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.

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Do you wanna build a snowman?

I have seen the obligatory snowman project done in such boring cookie cutter ways where every snowman(woman) looks the same? Why? I did these with PK and K. For some crazy reason I decided to have us paint our backgrounds, probably because I didn’t have paper that was big and not white. This was kinda a mistake because the white paint was too watery and I had to figure out a way to make the snowman. So we used ripped paper after the white paint failed, and I love how the ripped paper added texture.

The kids started out pretending to build a snowman on the carpet. We talked about what shapes we’d use to draw a snowman. I had stencils of a big, medium, and small circle for each kid and they arraigned them on their paper in size order and traced. When they painted they stayed in their lines, and then when they ripped and glued paper they stayed in the lines as well.

Accessorizing the snowman continued with collage. We talked about how we could dress the snowman(woman) using different shapes. For the younger kids I had precut shapes, and the older and more capable were able to cut their own shapes.

Some kids added snow eventually, smaller classes used glitter. They made snow dots using glue and I added the glitter.

If I were to do this again I would definitely use ripped paper again and find some colored background paper. I’d use any colors, the more colors the better.

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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.