I have actually never been on a photowalk for the pure joy of photography. For those not really into photography, this is when you go for a walk and photograph whatever you want as you walk. Pretty simple, pretty straight forward, and pretty much something you probably never do as a parent of young kids. I mean making art for fun, that sounds like something only hipsters and young people do, not parents trying attempt surviving the day.
So when the shelter-at-home started, and I began scrambling for ways to reduce screen time for the kids, I tried to think outside of the box. I also wanted to do stuff that I wanted to do or try (you got to do stuff you enjoy as parents too). So what I came up with, was a Photowalk. If your kids are like my kids, then they love to grab the phone and start taking pictures with it. I figured why not get some exercise in, and see if they like photography. Turns out, most kids really enjoy taking pictures. You will see them try to compose photos, all of a sudden start being super excited about squirrels and birds, and maybe even try and photograph a sunset. I also got a chance to utilize my fancy camera, which was a plus for me, though I’m not sure that I took significantly better pictures than my kids.
All-in-all we ended up walking for a bout 30 minutes nonstop, and I considered that a win. We reduced screen time for the kids by 30 minutes, got some exercise in, and I got to have fun too. If you are at home, and need a quick refresher from your work day, then I suggest going for a photowalk. You can easily step outside, give you kids the iphone or cheap camera, and get your steps in.
Tips for Photowalks with kids
- Short and sweet makes the photowalks interesting without being a chore. I would say 20-30 minutes at the maximum.
- Give them your smart phone (or an old one) that has the ability to take photos. This is easy, and if you are cool with it, have them post to your instagram (as nice reward).
- Take your time. You aren’t running a sprint, you don’t need to be back exactly in 15 minutes, give yourself some time so that you aren’t rushing to get back. I wouldn’t do a photowalk if you only have 30 minutes. I would see if you have a break of an hour in-between meetings, and then go for you trip. You don’t want to be stressed out on the walk, that will ruin it for you and for your kids.
- Compliment not Criticize their photos. Remember, this isn’t about “you could have framed the picture this way or that way” or making the best picture possible. This is about having fun and relaxing. Advice isn’t advice if someone doesn’t ask you for it. It is just criticism. Your #1 goal is go be able to go again, and that means your kids have fun, not create instagram masterpieces.
Note: I’m a photography enthusiast, which, in reality, translates to me owning a ton of camera gear and multiple cameras. Sadly, this has no reflection on my relative skill (not that much), or how many. pictures I take (also not that much). My camera gear that is rarely used except for family trips, and the Holidays. My wife frequently reminds me that my camera purchases do not produce the best ROI, and that an iPhone will do the trick just as well.