Summer Photography Camps

John Batdorff Photography is now offering summer camps for kids aged 13-17. Our weeklong camps will include excursions in the city, and processing in the studio. Any camera will do, so join us for a fun and creative learning experience this summer!

Photography Activities for Kids

Photo safaris can be fun for the whole family
Photo safaris can be fun for the whole family

Chicago truly is a great place for photography. We have so many cool places to photograph, and because we have the luxury of experiencing four seasons, we get four new photographic opportunities for every image. The Lincoln Park board walk looks entirely different in the spring when the flowers are starting to bloom, in summer when the bugs and ducks are swarming around the ponds with people walking everywhere, autumn when the leaves are changing color, or the winter when the ponds are frozen and everything nearby is still with the stoic skyline in the background.

Yes. Chicago truly is  a great place to get kids and teens involved in photography because of our zoos, parks, and festivals. Most kids have a camera phone or tablet, and many have access to a digital camera, so why not have fun with photography and start a new hobby? Here is a quick list of activities to foster your child or teen’s interest in photography.

Photography Activities for Kids and Teens

Photo Scavenger Hunt
1. Make a list before you go out of things that you want to get a photo of. These might be something blue, a bug, a purple flower, something square, something metal, etc. Then head out and find those things and get photos of them.

Get a photo of a giraffe at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Get a photo of a giraffe at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Photo Safari
2. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a great place to go on a real photo safari where you can get photos of lions, tigers, and bears! This one is my personal favorite because John and I went on many photo safari’s with his daughter Anna. Not only did we get to enjoy the time together, but seeing things from her viewpoint was really great. Now that she’s older, we still love seeing her photos.


Photo Challenge
2. Encourage your teen to sign up for a month-long photo challenge. I wrote a post over on John’s blog about photo challenges. Pick one, and post on Instagram, Flickr, or Facebook. Check out the blog post with ten creative challenges and get inspired!

Break the Rules
3. Break the rules. Kids love to break the rules, right? So head out and break all the rules of composition. Start by breaking these: rule of thirds, bad crops, fill the frame, or my favorite “the light post coming out of the head.” To break the rule of thirds, take photos with the main subject dead center of the frame, then take it again with the subject in the right, left, upper, or lower third of the frame. Then take a photo where you crop out your subject’s hands or lower legs, and take it again with her in the frame. Take a photo of an object and make it fill up 70% of the frame. Take the same subject and only fill up 30% of the frame. Finally, take a photo of each other with a tree, telephone pole, or lamp post lined up with your head, and see how it looks like you’ve sprouted a tree from your head! Then try again without the new appendage, and see how that looks. Then, look at all your photos together and see which ones you prefer.

Create unique compositions to learn that sometimes rules work, other times they don’t!
Create unique compositions to learn that sometimes rules work, other times they don’t!

“Buddy” Photography 
4. Have a trip coming up? Even if it’s just a day trip, find a little “friend” of some sort and get its photo in all kinds of places. I’ve seen people do this with a sock monkey, a photo of a friend, a newspaper from home, or a little trinket of some sort.

Be a Food Blogger
5. The weather isn’t quite nice enough to go outside? Try out food photography! Pick a recipe, and photograph every step of the way as you make it together. Start with the ingredients, and go from there. Try interesting compositions, plate the food in a pretty way, use different types of light. Then at the end you can put the photos into a slideshow to show off your recipe.

Good luck trying out some new fun photo activities with the kids! Share them with us on Instagram by tagging @chicaogphotocamp.