teaching photography in a class

What to teach in a photography class?

Introducing photography to your child will open their eyes to the infinite beauty of nature. And let’s not forget that a point-and-shoot camera can also capture self-portraits that will immortalize sweet memories of them growing up. These are precious things they can look back on when they’re all grown up, because photographic prints can last for years with proper maintenance.

In fact, they don’t need any. Just make sure to limit exposure to external factors like moisture and light. When stored in proper conditions, they will only fade slightly, especially when the color process can inhibit the degradation process. Keeping photos in plastic sleeves is one of the insights you can provide your child. What should I teach in a photography class? If you want to conduct a class, there’s a library of lessons you can teach. And there are many ways to share your objectives, like verbally, using a visual aid, etc.

What to teach in a photography class

1. Correct posture to hold a camera

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Holding a camera in the right position helps you take a sharper shot. In general, when you’re in a standing position, your feet should be angled perpendicular to the object. This posture locks you into position, which then minimizes the risk of accidental back and forth movement. Also, teach students to keep their elbows at their sides. This is to eliminate potential flapping motion because they could flinch while focusing on a subject. Bracing the arms against the sides helps achieve maximum stabilization, which is beneficial if they work with heavier cameras. Another important lesson is to find the center of gravity while operating the camera. It might not be a big deal for a smaller device, but for a large one, a higher number of points of contact will deliver more seamless camerawork. It should also be noted that any change in weight distribution across the camera body will move the balance point. Therefore, it’s a must to find the point where weight is evenly dispersed.

Read Also: Why Do Kids Need to Learn Photography?

2. Aperture

Aperture is one of the most common terms in photography. Your little students need to know that this camera setting has a substantial impact on image quality since it controls the amount of light reaching the sensor. Mastering aperture lets them explore the boundless possibilities of creative composition since it directly affects motion blur and depth of field. At the simplest level, aperture refers to the circular opening at the rear of a lens. It’s expressed by a figure called the f-number, with smaller numbers indicating bigger openings. For instance, an f/2 aperture has a bigger opening than an f/8 aperture. All can be used to achieve special visual effects. If the hole is small, it will restrict the incoming light, which results in a more expansive area of focus. This causes the picture to appear sharper, even if it equates to less brightness.

3. Exposure

Light is the reason we can see everything within the frame vividly and with bags of detail. Without it, the elements will look dark. Proper lighting is absolutely necessary if you want to snap a gorgeous picture. Exposure is another term people use to substitute lighting, which means the amount of light that a camera receives during the capturing process. It’s further divided into the following: overexposure and underexposure. The former suggests that the sensor receives too much light, which degrades detail due to the widespread bright areas. Contrariwise, an underexposed image is formed when there isn’t enough light hitting the sensor.

4. Shutter speed

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This is another lesson to teach in your photography class. Kids are open to new things, but with all the complex terms, it may take time for them to comprehend them. Shutter speed isn’t particularly difficult to get a fix on. It refers to the duration for which the shutter stays open while capturing an image. Just swap it out for “exposure time” if you have trouble making sense of it. Different shutter speeds create different effects. Slower ones tend to produce a blur because the shutter is open for longer. Meanwhile, fast speeds are good for freezing swift-moving objects.

Read Also: How to Teach Kids Photography?

5. Various modes

Digital cameras usually have modes assigned to predetermined controls. Understanding modes allows you to take a still with a specific set of parameters (shutter speed, ISO, etc.). Switching between modes is easy using the mode dial, although entry level toy cameras may not have this inbuilt feature. For the sake of learning, you need to inform your students about these varied modes. The first one is P, which stands for program camera mode. Enabling this triggers automatic aperture and shutter speed responses. There’s also the TV/S, which sets the aperture consistent with the selected shutter speed. The Av/A is the opposite as it determines the shutter speed according to the aperture. Additionally, there’s also the M mode for manual settings.

6. Fill the frame

To prevent the viewer’s eyes from wandering around, you must fill the frame so that they have something to rest their gaze on. This photography technique basically encourages you to highlight the main object by getting close to it or cropping out unnecessary elements that end up being distractions. The object should be the focal point that draws most of the attention. However, it shouldn’t be confused with making it the sole spectacle. It needs to flow well with other elements.

7. Point of interest

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A point of interest helps form the perception of the main element in an image. Without it, you’ll find your eyes moving relentlessly trying to locate the prominent figure. If it’s a meadow landscape and there’s a large tree somewhere in the middle, your focus will be shifted towards the enormous object because it appears striking compared to the background. Apply this rule to any photo you want to take. There has to be one area or spot that grabs more attention. You can do it by incorporating lines, blurring, or cropping objects that ruin the sense of oneness.

Read Also: Photography Projects for Kids

8. Composition

Composition isn’t just about highlighting the main subject, but also how you arrange all the elements to create an aesthetically pleasing photograph. A good picture is not defined by rules, but it’s nonsensical to say that they don’t affect the outcome. Leading lines, symmetry, depth of field, pattern, all contribute to shaping up the final image. You make conscious decisions during the process of composing an image. That’s why the idea of an ideal composition varies for everyone, as it depends on the photographer’s vision. That being said, there are principles that people universally follow because they work in one way or another. Using them can bind all the elements in a shot so that they form a ravishing piece that draws the viewer in.

9. How to focus

Blurry images often stem from a lack of focus. Every camera packs a unique focusing mechanism, but human intervention sometimes matters when the system doesn’t get it right. Autofocus comes in different variants. There’s single-shot autofocus, which typically comes as a default option, so you don’t have to fiddle with settings to activate it. All you have to do is point the lens at anything and it will use computer analysis to attain the best focus to sharpen the image. Continuous autofocus is another popular type. As the name implies, it continuously tracks a subject that it has locked as the focus point. For shooting with a lot of movements, this works like a charm.

Read Also: Best Photography Apps for Kids and Teens

10. Rule of thirds

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Do kids really need to implement the rule of thirds in photos? Well, at least they need to know what it’s all about, so they can take pics with a more appealing composition next time. The Rule of Thirds is basically a rule that acknowledges the importance of thirds. To learn how an object should be positioned, an image should be divided into thirds using 2 horizontal and 2 vertical gridlines. After that, you should align the subject with the right-hand or left-hand side of the intersection points. The goal is to create a well-composed picture.

Wrap up

There’s a lot that goes into composing the perfect image. Doing it as an adult is daunting enough, let alone asking a child to do so. You can’t expect a perfect shot from someone with a growing interest in photography. That said, we’re a proponent of the idea that practice makes perfect. They just need more hands-on experience with digital cameras to know how to attain their full potential. If you don’t know much about camera operation, techniques, or photography terms glossary, let an expert explain them to your little one. 

What to teach in a photography class? It should cover many things, apart from relevant terminology. Every teacher has their own unique style of presentation to connect with students. This will affect the rate at which they gain new skills. But at the end of the day, any teaching style aims to bring about learning. And in this case, the goal is to help your kid work into an image composition by incorporating aspects like lighting, depth of field, texture, viewpoint, and others.

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