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: Paper Sculpture

It was way to hot to go outside some days, or rainy, and I saved this project for those days. It takes one class to build the sculpture, and another to photograph them. I like to wait until they have at least some composition lessons in before they shoot their sculpture so they have an appreciation for the lines, shadows, shapes, framing, rule of thirds, etc.

You need some kind of base for the kids to build their sculptures on. In the past I have used a nice book binding cardboard, but this summer a thicker piece of card stock worked perfectly. I precut a bunch of paper into strips and show some simple folding, curling, and quilling techniques.


I also changed it up by using colored paper, where in the past we used only white and we only photographed in black and white. Not only was it fun to photograph all the colors, but we used the Photobooth App on the iPad and played with the filters to get some surreal and abstract images of the sculptures.

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.


Camp Ipad Photography: Texture

Good Old Texture! Always a great way to get new photographers up close and personal with their subjects! With younger kids I ask them to feel things around them and describe the texture. Lumpy, bumpy, scratchy, etc. We can make a list. If something is too smooth it probably won’t make a good texture picture. A successful texture picture is one that you can almost feel by looking at it.

With the iPad this is a good time to explain tap to focus. When you tap on the screen at your subject, the camera will make it super focused and you can see all that fabulous detail and texture. With a regular camera if there is a macro setting this would be a good time to turn it on.


Camp Ipad Photography: Point Of View

I always begin photography with Point of View. Right away I want my students to get into the habit of getting down low like a worm, or up high like a bird. This gets them close to their subjects and thinking about what angle to best shoot something from.

Before I even hand them cameras we talk about how a worm and bird see the world. If you were a worm in this room, where would you be? I ask for volunteers to physically show us how to be a worm. This brings them straight to the floor. I explain how photographers get down and dirty if they have to get the best point of view.

Next, I ask them how a bird sees the world: from above. I ask them how they would be a bird in our room? Student volunteers will carefully stand on a table or chair. We talk about how we can be high up around the school, or even just standing over someone who is sitting. I tell them how if I were to photograph a party I would try to get a bird eye view of everyone dancing and I might stand on a chair to get the whole room.

In the past, I have taught this lesson without cameras. Following the above intro I have given out paper cameras so students can get used to looking through a view finder. Then, I handed out paper so they can draw a bird’s eye or worm’s eye view. Next class they got the cameras and they were super ready to be worms and birds.

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