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09 Jan 2014

Introducing our First KPA Kids!

I'm so happy to introduce you to our first KPA Kids!

This is Thomas, almost 10 and Kate, 7, currently living in Tauranga, New Zealand.  

We talked to them earlier this week about their outlook on photography. 

First we talked to Kate. 

KPA:  What do you like taking pictures of?
Kate:  Horses and animals. For example, I like taking pictures of animals like a whale . . . PS. we saw an orca in New Zealand.

KPA:  Tell us about a favourite photo you've taken.  Why is it your favourite?
Kate:  It is a photo of a sunset over the ocean.   It is really pretty and I like the colors. There is pink, purple and blue and some white.

KPA:  What do you think makes a good photograph?
Kate:  Detail.  I Iike it when there are lots of interesting things in the photo to look at.
KPA:  Absolutely!  With storytelling, it's really iinteresting for your viewers to see lots of detail in your images.  That way, your story is told as thoroughly as possible. Be careful to not have soooooooooo much going on in your photo, that it's hard to figure out what you're supposed to be focusing on!

KPA:  What is the hardest thing about taking a good photograph?
Kate:  If the thing you are taking a picture of is moving, it's hard to get your picture in focus
KPA:  Kate, we will cover this in a KPA lesson series when we talk about shutter speed.  That will help you keep your subject in focus.  Remember, sometimes it's impactful to show motion by having your subject blurry!  And we will also talk about panning too.  Panning is when you keep your subject in focus, but the background is blurry... very fun!

KPA:  What story would you like to tell through pictures?
Kate:  a story about my horse riding classes. 
KPA:  We would love that Kate!!   After you take a few of the KPA classes, we'd love it if you could tell us about your horse riding through pictures!!

KPA:  How do you think kids can benefit from photography and taking photos?
Kate:  It helps you to remember good things that happened. You can keep the pictures in the camera.


Next, we talked to Thomas!

KPA:        What do you like taking pictures of?
Thomas:  Cool things like buildings, plants or anything that I think is interesting.

KPA:        What do you think is an important picture in history?
Thomas:  A black and white picture of a Lancaster bomber in World War 2. This is an important part of history and it impacted the population and the countries.  The picture might make people feel sad or people might wonder about how the plane flies.
KPA:       If you take a look at the twitter account called History in PIctures, it is super, super interesting all the images they highlight.  You might find some amazing ones.   Just now I see one that is showing a man carving the nose of George Washington into Mount Rushmore!

KPA:      What is the hardest thing about taking a good photograph?
Thomas:   Getting a good angle.  Angles can be hard.
KPA:   It's true that getting a good angle is hard, but the effort is completely worth it!  It can make the difference between an OK image and a GREAT image.  So keep trying.

KPA:  How do you think kids can benefit from photography and taking photos?
Thomas:  Letting kids take pictures can let them learn about creativity.  Then they can learn things about their camera.

KPA:  What would you like to learn more about in photography?
Thomas:  Light, shadows and how to make good pictures.   I feel like I know how to work the camera but not how to control the lighting.
KPA:      We will be doing a few lesson series on lighting Thomas, so you'll start to learn how to control lighting and how to work your camera in different lighting situations!

KPA:  What story would you like to tell others through pictures?
Thomas:  I would probably take a picture of a tree and use the photos to explain about how a tree grows.
KPA:  Would you tell fictional stories with your photos?
Thomas:  No, I would use the camera to tell interesting information.

And here is a photo that Thomas took for our SeeSnapShare.   i love the backlight, texture and colour of this image.  Super eye. Super work!

Thanks so much Katie and Thomas.  It was so fun to talk to you!

If you want to be featured as a KPA kid, write us at  Let us know why you'd like to be a KPA Kid. Maybe you've started a photo club.  You made the coolest collage.   You just love taking pictures.  You're doing a documentary.  You submitted a picture to a contest.  We'd love to hear from you.   Any KPA kid will receive our KPA Essentials Kit ... A t-shirt, bag, notebook and pen!


by Janet Pliszka

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04 Jan 2014

14 Ways to Bring Photography into your Kids' 2014

I invite you to bring photography into your children's world this year.   Children of all ages can use pictures and images to strengthen their voice and express their views.  This in turn can increase their self confidence, expand their creativity and give them lots of fun along the way.   One of my intentions for this year, and beyond, is to bring creativity and expression into the world of kids, using photography.   Here's a collection of 14 ways to bring the joy of photos to your home this 2014.  

1. Hand over the camera!

Practice improves any art, so let them take tons and tons of pictures.  Take a deep breath and don't be afraid to give your kids your camera (age appropriate of course!).   You'll be amazed at the stories they start to tell.  Sure, there are going to be lots of blurry ones and  12 pictures of the exact same thing.  Just keep the ones they love and use the delete button for the others.  And with time and knowledge you'll see their imagination flow and their images improve.

2.  Display their photos.

Nothing makes a child more proud than seeing their artwork up in your home.  Not only will they make them grin from ear to ear, these images will also bring a smile to your face time and time again when you pass them throughout the day.  There will be plenty of KPA posts to come talking about how to show off their pictures, but here's a couple links to ideas I've found on the net to start you off.

The load up time for this link is a bit frustrating, but I think it's worth the wait.  These ideas are mostly for art, but can be easily replaced with photographs!

As there is not enough wall space in your home for all the pictures, albums are where it's at as well.  Try out Blurb for beautiful and affordable albums. 

3. Photo scavenger hunt! 

This is such a great alternative to video games.  It gets them moving around, being creative and discovering the world around them all while still keeping connected to technology.  How to do it?  Make a list of pictures for your child to take.   Get creative by including emotions, colours, actions, shapes and objects that look like letters.  Challenge older kids with more specific objects or more abstract concepts.   Hey, you can even get selfish and ask for things you've always wanted photos yourself!  They need to take photographs of everything on the list and add in a time limit for more fun.  If it's a hit, use different locations and different seasons for other ones throughout the year.

Another idea?  Plan this as a party with friends!  Kids break into teams and work together to complete their missions. The team who gets the most items checked off the list in the shortest amount of time wins. What a great keepsake for your child and all their friends!

4.  Get them to tell a story.  

Your child feels strongly about something.   A charity they know, their love of LEGO, their science project, their ski team, their school's antibullying campaign.   Get them to express their views and opinions on the subject through images.  This project will give them a specific purpose for their phototaking and start to instill the importance of using their voice.   And it's an opportunity to pull together all the concepts they learn with KPA's online lessons into a project that will showcase many of their images.

5.  Give them the spotlight!  

Hook up their slideshow of photos to the big TV.  It can be as fun as your family vacation to Mexico or as serious as the story they did above. Gather on the couch and be prepared for a proud tear or two as they show you their stuff.  Video it and send it to grandparents and family.

6.  A 365 day project. 

This is all about capturing the 'everyday' in their life.  It's a committment but so worth it in the end.  Not only do they practice their photography taking skills, but a beautiful recollection of their year in images will be the result.   You can start this any day of the year, just to be sure to label the picture with the date.  Be sure to show off these photos in an album.  Do this every year and by the time they're off to university, they'll have a whole series to treasure. 

Here's some tips to a successful 365 day project from BlipFoto.

 7.   Volunteer for the school yearbook committee.

It won't be long before schools start planning the yearbook if they haven't already.  Your child can start their dream as a photo journalist by volunteering to be a school photographer.   They can take pictures of events, club activities, classes, students and teachers.  Encourage them to go beyond the typical school photos.  Have them take pictures of the students showing who they REALLY are, not just a forced smile in front a blue backdrop!

8.  Participate in a photography club.

Whether it's at school or in the community, they'll learn lots tons at a good photography club.  Not only will they see the work of others, they will have others comment on their own images.  If there's not one around, they can always start one. 

9.  Inspire them! 

Show them the works of famous photographers and artists.  They can start identifying some of the concepts they learn with Kids Photography Academy lessons with the expert artists!   You'll see their own style start to develop as they are naturally drawn to and as they start to identify with some types.

Go to gallery shows of local artists or visit your museum.  And of course there is a load of resources on the web.  For example, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has this interactive feature on the work of Ansel Adams.

10.  Sort through old photos of your family.  

This will be sure to bring up lots of laughter, questions and bonding as you go through photos together.  Stories will be shared and connections will be made alongside a reorg of all those prints.  It might also spark some photo taking ideas and plans to cherish all these memories.  How about re-enacting pictures from their great grandparents age? Or making a family tree complete with portraits? 

11.  Show the seasons.  

Same place, different season.   Taking photos of their favourite places at different times of the year gives an appreciation for nature as well as exposure to different light throughout the year.   Frame it up as a series of 4 images and you'll have a gorgeous piece of artwork for your home.  If a year is too long to wait, shorten up the timeframe and have them take pictures at different times of the day.

12.  Introduce them to simple editing software. 

There is not only creativity involved in taking a picture but also in editing a picture.  Kids can learn about exposure, temperature and contrast while having great fun with composites, text, and distortions!

For the phone try Instagram, camera+ (I love this one!!), A Beautiful Mess, Skitch (great for school projects) and Pic Stitch (combining multiple photos into one framed picture).   For the computer some popular and free ones include,,,,   For older kids try and

13. Create a blog. 

Allow your child to create with words and pictures by creating their own blog.  It can serve as a running journal or just a place to host their expressions.  Not only will they be practicing their photography skills again, they'll also be learning how to research, write, add images for impact and use a web publishing platform. Wordpress has a feature where you can control who can and cannot view your blog.  I found this article to be very helpful if you want to help your child set up a blog (or let's face it.. have them show you how to set up a blog!!)

14. Ready, set, ACTION! 

Bring on the motion.   Have them experiment with video!   Easily done on a phone and most cameras.  It's so fun to bring in action and sound.  They can still use lots of the compositional, lighting and technical aspects of photography into their video work.   Vine is super quick.  6 seconds of fun!


Do you have any other ideas?  Let us know!  

Enjoy bringing photography into your child's life this year!!  

Without freedom, there is no creation.



Without freedom, there is no creation.







by Janet Pliszka

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