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“It’s Camera Wars!”

More accurately, this post could be called “preschooler’s photographing me photographing them taking photos. “  Or, as one child eloquently summed it up, as he prepared to take a picture of me taking a picture of him: “It’s camera wars!”

Teaching my son

I had this amazing idea earlier in the school year to bring in a couple of my cameras and let the kids see what it’s like to use use an SLR camera, while I used my third camera to take pictures of them doing it.

It was an awesome idea, I thought.  Planned it out.  Told the teachers.  Then wondered, would insurance cover two four year olds colliding on the playground, shattering lenses?

But I needn’t have worried.  It was a great time, and I achieved what I considered my main objectives:

  • to give the kids a sense of what it feels like to hold such a heavy camera (even with fixed lenses on there, the Nikon D300 and D700 are heavy cameras)
  • to show the kids how to put their eye right up to the viewfinder and take a moment to see what they were going to be taking a picture of
  • to teach them the proper grip for the camera (aka, left hand wrapped under the lens, bearing the weight, fingers carefully not blocking the lens; right hand, 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers wrapped around the grip, pointer finger on the shutter button)

I’ve seen many adults shoot with a poorer grip than these kids had!

Here’s another look at a great grip (this one’s my son!).  As you can see, the grip was very important, because these kiddos were too little for the strap to be of any use!

Teaching preschool students photography

Aside from a fun time, an unexpected benefit is that I now have dozens of pictures of myself, with camera in hand.

Preschoolers near Bethesda MD took pictures of photographer Danie Smallwood

So, if you ever need pictures of yourself, just grab your nearest preschooler….

A huge hug and thank you to the preschool teachers who facilitated this and so many other fun and new activities for these eager little minds!




celeste - June 5, 2012 - 2:14 pm

Danie, this is adorable! What a great idea and you are too cute!

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