As an outdoor family, you know the importance of spending quality time with your little ones in the great outdoors. Nature has a way of bringing families closer together and creating lasting memories. One fantastic way to make these moments even more special is by introducing nature photography to your family adventures. Not only will it help you capture the beauty of your surroundings, but it will also inspire your children to take a closer look at the world around them.
So, grab your camera (or smartphone) and let's dive into this fun guide to nature photography for outdoor families with kids under 12!
Start with the basics: teach your kids how to take a photo
Before you head out on your next nature walk, take a moment to teach your children the basics. Remind them to avoid touching the camera lens with their fingers and thumbs. Before taking a photo with a smartphone, ensure the lens is clean. For digital cameras, emphasize the importance of replacing the lens cap or closing it after each photo. Demonstrate how to use the zoom function and the significance of holding the camera steadily for a clear shot.
When photographing near water, cliffs, or any potentially hazardous areas, prioritise safety. Keep a watchful eye on your kids and make sure they understand the importance of being cautious during outdoor photography excursions.
Encourage exploration. Get up close and personal with nature
One of the best ways to capture the intricate beauty of nature is by getting up close and personal with your subjects. Encourage your kids to explore their surroundings and look for interesting textures, patterns, and colours. This can include anything from vibrant flowers and leaves to fascinating insects and animals. Just remember to respect nature and avoid disturbing any wildlife or damaging plants.
Play with perspectives. Capture the world through your child's eyes
As an adult, you are probably used to seeing the world from your point of view. But nature photography offers a unique opportunity to experience the outdoors through your child's eyes. Encourage your kids to experiment with different perspectives, such as shooting from a low angle or capturing the world from their own height. You might be surprised by the creative and captivating images they create!
Make the most of natural light: Golden hour adventures
The golden hour – the time just after sunrise or before sunset – is a magical time for nature photography. The soft, warm light can transform ordinary scenes into breathtaking images. Plan a special family outing during these hours and watch as your kids discover the beauty of nature bathed in golden light. Plus, it's the perfect opportunity to capture stunning family portraits with a gorgeous, natural backdrop.
Create a nature photography challenge: Spark your child's imagination
To keep your kids engaged and excited about nature photography, consider creating a fun challenge for your next outdoor adventure. This can be as simple as a scavenger hunt for specific subjects (e.g., find and photograph something red, a unique leaf, or an interesting rock) or a more complex assignment, like capturing the different stages of a flower's life cycle. The possibilities are endless, and it's a great way to encourage your children to think creatively and explore their surroundings.
Capture action shots. Freeze the fun moments
Encourage your kids to capture the action as it happens. Whether it's a playful water splash, a tree-climbing adventure, or a family game of catch, action shots can add excitement and dynamism to your nature photography collection.
Secret garden photography: Create a hideaway
Build a small hideaway or fort with your kids in a secluded part of your garden. This can serve as a perfect vantage point for observing and photographing birds, butterflies, or any other wildlife that frequents the area.
Wildlife watchers: Bird feeders and bug hotels
Get your kids involved in creating bird feeders and bug hotels. Once set up in your garden, observe the wildlife that visits and have your kids capture their feathered or buglife visitors in photos.
Photography props: Bring fun accessories
Introduce playful props to your nature photography sessions. Bring along items like colourful scarves, magnifying glasses, or even bubbles to add a touch of whimsy to your outdoor photos.
Exploring the seasons: Create a year-long project
Turn nature photography into a year-long project. Challenge your kids to document the changing seasons in the same outdoor location, capturing the different colours, textures, and wildlife that emerge with each passing season.
Share and celebrate: Create a family nature photography gallery
After your outdoor adventures, gather your family and review the photos you've taken together. Share your favourite images and discuss what you love about them. You can even create a family nature photography gallery, either online or by printing and framing your favourite shots. This will not only celebrate your child's creativity and accomplishments but also serve as a beautiful reminder of the precious memories you've created together in nature.
Tips to get kids excited about wildlife photography
Be patient and encouraging. Photography with kids can be unpredictable.
Encourage their efforts and offer guidance without being overly critical. Let them explore their creativity, even if it means taking countless shots of the same subject.
Share with fellow nature enthusiasts: Connect with other outdoor mums and dads who share a passion for nature photography.
Join a local nature photography club to exchange ideas, tips, and even plan outdoor photography outings with other families.
Enter your kids photos into wildlife photography competitions. Check out Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year with Natural History Museum, your local wildlife trust, Big Picture Natural World Photography and the RSPB Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Look for inspiration from wildlife photos online or in art galleries and museums.
Nature photography can be a fantastic way to bond with your children, encourage their curiosity about the natural world, and create lasting memories together. So, grab your cameras or smartphones, explore the great outdoors, and capture the beauty of nature through your family's unique lens. Happy nature snapping!