Friday 6 October 2017

How to Create a Family Photography Competition (Kid Friendly)

The next school holiday is fast approaching and if you’re anything Iike me you'll be searching for ways to keep the kids entertained without it costing you a fortune. Well here is a cost-free and simple idea to add to your repertoire and it is sure to be fun.

A couple of weeks ago we headed to Bexhill-on-sea as a family and the kids spent the afternoon taking photos of their choice around a prompt (or theme) I had chosen for them. I told them in advance that one child would be the winner and would receive a prize, but didn't reveal what the prize was. This was because I didn't want them to put in effort according to how good they each felt the prize was. I just said it would be something they liked and different for each of them.

If you fancy creating your own photo walk or competition here are the things to think through -

1.  Choose your date and check the weather. Some children won't mind if it is pouring down outside but of course, others will hate that and it does make taking good photos much harder, so try to pick a fine day. It doesn't matter if it is cold or frosty, you can just wrap up and of course, you can get some fab photos in the frost or snow.

2.  Choose your location. You can create a photo walk or competition anywhere. We chose our local seaside town as the venue but it could just have easily been in the woods, a park or the local neighbourhood.

3.  Get your cameras ready. It doesn't matter what equipment you use, you just need to ensure that each participant has something. We have old point and shoot cameras sitting in our drawer and of course phone cameras can be great now as well. For particularly young children you could use disposable cameras but then you need to get the pictures developed, whereas with anything digital, the images are much more instant and often that appeals to children. Make sure you've charged up batteries and ensure there is enough memory to take a good amount of shots.

4.  Decide the prompt. I wanted to give the kids a really wide brief so they had the prompt of circle but it could have been anything. The types of prompts I'm going to use in the future are other shapes, colours, a number, a letter, vehicle, human, hat, top, bottom, stair, roof, walk, picture etc.

5.  Decide on the competition rules. At first, I just said to the kids, take as many photos as you like inspired by the prompt circle. That doesn't mean there has to be a circle in the picture, the image just has to suggest the concept of circle to you and you need to be able to explain why. Give me one image by 6pm and I'll judge the winner.

Then the kids bought up all these questions I hadn't thought through, like could they use an image editor? Could they take a photo, print it and cut it into a circle? Could it be lots of images together to make a collage circle and so on? It doesn't matter what your rules or boundaries are they just need to be consistent for all participants, so think through all angles in advance and communicate them to your participants.

6.  Choose your prize. You can award anything you like, I have a present box and said the girls could choose something they fancied as their prize and if JJ had won I had a big packet of M&M’s for him.

7.  Go and have fun taking the photos. I was so inspired by how much all three of my kids got into the competition. One of them is a keen photographer so I knew she would enjoy it but the other two less so. It was really great as an educational activity to help them see beyond their normal view and to use their creative eye.

The submitted images, the one on the right was the winner

8.  Judge the submitted images. I thought this would be easy but actually, your emotions can kick in and I ended up feeling bad for my daughter, Miss E who loves photography as her twin had submitted a picture that was outstanding. Miss M had only taken about 8 images in total but one was amazing, whereas Miss E had taken about 60 and had numerous really lovely ones but she didn't choose the one (in my opinion) that was outstanding (see below).

I ended up posting the three photos on FB and not telling my friends who had taken which, so they could anonymously vote. This was a much better idea for me as I didn't have to disappoint any of my kids. I also awarded a highly commended prize to Miss E for all the effort she put in and the enthusiasm with which she had approached the task.

The one of Miss Es that I adored

10.  Display the photos. I think it is nice to then either short or long term display each of the images. I'm going to be putting ours in a frame with three cut-outs to allow for the three photos.

We had so much fun as a family undertaking this task together and I hope it works out just as well for your family.

Why not pin this post for later?

Create a no-cost family photography competition to occupy and engage your kids

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