The end of July is hot in San Antonio. By now, most parents are in a frenzied search for things to keep their kids occupied. Thoughts about developing new skills or sharpening existing skills have gone out the door, in favor of staying cool and just keeping the wheels on until school starts back up.
So check this out…
Photo Essays are a great project for your kids. They get the creative juices flowing, help kids with executive function skills (planning, organizing, etc…) and can be done entirely indoors (if you want to avoid the heat). Older kids can do them completely on their own, but younger kids may need help planning and organizing.
Photo essays are collections of photographs that tell a story more completely than a single photograph would. They are great ways to get kids thinking about how to convey meaning and purpose, without putting pen to paper. Here are some tips on getting started:
Pick A Topic
Find a subject that is really interesting – something that you can focus on and really study. The subject could be animate or inanimate – like kids playing on the playground or just the playground itself.
Research Your Idea
Spend some time studying your topic. Scope out the place you plan to photograph. Learn about its history or purpose. Ask other people what they know about your topic.
Plan Your Story
Decide what you want your audience to know once they view your photo essay. Do you want to convey an emotion or show time passing? Will your story be focused on an event or person? Try to decide on a single sentence that describes the story you plan to tell.
Pick Your Shots
Now that you have scoped out your location, researched your idea and planned your story – how are you actually going to tell it? What shots are you going to take? Are they going to be close up or from a distance? Will your shots convey action? Plan 30 – 50 different shots, but know that may mean you are taking several hundred pictures to capture what you want.
Curate Your Esssay
Now you have to put it all together. Most photo essays have between 5 and 15 photos. How you display them will be up to you. You can make a slideshow to share with family and friends who live far away. You can print and hang your photos in your room. Collages also work. As you are choosing, revisit the sentence you wrote when planning your story. Does it still fit? Did you find a new story while taking photos?
Hopefully building a photo essay is a fun project for you, your kids or your family to do together. There are lots of variations you can try. Maybe you pick a topic as a family and everyone interprets it their own way – you can build individual photo essays or a single one as a family.
I’d love to see the results of your projects! Share your photos on our Facebook page!