A photo project is easy and uncomplicated to carry out. With a little help, children from three years of age can use the camera. In primary school, many children have already gained experience with their own camera or with the camera of their parents. 10 to 12-year-olds are even capable to handle DLSR cameras with the right supervision.
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To prepare a project, it is advisable to prepare a few pictures so that you can discuss them later with the group. The following are useful for this:
- Images in portrait and landscape format
- Photos from bird, frog and normal perspective
- a sharp, blurred image
- a close-up shot, a portrait, and a shot from a distance
This collection of sample images can be supplemented as required, for example with pictures for lines, color design, or the golden ratio. For a first project, however, the children should not get too much information at once, so that they do not go too ‘mentally’ to the point and the desire to take photos is in the foreground. With the help of pictures that were taken for the examples described above, you can later discuss different formats, perspectives, and image sections with the children and the associated effect of the respective image.
At the beginning of the photography project, the children should be able to bring in their own experiences. Who has photographed before? Which photos are hanging in the nursery? What is your favorite photo? How does the camera work? What are the names of the different parts of the camera? What do you have to pay attention to? The children can certainly tell a lot about this. The answers are supplemented by information from the accompanying educators.
Your own body is well suited to creating analogies and making the various technical aspects understandable:
- Memory card = brain
- Batteries = food intake for energy production
- Objective and lens = eye
- Press on / off switch = wake up in the morning/fall asleep in the evening
Also important are:
- Trigger to take a picture = open your eyes and go straight back
- Flash for dark situations = turn on the light
- Zoom to bring distant things closer = use a magnifying glass
- LCD screen to find your subject and to look at the pictures afterward
All this information should be loosened up every now and then by a photo game that makes it sensually tangible and consolidates it.
Time to practice Photography
Now it’s time to practice: the children should take pictures in different formats and perspectives in order to consolidate the information from the discussion of the prepared photos. After this exercise, ask the children to think of a topic to take photos of. This can be a very everyday topic (play, nutrition, exercise) or a special, abstract one (dreams, love, friendship).
Important questions when taking photos that should always be present:
- What is the most important thing in my picture?
- Can you see the most important things well?
- How does the picture work?
- What is special about the picture?
- How do the colors and lines shape the picture?
- What story does the picture tell?
After the brainstorming process, the children should have enough time to let off steam and to find suitable perspectives and image details. It is helpful to limit the number of photos each child is allowed to deliver to a maximum of five. Then the images can be viewed together on the PC or on the wall using a projector. It is important that the accompanying pedagogical specialists lead the red thread through the image analysis.
In addition to the questions already mentioned, the following questions are suitable:
- Would you give this picture a price?
- Why? Why not?
- Do you think there are many similar images on the subject, or is it very special?
The last step is the picture presentation, which includes finding a suitable title as well as a frame, poster, or similar with which the pictures are arranged. The children are particularly motivated when the photo project leads to an exhibition in which the resulting works can be presented to other students, friends, teachers, and parents in an appropriate setting.