I’ve come to realise that a number of professional photographers were introduced to photography from an early age. That first encounter inspired some to the extent that they never put their cameras down and started living life through the lens. Others picked it up again after a few years, almost as if it had a magnetic attraction.

In a world where materialism is appraised and we’re constantly surrounded by technology, we can either shy away from, or accept and utilise it. We have the chance to teach our children how to use technology responsibly.

Little boy taking photos using Canon and Benro gear

Reasons why photography can be good for your child’s development:

Creativity and problem-solving skills
Psychologists studying the concept of positive constructive daydreaming found that it was vital to imagination and creative thought development. Therefore, giving your child the confidence and freedom to explore and try new things can improve creativity. Thanks to the intricacy of photography, motivating children to take photos will learn them how to solve problems (like lighting and composition) creatively.

Appreciating what others see as ordinary
Learning to compose photos require abstract thinking on lines, shapes, geometry and colours. This sharpens young minds, making them more inclined to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of life. From a young age they will learn that anything you see, can inspire.

Exploring, building confidence and learning to deal with criticism
Instead of spending time cooped up indoors staring at a screen, they can be outside exploring – whether it’s nature or street photography. They will learn to look at people differently and to be bold enough to ask them to take a photo. Honest feedback will also boost their confidence and teach them to take critique for the betterment of their work. (Taking them seriously by signing them up for a photography workshop or printing their work is a very good idea to give their confidence that extra boost!)

Meeting like-minded people
Not only will they have fun with friends who share the same interests as they do, but they will actually meet more individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This will allow them to become more tolerant, open-minded children with a better understanding of other people.

Reward and positive reinforcement
Taking a photo that you’re proud of releases dopamine that motivates you to repeat that specific behaviour and neurobiologists believe it correlates with creativity too. It creates a “happy circle” of positivity.

Little boy taking photos

Photographic equipment perfect for younger kids starting out:

Ages 7 and up
– The Lomo’Instant Camera is a great start. It can teach composition as well as thinking twice before pressing the shutter. It has two manual shooting modes that enable all kinds of experimental shooting possibilities. Using Fujifilm’s Instax mini film puts a fun twist on things. If you want to add a bit of creative freedom, go for the Lomography Lomo’instant Automat Camera as it comes with four lenses.

Nikon’s Coolpix W300 compact camera is ideal for the adventurer as it’s waterproof, shockproof and dustproof (basically childproof). It shoots 4K ultra HD videos, has a 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with Vibration Reduction and built-in Wi-Fi, so they can post their photos directly to social media.

Ages 13 and up
– The innovative Canon EOS M100 mirrorless camera with 15-45mm IS STM lens will help your child tell stories through picturesque images and full HD cinematics. Capture and share the moment with a smartphone-like, tilting touchscreen interface, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

– With features like full HD 1080p video recording at 60 fps, a multi-CAM 4800DX 39-point AF sensor, ISO 100-25600 and 5 fps shooting, you can’t go wrong with the Nikon D5600 DSLR camera kit. This kit includes a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II lens, camera bag and memory card; the perfect all-in-one kit to kickstart any photographic journey.

On the fence?

  • If you’re not ready to take the plunge and commit to buying a camera, the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4 smartphone handheld gimbal stabiliser is ideal as your child can learn the ins and outs of shooting using their phone’s camera.
  • You also have the option of renting a camera and lens before deciding what camera to buy.
  • The Canon Powershot SX70 camera is ideal for the whole family to enjoy, from fun family holiday photographs to portraits that can be printed.
Teen girl taking photos using her Canon bridge camera