In general, my phone has become my camera and it’s only when on vacation that I will pack a ‘real’ camera with me. For our trip to Puerto Vallarta four months ago, I brought two cameras, an extra phone, and a video camera – just in case.
As we headed out for a city tour of Old Vallarta, my son asked if he could have one of the cameras to take pictures. I handed him a waterproof, shockproof model, and left him alone.
I didn’t tell him when his finger was over the lens. I didn’t tell him not to use so much zoom. I just gave him the camera and let him go at it, knowing I could always crop and adjust later in iPhoto.
My son found a hobby and I found a new perspective on life. I got to see things from his angle.
And wouldn’t you know it? He loves selfies.
Now, with summer vacation upon us, I’ve handed him an old iPod Touch to use as his camera.
There are still lots of selfies.
But as we walked through an amusement park last weekend, he shouted at me every now and again. “Daddy, turn around, I want to take your picture!” And suddenly, the 10,000 photos I have on my computer of my children started to include ones of me.
When your kids have a camera, you become part of the life story of your family.
As he took more pictures, the thumbs moved out of the way of the lens, and he discovered filters all on his own. These shots from the rail at the local horse track were all done with a sepia filter. I took pictures from the same spot, the same day, and my son’s look so much better.
That said, I didn’t find the water truck as interesting as he did.
Nor did I take pictures of the popcorn. And of course, a selfie.
If you have an old phone or camera, bring it along for your next family outing. Show your kids how to turn it on, where the shutter button is, and then let them loose.
Don’t coach them, don’t edit their photos too much, just let them burn through all the memory on that card, taking pictures of what they think is cool.
You’ll get new insight into the spirit of your children, you’ll become part of the family photographic story, and you’ll love the results.
If your kids are hesitant to take pictures, or need some ideas to get going, start with a daily challenge:
- Ask them to take pictures of letters, colors, shapes, or animals.
- Take pictures of things that are happy, scary, or sad.
- Have them take pictures of buildings, or doors, or fountains.
Set it up like a scavenger hunt, or a photo safari, and they’ll be more eager to take part. (And give you wonderful pictures of No Parking signs.)
From the mall to the playground to the beach to the park, there are lots of different themes you can give your kids to get them started. It won’t take long – they’ll catch on and start taking pictures of anything and everything. And of you. And of themselves.
Be prepared for lots of selfies.