I’m at the Pixel Photo Fest in Cleveland this week. So, instead of writing an article about how to feel, or what to wear, etc. I’m going to change it up and talk about the kids! My children are amazing—I know, all parents are supposed to say that—but they really are (we’re supposed to say that too)! One of the things that I’ve been fortunate to enjoy is seeing all four of them express varying degrees of interest in photography. How proud I was to see my two oldest excel at photography in their school curriculum. And my 10 year-old daughter takes the absolute best pictures of me… even better than I can take on my own, and it’s probably because I’m unguarded around her. But breaking the ice for portraits is a post for another time; Let’s get back to the subject at hand.

If your child has recently started showing an interest in photography and you are thinking about buying them their first camera, there are a few things you need to consider. As a parent you probably know that a kid’s interests can change tomorrow, next week or even next year but the good news is that you can still support their new hobby without breaking the bank.

Here are three super-easy tips for choosing a camera for your kid.

  1. Choose a camera that will enable your child to learn the basics quite quickly. Make sure that the controls and buttons are manageable and that the size of the camera is suited to the size of their hands. The menus should also be logical, easy to read and have intuitive icons that are easy to understand. You can ask me for some suggestions.
  2. Children love to experiment and tend to learn faster when they can do so. An entry-level DSLR camera will allow them to adjust exposure settings such as ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Interchangeable lenses are also a great learning tool but definitely not essential as a beginner. But instant film cameras are making a comeback, and they don’t have to be expensive (but they do cost about a dollar per shot). If your child is a bit more mature and you think they’re patient enough to take a slower, more deliberate approach to things, instant film may be the way to go.
  3. At some point, you may have to consider camera accessories. If shooting digital, your child will most likely want to download their images from the camera onto a computer, so some kind of way to interface with a computer will be necessary. If you’re lucky, your child will ask you for lighting! That’s exciting, because it means they are looking at photography on a deeper level—they are seeing shots before they are creating them. I can help you with your choices for accessories as well.

I’ve helped clients and friend figure out what types of cameras or lenses they should get when starting out in photography. Heck, I’ve even helped seasoned photographers with gear decisions and purchases. I also get communications from manufacturers asking for reviews of equipment. I’m saying all of that to say this: If you need advice, I’m here!

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