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Teaching Cameras to Kids: Shutter Speed and Aperture

Teaching Cameras to Kids: Shutter Speed and Aperture

As a mom and photographer, I’ve been taking some time to share my passion for photography with my children. Kids and photography go together. I’m excited about the carefree photos my kids take and their willingness to learn about the settings on the camera. Below are some photos we took together during an outing where I had them experiment with varying shutter speeds and aperture. 

 What is Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter is open. When deciding what shutter speed to use in an image consider whether anything in your scene is moving. For example, when photographing moving subjects  you might want to choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. On the flip-side of this you might want to capture the movement as a blur like a leaves in the wind with a slow shutter speed. 

Below are examples my daughter captured of moving leaves in the wind and while moving the camera while shooting using a slow shutter speed of 1/20. 


Leaves in the Wind by Lucy Fox

To capture motion we experimented with throwing leaves in the air and images of our dog's movement.

1/250


Pepper Yawning by Lucy Fox 1/320 

What is Aperture?

Aperture controls the depth of field in a shot. Choosing a larger number aperture means the aperture (or the opening in your camera when shooting) is smaller and lets less light in. This means you’ll have a larger depth of field more of the scene will be in focus. Small numbers means the opposite (ie your aperture is large, depth of field will be small. This was fun to experiment with. My son took two portraits of our dog one with a large number aperture where the background is in focus and one with a low aperture number where the background is blurred. We also tried images with selective focus and low depth of field.

Pepper by Graham Fox  f16

Pepper by Graham Fox f1.8

Selective focus f1.8

Leaf by Graham Fox f1.8

I am hoping my kids fall in love with photography as much as I do. I have to remember not to underestimate their ability to understand the more technical parts of photography. Manual mode next. I will soon have to work hard to keep up with them!

Emmy Walden Fox is a local photographer. To view her work visit her website at emmywaldenfoxphotography.com.