In addition to having students observe, sketch, and write under the influence of nature outdoors, I also like to have them use their iPads to take photos. I’ve learned over the years that most students take better photos if I take the time to teach them some photography techniques. So earlier this week I taught my students three photography techniques: bird’s eye view (shooting from above, looking down), bug’s eye view (getting low to achieve a low perspective, sometimes looking up), and using the rule of thirds where they use the grid feature on their camera to frame their subject thoughtfully off the center.
Once I showed them photos of the three techniques and we noticed how the photographer used their camera, we headed outside to try these techniques. The only rule: no photos of people. We were short on time (this has been quite the week), so I asked students to take 2 photos using each technique. We spent about 7 minutes outside taking photos–with me taking photos too. What I love best is that they were actively engaged in trying out the techniques. I had kids laying on their back shooting the underside of plants, kids holding their iPads up high to get that bird’s eye view, and careful framing using the grid lines.
After our reading groups and lunch we came back and took a look at the photos we captured. Each student examined their photos, remembering which technique they used for each photo. I had them pick a favorite and tell us what technique they used and why it was a favorite. Some of the images were stunning! Some were ordinary. But all students felt success–and came up with photos that were intentionally framed and for the most part, did not include their classmates. Here’s the one that resulted from the image I captured above (Thanks L!). Can you guess which technique was used?
Tomorrow we will go on a photography scavenger hunt to give students a chance to put these new skills to use. Wish me luck as we head out to explore and photograph our school campus!
I did this activity with my students last year inspired by you. It was harder to take photos with Chromebooks, but they did some wonderful perspectives. We should do it again.
I love that you do this with your students! I hope you’ll be writing about the scavenger hunt tomorrow. Staying tuned…
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