Nature Photography for Kids
Create Your Own Backyard Field Guide
Kids love cameras and kids love nature. Combine the two and you have with a wonderful project to fill your summer days. Last week we explored our backyards with Backyard Exploration, this week we are going to expand on that and make our own backyard field guides using photography.
Allow children to be the lead on the project and follow their interests. Do they want to create a backyard butterfly field guide? A tree field guide? The sky is the limit (literally - maybe they want to create a cloud guide!). Inventory the plants and animals (or what they have chosen) in your backyard. Photograph each plant and animal and take notes about where you found it, how it feels, smells, and other observations.
Once you have photographed the subjects you want to include download the pictures to your computer. Go through the photographs with your children and decide which photos to include in your field guide (you will most likely have several photos of one subject; pick the best quality photo of each).
With your children identify each subject that you are going to include in your backyard field guide. If you do not have field guides they can be checked out from your local library. There are also many on-line field guide resources. Allow children time to look through field guides to get an idea of what they look like, and what information is included in each. Decide what information you are going to include in your backyard field guide.
Create your field guides by printing pictures and descriptions and creating a journal. An old notebook or photo album will work. You could also create a photobook through a website such as Snapfish and have an actual book created and mailed to you. You now have a field guide for your own backyard!
Want to expand your field guide? Create a field guide for your neighborhood or community, your favorite camping site, local park, or a vacation trip!
Teach children the basics of operating a digital camera. For young children teaching them to point and shoot may be enough. Older children may want to learn about the different settings.
There are several kinds of children’s cameras available; however, they generally do not take quality photos. You can get a cheap “adult” camera that will take better photos for the same price. Base your decision on the age of the children and how much “rough and tumble” action the camera will see - kid’s cameras are built to withstand drops, and rougher handling. You can also allow children to use your camera with supervision or purchase disposable cameras for each child.
More Fun Nature Photography Ideas for Kids
Photography scavenger hunts: colors, shapes, alphabet (i.e. tree branches shaped like an A etc), insects, leaves, etc…
Themed photography walks: butterflies, beetles, birds, trees, wildflowers
Personal photo book: allow each child to review their pictures and print off or create a personal photobook of their favorites.
Nature Journal: Add your nature photos to your nature journal.
Castella, K., and B. Boyl. 2006. Discovering Nature's Alphabet. Heyday Books.
Criswell, S. G., et al. 1996. Nature Through Science and Art. McGraw-Hill Companies.
Hass, R. and P. Michael. 2008. River of Words: Young Poets and Artists on the Nature of Things. Milkweed Editions.
Lepp, G., and K. V. Lepp. 2010. Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field. Lark Books NC.
Sweet, T. 2010. Fine Art Nature Photography: Advanced Techniques and the Creative Process. Stackpole Books.
11 Simple Tips for Kids: Nature Photography
National Geographic Kids: Photography Tips for Kids
Nature Mom: Kids ‘n Cameras: Five Tips for Introducing Children to Photography