I think children are the best photographers.
Children don’t have pre-conceived notions. They don’t listen to the “rules.” They simply follow their own gut; their own intuition.
Children do things for fun, and for the sake of it.
How did you start photography?
As adults, we might have picked up photography in a child-like state. We might have got a new iPhone, and was amazed by how good the photos were.
Or we might have picked up photography when we were younger — maybe in the days of film, or just starting off with a digital point-and-shoot (how I started).
Regardless, when we started photography, we were amazed by the camera’s ability to capture, record, and document a moment.
I know that when I started photography, I was gifted a Canon digital point-and-shoot camera as a high school graduation present. I technically started photography far earlier, when I was a child, given a disposable film camera for holidays and field trips.
However, this little digital point and shoot camera was the first tool that really empowered me. It was mine, and I could instantly see the photos on the back of the LCD screen after I shot them. I still remember how amazing it was to see the photos immediately after you shot them, instead of having to wait a few days or even a week (waiting for the local drugstore to develop the images).
To me, digital photography empowered me. I have always had a horrible memory, and taking photos was a way for me to remember better. I photographed my meals, my time with my friends, and anything that was of interest.
When I started off in photography, I had no concepts of a “good” or “bad” photo — and what composition was. I remember just taking photos which I thought were interesting, and meaningful. And starting off, there was no “social media” for me to share my photos on. I took photos for my own benefit, and sometimes shared these photos with my friends or family.
How do children take photos?
If you give a child a camera, they will take photos of everything. They don’t care about composition, framing, or photographing what is “interesting.” Rather, they follow their gut, and they have fun. They play with the camera, they don’t “take photos”.
Let us tap into this inner-child of ours as well. Let us treat photography as playtime, not as an opportunity to “make art” and impress our peers with our photos.
How to photograph like a child
If you want to learn how to photograph like a child, here are some tips:
1. Set everything to fully-automatic
If you’re going to give a camera to a child, you will set it to fully-automatic, for them to just point and click.
Do the same for yourself. Set your camera to fully-automatic, and just take photos of anything that interests you. Don’t worry about exposure, exposure-compensation, sharpness, or any other technical details.
Just point and click.
2. Don’t censor yourself
When it comes to taking photos, don’t censor yourself. Don’t think to yourself, “Is this a good photo or not?” before you click the shutter.
Just follow your gut and intuition, and click.
Children love to explore. They love to play.
If you put a child in the woods, they climb trees, follow streams, and follow their curiosity.
Treat the same in your photography. Have your camera as your companion, and just explore.
Wander aimlessly around your city, down alleyways, through streets, and anywhere your heart tells you to go.
Above all, photographing with a child-like mind means to have fun. Never treat your photography like a chore.
Never stop exploring, seeing the world, and looking at it with a sense of wonderment and awe.
Let us channel our inner-child, and never grow old.