Home Education

Home school topic: Photography

In our topic-based home school, we started off 2021 with a photography topic. You do not need any fancy equipment, just a phone camera and your child’s imagination is plenty! Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. For more information about what this means, please click here

The history of the camera

Learning about the history of the camera is a lot of fun, especially when looking at pictures of what cameras use to look like! Depending on age and ability, your child could make their own timeline, or you could print off pictures for them to order and write a few words to a long description depending on ability. 

Discussions on how things have changed so much in photography can lead off in all directions. We talked about dark rooms and how it is much more common nowadays to print off digital photos. 

Key terms and genres. 

Learning about the key terms in photography and the different styles of photography is also very interesting. I made some templates for this and the timeline of the camera which you are more than welcome to use with your child if you find it helpful. It can be accessed in my freebies library (more on this further down the page!). While completing these boxes, older children can develop their research skills and writing skills. For younger children, you could tell them what they mean and then get them to rephrase in their own words. 

Composition

Now, this is where the fun really begins as you learn about different compositions and practice taking photographs using them. For example, the rule of thirds. You can turn on grid lines on your phone camera to make this easier.

You section your view of the photograph into a grid 3 by 3. Then, you make the focus point of your picture on a point that the grid lines cross.

If you are taking a picture in landscape mode, you want the sky to only take up the top line, and the rest of the photo to take up the other two lines. However, if the focus point in the picture is the sky, then you use the top two lines for the sky and the last line for the rest of the picture. 

The great thing about using a camera phone is that your child can take as many pictures as they like and then pick out the best ones to print and put in their work. The rest can be deleted. So much easier than the days when we had to get our films developed!

3 photographs showing different compositions. 1 - three apples, one on top of two. 2. Close up of purple flowers. 3. Picture of the sun in the sky with a man in the corner.
Examples of different compositions

Macro images

Faiths favourite style of photography was the Macro. Macro means very close up photography. You could even make this into a game, where your child takes photographs and you have to guess what the photograph is of. Another great game that we enjoyed was a photo scavenger hunt. You can make your own or download the one that I made for Faith (scroll down for more info). You can make it harder for older children by setting them a time limit!

Older children

With Faith being nearly 13 at the time that we did this topic, we did some more challenging work as well. This involved looking into British photographers and the work that they have published. We learned how to annotate a picture and then annotated one of the professional’s pieces of work. Faith then took pictures inspired by the photographer’s work. 

We then learned how to make and annotate a contact sheet with her best and worst images. She then selected her best photograph which she annotated to show why it was her best, what techniques she had used etc.

A photography contact sheet

Creative photography

Creative photography is when you use perspective and props to make things look like something they are not in a photograph. This is quite difficult in lockdown with just two people! You really need at least three people and lots of space so that you can use perspective well, by having things far away which look different in the photograph. 

Even if the results do not turn out as planned, you can still have a lot of fun trying!

Photo credit for the man with the moon to: https://www.studentartguide.com/articles/creative-photography-ideas

Photo editing

There are so many free photograph editing apps that you can use to add all sorts of dimensions to your photographs. These can be a lot of fun to explore but can also open up the door to discussions about what is real on the internet in terms of photographs when you can change a person’s size, teeth, eye color, etc. This can be great for talking about the importance of not putting pressure on oneself to be ‘perfect’ as it really does not exist! 

You can also explore the world of presets and don’t forget the options that are built into your phone or digital camera which can make a difference to how the photograph looks. 

Freebie

You are welcome to download my photography sheets which I mentioned earlier. They are in my freebie library with lots of other free downloads too! 

If you have not been in my freebie library before, simply sign up for my newsletter below, to get emailed the password straight away. You are of course, free to unsubscribe at any time. 

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Resources

 

Book cover: Boy holding camera taking a photograph of a dog

I purchased this for Faith but it was not what I had been expecting. I thought it would involve teaching/information inside but it is just a place for the child to stick their best picture which matches with that day’s theme. 

I gave it to Faith as her own project to complete which worked well, so it is good if that is all you want from it but do not purchase if you are expecting more of a textbook style guide. 

Other useful product ideas

Book cover showing a dog holding a frisbee as the main image with a hand holding a camera phone in the bottom right of the image.

I hope that you have found this post useful, do let me know your thoughts! If you have enjoyed this, you may also like

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