass by.


Camp Ipad Photography: Lines, Shapes, Shadows

Lines, Shapes and Shadows. You don’t have to do all three in one day, especially if it isn’t sunny. This summer I did lines and shapes first, then shadows another day.

With little kids you can show images and ask what shape they see, to get them practicing their shapes. You can also introduce horizontal versus vertical lines as well. This is great to do in a classroom too, especially PK-K since there are so many toys and things in there.

I do encourage my students to play with editing, trying the different preset filters on the iPad. With the older students you can show them how to access the editing buttons and explain what saturation, contrast and what it means to adjust the shadows and highlights separately. In the past, with cameras, I switched them all to black and white mode and we photographed in that mode all year.


Recycled Art


I adapted this project for my campers a couple years ago. Originally I subbed this lesson in a middle school. It was more connected to the idea of recycled art because you can paint endangered animals on the cans. Instead, because it was summer camp we used emojis to decorate the cans and the campers loved that idea.

The inspiration comes from an artist named Charles Kaufman


Have the kids flatten their cans by stepping on them carefully. You have to take care with the top and bottom and make sure it folds over the right way, so it isn’t just mindless stomping. Trace the can 4 times on a paper. They have to try 4 different designs before committing to one. When they picked an animal or emoji ask them to think about colors and backgrounds. If you’re doing the animals they can research what the animal eats. If you’re doing emojis you can do patterns and colors.

Prepare the can by paintings it with white tempura paint 1 or 2 coats, 2 is probably better. They can do this after they trace so it is dry and ready for next time but you can always use a blow dryer to make it dry faster but be careful because it can get super hot!

When they decide on a design they can use a pencil to draw it on the prepared white tempura. Depending on the age and skill of your painters you can have them paint the subject first and then the background surrounding it. Or you can have them do a base color for the background then the subject on top. I just like to do the animal/emoji first because they can draw it with pencil on their cans and see it better.

You can glue gun string to the back and have it hang or hot glue it to a matte board and it will loose nice and framed!