Nature Photography for Kids

web-for-class-page.jpgBefore April is out, pick up a copy of Austin Family Magazine. Inside is an article I wrote about teaching your children to take nature photos.

You can read it online in their PDF version through the end of April. My piece is on page 22 of the online version.

Here are some highlights from the article:

Familiarize yourself with a few basic settings so that you may assist in a pinch. First, find the tulip icon, which marks the macro setting on your digital camera. If your child will be shoving the camera within inches of a flower, the only chance for getting the image in focus is to use this setting, which is designed for close-up shots. When you press the macro button, a small tulip should appear on your screen to let you know you are shooting in this special mode.

Learn how to turn off your flash. If the camera is closer than a few feet from the subject and the flash fires, the image will be blown out with light. Repeatedly pressing the lightning bolt icon should toggle you through the “auto flash,” “flash on” and “flash off” settings. Shutting off the flash also saves battery power.

Take time to reset your image size if you have a small memory card with limited space for photo storage. The kids will take pictures in rapid succession, easily going through hundreds of snaps in half an hour. Since you aren’t likely to be making poster prints of their efforts, you can safely set the image size to “fine” instead of “superfine.” This often doubles the number of images you can save on to a memory card.

 Shutter lag — that time between when you push the button and when the camera fires the shot — can frustrate children, especially if they are duck chasing. Teach your kids to push the button only halfway down to focus. That way, when the animal is in the shot, your child can press the rest of the way down for an instant snap.

When your children are confident with taking shots, you can show them how to use the zoom feature to get in extra close. Also, remind them that not all pictures have to be taken with the camera set on a horizontal angle. Many images look best if you turn the camera sideways for an up-and-down vertical shot. If your children are experimenting with horizontal and vertical shots, it’s smart to loop the camera straps around their wrists in case they stumble, get startled or let go of the equipment.

In the article, I also describe two very fun art projects to do with their photographs. Pick up a copy of this amazing free parenting magazine before they are gone!

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