Fun with Kids: How to do a photo safari

One of the fun activities that we’ve been doing, to try to get our little video game fiend (yah, he’s a born geek) out of the house is taking a ‘photo safari’–sometimes we call it a ‘photography field trip’… The 4 year old gets possession of mommy’s point and shoot camera, and we go for a walk–sometimes through the woods, sometimes through the neighborhood. I’m actually pretty amazed at some of his shots (many are pure luck, like achieving the rule of thirds because he wiggled his hands accidentally!) but I do find it fun to look at the world through a child’s eye view. Plus I notice a bunch of little things that I never would just out walking by myself. So, go take a photo safari of your own this weekend.. what are you waiting for?

Here are the results of The Boy’s safari, and below the pic are some tips for taking one with your kids!

Click here to see the full picture set on flickr!

And here’s a previous one from February..

Tips:

  • Do use a decent digital camera.  While I wouldn’t give him a fancy digital SLR or anything, resist the urge to just hand over a disposable (taking LOTS of pictures is key!), or one of those ‘kid cameras’ with less resolution than your cell phone.  A decent digital point and shoot will provide the best pictures… and don’t be surprised if you get a few really nice ones!  And that’s motivating to the kids.
  • Review camera handling and rules prior.  His main rule was that he always had to have the wrist strap on.  And also to keep his fingers off the lens!
  • Pick a good walk:  It should be long enough for plenty of interesting subjects, but short enough that he or she doesn’t get worn out.  And make sure there is plenty of variety of subjects.   Once you’ve done your neighborhood thoroughly, consider driving or biking a bit a way to start your safari!
  • Encourage, but don’t micro-manage.  Let him find what he wants to photograph.  Make occasional suggestions (“Do you see anything cool on the ground?” but not “Take a picture of that red leaf”)
  • Switch off occasionally to get a picture of the kid!
  • If interest is flagging, try a ‘Find the Picture’ game.  “Can you find something that’s shiny?”  “that is moving?”  “How about something that’s orange?”
  • Afterwards, we go back and plug the camera into the computer, and do a slideshow of all his shots.  Blurry pictures can be deleted (although don’t dismiss those with artistic merit!) so you just save off his best.  You go through together to pick your favorites.
  • Then upload a set of his favorites to flickr or some other photo sharing spot, where he can share with friends or family!
  • You can also use something like big huge labs or Picasa to create a mosaic of a few favorite shots.  Maybe they go up on a bulletin board or become a card for grandma!

So, get going on safari… you don’t even have to be a kid to do it, ya know?