Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Call It “Still Life With Cheerios”

The First Camera
It was my daughter’s third birthday and like any parent, I thought it would be great to get her an extra special present that would inspire her; one that would stimulate her creativity as she learned by doing. Photography is a do-able activity for young kids in a way that it wasn’t just a few years ago. When you go digital, you’re not burning through rolls of film or reams of printing paper. Today’s all about digital files and online slide shows.

My needs were simple: I wanted an indestructible camera that used normal batteries (not the expensive specialty batteries in most digital cameras); it had to come with a connector cord for my computer; and if it isn’t asking too much, it needs to come in pink. Parents of daughters—I don’t need to explain that last one. And I don’t want it to be crazy expensive. Forty bucks was my ceiling.

I found several spot-on picks in my price range. I decided on the Vtech Kidizoom Camera (available in pink) for $35.99. It also has the capability to shoot short videos and comes loaded with three games and allows you to add silly “special effects” to your photos. It well fits the bill for an inexpensive, fun, durable first camera. I recommend it.

Needless to say, my daughter was delighted with her gift. She was up and snapping immediately. Handling a camera teaches fine motor skills. And in their own way, they are now contributors to your family’s digital archive. And they’re learning (by trial and error) about basic composition, light and shadow, and how important it is to just breathe, relax, and hold still.

They can snap away all day, and at first, they will. And with the coming holiday season, I’m looking forward to having her take her own special shots. If your kid’s like mine, they crave to be a fully vested member of the family, and letting them be second-string family photographer can accomplish just that.

Depending on your taste in art, you may find your child’s snapshots to be eerily (by which I mean blurry-ly) beautiful. My three-year-old took these shots, and though I’m certainly not unbiased, I think they’re fun, colorful, and sweet. Few things can trigger our memories like photographs. In its own way, it fills out the “picture.” These photos depict things that are important to my daughter. She won’t always dote on her Snow White doll; but I’ll always have her own snapshot to remind me that once she did. Time flies. If you take pictures AND your kids take pictures, you’re pretty well covered.

Have your kids experimented with photography yet? Tell us about it!

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