Trevor has been very interested in photography recently. Ever since our ABC Walk, he has constantly been asking if he can use my camera to take pictures and make them into books. His pictures are getting better and better, but he still makes most of the standard beginning-photographer mistakes, like not getting close enough to his subject, always shooting horizontal photos, and not noticing distracting elements in the frame. So when I got an email announcing an online Summer Photography Camp for kids, I was really excited.
Everything about the camp sounded awesome- daily lessons, weekly videos, games, photo scavenger hunts, a forum to ask the instructor questions, homework assignments and a gallery to upload them. The price was quite reasonable ($36 for 3 weeks). The only thing that kept me from immediately signing up Trevor was that the camp was for ages 8-13. Trevor turned 6 last week.
But, Trevor is an unusual 6 year old. He started reading at age 3 and now reads at a 3rd grade level. (He just finished kindergarten.) He enjoys homework and loves learning. He has a freakishly long attention span and a great amount of patience. I signed him up.
Best. Decision. Ever.
We have completed one week of camp and the improvement in Trevor's photography skills is stunning. He LOVES camp and is so excited about it. Each day, he can't wait to read the assignment, do his homework, play the vocabulary game, and check to see if he's gotten any more comments on his photos. I'm thrilled.
Camp started out with the absolute basics- how to stand and how to hold the camera. The first homework assignment was find a location with strong horizontal lines (like our staircase) and take the same picture twice- crooked and then straight, using the lines as guides. Here's what Trevor did:
He also learned about a bunch of settings on the camera, like macro mode, landscape mode, sports mode, and portrait mode. Here's the first portrait he's ever taken.
Day 2 talked about taking vertical shots and how to know when a picture should be horizontal vs. vertical. Trevor had never taken a vertical picture before, but immediately after reading the lesson he raced outside, found this fire hydrant, and announced that it should be a vertical photo because the subject is tall and thin instead of short and wide. I can't tell you how happy that made me.
Day 3 was about filling the frame and using a zoom. First he took a picture of the soccer ball across the yard, then he moved closer to take the middle shot, then he backed up to the original spot and zoomed in to take the third picture.
Day 4 was about focusing, the most difficult of the subjects (for both of us) so far. On Day 5, we did a photo scavenger hunt. He had to photograph a bunch of different things, including flowers,
and someone jumping.
If you have a child between 8-13 who is interested in photography, I would HIGHLY recommend signing up for the July session of the Summer Photography Camp for Kids. If your child is 6 or 7, I would recommend this camp if he or she: 1) is very interested in photography; 2) can read at a 3rd grade level; and 3) enjoys homework and learning. Most of the kids taking the June session of the camp are 10-12, so they are able to upload their own pictures, post their own gallery comments, and participate in the forums. I have to help Trevor with all of this, so there's a time commitment for the parent of a younger participant.
Camp runs for two more weeks. I can't wait to see what else Trevor will learn. I wish I'd been able to do a camp like this when I was 6 (instead of participating vicariously 34 years later)!