People are sharing photos more than ever. With cameras on our cellphones, and a multitude of sites where we can share our images, people of all ages are looking to create compelling photos that tell their story. And since children are learning to shoot photos as well, they need a kid-friendly resource that will get them thinking like a photographer without intimidating them.
National Geographic created an engaging book for kids with that in mind. National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography brings kids pro tips from National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths in a visual style that is accessible and easy to read, thanks to children’s book author Nancy Honovich. The pages are also peppered with shots from National Geographic’s “My Shot” photographers community for inspiration.
The best part? This book isn’t just a photography guide for DSLRs; kids will get a primer on SLRs, film cameras, smartphones, disposable cameras, video cameras and even underwater cameras.
My favorite part of the book — as both a photographer and the father of a child who is interested in photography — is the chapter on photo editing. Many people think that a photographer’s job is done once the shutter is pressed, but the professionals know that cropping and adjusting for color, sharpness, hue, saturation and contrast all help create the story that an image tells. National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography does a great job reminding kids that only a small part of the process is aiming and shooting a photo. The authors don’t shy away from editing photos on a phone either; tips are given for choosing the right filter for an image.
The book also goes into some complex skills that adults new to photography can even benefit from reading. Skills like adjusting depth of field, choosing shutter speed, identifying good and bad lighting, light painting and even tips on shooting fireworks are included. Subjects are indexed in the back of the book for easy finding, and there’s a glossary of terms, just in case your child (or you) forgets what the “f-stop” or “ISO rating” are.
There are also interactive elements to the book — from “what went wrong” scenarios, where kids identify the element in two photos that makes one look better than another, to simple crafts like creating a pinhole camera to making your own camera strap. The partnership with My Shot encourages kids to submit their own photos in its moderated, kid-safe community.
National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography is (shhhhhh!) a really good reference for you parents as well. You can buy this book for your child (recommended for ages 8-12) and thumb through it for inspiration yourself. The book is fun for younger audiences, but the tips are ageless. If you’re looking to bolster your child’s inspiration with a good foundation, National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography is the perfect resource. Now, get your family up out of the house and shooting!