The Art Of... Photography | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Maren Altadonna

Daria Bishop

Maren Altadonna

The Art Of... Photography 

Published September 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.

In this digital age, photography is more accessible than ever. The ubiquity of smartphones, tablets and digital cameras makes it almost too easy for kids to take pics of their friends, pets and toys. But what if kids want to take their skills to the next level?

"Photography is more about looking than capturing," says Michelle Saffran, who teaches young shutterbugs through Burlington City Arts. "When you learn how to look for something to photograph, you develop intention and you transition out of simply taking snapshots."

On the first day of a BCA children's photography camp, Saffran takes kids ages 9 through 11 on a Church Street scavenger hunt to photograph everyday things: a dog, a red door, the letter C, a smile. The activity helps kids learn how to plan what they want to shoot, notes Saffran. "The kids have been on Church Street a million times, but now they're interacting with the area in a completely different way," she says.

Once aspiring photogs know what they're looking for, they can work on following Saffran's tips:

  • Don't always take photos at eye level. Instead, try different angles from above and below the subject.
  • Use natural surroundings — trees, for example — to frame your subject, adding more balance and depth to a photograph.
  • Don't be afraid to get close. A common mistake is being too far from the subject.
  • Hold your camera steady to avoid unintentional blurring.
  • Always ask someone before you take their photo. Even if you're photographing a dog, ask the dog's owner for permission.

It's never too early to pique kids' interest in photography. Jordan Silverman, a Burlington-based professional photographer — who sometimes shoots photos for Kids VT — lets his sons, Noah, 5, and Aden, 2, play with a basic point-and-shoot camera.

"Having a clunker point-and-shoot is priceless, and I don't have to worry about my sons breaking it," Silverman says. "One thing that's helped is bringing the boys' camera everywhere we go — hiking, sledding, to the lake. And we always have extra batteries and extra memory cards in the diaper bag."

Noah loves photographing birds, plants and LEGOs, says Silverman, who encourages his sons by including them in every aspect of the process, from photographing to editing to making photo albums on the computer. Still, he tries to keep things simple.

"I lay off technique and really just focus on exploration and how they can make each photo their own," he says. "Kids dictate their own interests. If they ask questions about light or composition, then we'll talk about it. But if they don't want me to say a word, then, boy, do I try to keep quiet."

Parents can encourage budding photographers by framing their children's photography and displaying it around the house. Or they can make albums, create calendars and share photos online with sites such as Flickr, Shutterfly and Snapfish.

"The value a parent places on a photo is key," says Saffran. "If you value it enough to put in on the refrigerator or make a calendar, kids will feel encouraged. And if they like what they're doing, they'll keep learning."

What You Need:

If you sign up for a photography camp at Burlington City Arts, cameras and supplies are provided. But those looking to buy their own equipment can find it at Le Zot in Burlington, South Burlington's PhotoGarden or Green Mountain Camera in Waterbury. The stores sell a variety of cameras — including basic point-and-shoot digital cameras starting at about $100 — as well as camera bags, batteries, frames, and photo printing and developing services.

.In addition to its summer sessions, Burlington City Arts holds camp in darkroom and digital photography during the February vacation week. Info, 865-7166, burlingtoncityarts.org.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Erica Houskeeper

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Kids VT

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation