Making the most out of a Digital Camera

In the days of film cameras, everyone was cautious when giving an inexperienced child their precious camera to use. You had to wait for all exposures to be used up and developed before you could see if anyone’s head had been chopped off. Since digital cameras have become more the norm you can be less cautious of wasted precious exposures and the whole process from snapping to previewing has all been speeded up. It is the perfect medium to let a child practice taking photos and can be interesting to see the world from their viewpoint and the angle which they take some snaps.

Ways to encourage your child to get a good photo

  • Give the child a project – create a collage of your house/town/village
  • Set a treasure hunt which will require the children to take photos of their finds
  • Most cameras work well on their automatic mode. Many digital cameras have scene modes. Investigate these when taking photos in different conditions eg food, a scenic view, snowy scene or sun/ bright light behind the subject
  • Encourage the child to take time composing each picture before clicking and avoid the click click click
  • If inside or it’s getting dark ensure the flash is turned on
  • Remember: Always put the camera’s strap around your wrist while holding the camera.

When you have a memory card full of photos

  • Delete any photos that are no good. If more than one shot has been taken of the same scene just keep the best ones – a good practice to get into to avoid copious amounts of disk space being used up
  • Back them up - huge disappointment of lost memories if your computer packs up Use a digital photo frame to display them on. They are now becoming more affordable. It is better to go for a smaller size one (eg 6 x 4.5 inch) which will display your photos in better quality rather than a larger one of less resolution which will not show your photos off at their best.
  • Set your computer’s screen saver to randomly display pictures from your photo directories
  • A photo printer is a nice instant option and can give the same results as a professionally printed photo. The only problem with these is that, when you take into account the price of the photo paper and ink required, the price per print is expensive. If you do have one, kids will love the mini prints you can get from them, 4 photos on a normal 6x4 inch size photo paper.
  • There is nothing quite like holding a photo in your hand, so either take your memory card along to a shop to have some prints developed or upload them to one of the online places now available.
  • Photo albums produced at these online sites look very impressive. There is also a vast array of gifts available for you to create from your snaps.

If you don’t have a digital camera, a disposable camera is also good for kids as they have their set number of exposures. They just might need reminding to make sure it lasts for as long as needed, for instance if on a day trip remind them not to use all the exposures up in the car before you arrive at your destination!

First published 4kids Summer 2009