How to Teach Kids Photography: Perspective – Part 1

If you, or a child you know, take(s) poor quality photographs don’t worry. Help is on the way. Most people take bad pictures because all their pictures look same. The average person takes a picture by standing about 7-10 feet away from their subject matter and holding the camera at eye level. This results in the same old boring shots. One of the simplest and easiest ways to take more interesting photos is…

…to change your perspective. Today I taught Eve-Marie, my six-year-old daughter a little bit about this. Follow the narrative to gain some insights that’ll help you teach kids (or others) about taking good pictures by changing your perspective.

The whole thing started when Evie asked me which Weird n’ Wild Creature I liked better:
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I told her the Cerberus because I didn’t like the perspective on the Saber-toothed tiger.

“What’s perspective?” she asked.

I told her that the camera was too close to the tiger’s face making his head look just a little too big. The confused look on her face told me she didn’t quite understand. I gave her the following impromptu photography tutorial to increase her skills:

Taking this picture…
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…I asked her asked her, “Which is bigger the Culver’s Scoopie kids’ cup or the Banana Boat Sunscreen?”

“The sunscreen Dad.” she replied flatly.

I told her that I could make the cup look bigger. She eyed me with doubt.

I snapped this one off…
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…and asked, “Which is bigger now the Culver’s Scoopie kids’ cup or the Banana Boat Sunscreen?”

“Um…Dad, the sunscreen is bigger.” She quipped argumentatively.

Evie didn’t actually believe me and was looking at me as though I’d come up one fry short of a happy meal. I had her physically measure the cup and the sunscreen on the camera display so she could see that the Scoopie cup was in fact bigger.

She then busted out with, “Oh, you meant on the screen. I though you meant in real life.” I’ve been told making things tangible is important for younger children who are more concrete thinkers.

I did this:
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“See we’ve got some pretty big sunscreen.”

Then this:
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”Now the sunscreen looks small”
“That’s not small, it’s minute,” Eve-Marie corrected me. Because, ya know, it’s important to be exact.

I then asked her to take a shot of the cup and make it look big. At this point she got really excited. She came up with this:
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Me: Now make it small.
Her: Dad, minute, it’s minute!
Me: Sure, whatever.

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“How about medium sized?” I challenged.
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These two were her idea:
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I’m actually pretty proud of that last one. She took that with out any coaching from me.

At this point I sent her out on her own to take some random shots from different perspectives.
I’m pretty proud of my girl in general. She may not be the world’s best six-year-old photographer but new she knows that how close and how far away you move camera from the subject affects your picture and that’s a big lesson to learn.

Maybe next week I’ll teach her some more about perspective like the difference between bird’s eye and worm’s eye point of view.

Was this helpful? Any tips on the next lesson?


8 Responses to “How to Teach Kids Photography: Perspective – Part 1”

  1. 1 Eve-Marie June 13, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Dad, you misspelled “minute.”
    I want to do the next lesson!

  2. 2 Sarah June 14, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Well, that may be a bad photo at the top, but you still look sexy in it. 😉

  3. 3 worshipcity June 17, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    That…was…awesome…thank you! I feel like I learned about perspective! And a fun way to teach my daughter! Although she’ll have to wait a while. I can practice on my wife first.

  4. 4 Billy Chia June 17, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to seeing more pics from you.

  5. 5 Quah Wan Ching May 1, 2008 at 9:11 am

    the way you taught your kid photography is amazing!
    wonder if you can share more?
    i would really like to teach kids photography but i wonder what is the most effective way. 🙂
    Perhaps i can learn from you…

  6. 6 Jerry July 1, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Many wonderful photos by your daughter, but obviously I just love the way you approach teachin this simple yet very important basic concepts. I have a 6 yr. old niece and can’t wait to practice with her some of the ideas found in your website.
    Please continue this wonderful site.

    Best regards,

  7. 7 Yvette April 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

    This was fantastic!! I am going to use these tips on my ten year old who is starting to get into photography!!

  1. 1 How to Teach Kids Photography: Composition - Part 1 « Inept as Icing Trackback on June 27, 2007 at 1:42 am
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