To a new parent, there’s no such thing as too many family pictures. Every moment is a photo opportunity. But every parent also knows that kids are copycats, and eventually they’ll want to start taking their own pictures. So, when should you give them their first camera?
Luckily, good cameras are no longer major expensive purchases. There are plenty of options out there for parents who want to introduce their children to the world of photography.
For many kids today, their first camera actually comes attached to a much more significant first: a mobile phone. Even the most rudimentary handset features a small digital camera, and it is something kids will inevitably play with. Smartphones are especially helpful in this regard because they will also come with in-camera editing features that let your kids crop, recolor and fix problems such as red eye. If your child is too young for her own phone, let her use yours. Mobile cameras are a great way to get kids excited about photography’s potential, and they allow them to spend time practicing.
If your child is showing more than a passing interest in photography, you can start them out with an inexpensive budget camera. These disposable cameras have limited capabilities, but they’re cheap enough that it doesn’t matter if your son drops it in the river (trying to get a photo of a passing fish). Their real purpose is to develop your child’s interest and skill level, and prepare them for the responsibility of owning a camera.
If your kids show a persistent interest in photography, with the ability to care for sensitive equipment, they may be ready for a “real” camera. Start with an ultra compact or even a waterproof camera with a wide range of options for the novice photographer. It should be small enough that it can fit into young hands, and little pockets and backpacks.
Higher-quality cameras, such as DSLRs, typically cater to users with advanced knowledge about photography. Before getting your kids this kind of equipment, you should enroll them in some basic photography classes.
What’s most important is ensuring that the cameras your children eventually use play on their interest in photography. Don’t stifle their interest with gadgets they’re not ready for. Don’t forget to let them choose their favorite images to develop as Prints that they can show to friends and family. No matter what you decide, promote the artform so they can find the right balance of encouragement and personal discovery.
Share Life’s Happy,
Joshua M. Patton
Photo source: Flickr