Nurturing Young Photographers Through Reflection

Nov 22 / Janet Pliszka
This snapshot immortalizes the final day of our summer photography camp at the esteemed Photo Gala—an occasion dedicated to celebrating the evolution and growth of our young talents over the week.

Picture this: kids proudly displaying their finest works, while family and friends gather to admire their creative flair.  I see a camper nestled among her art collection, patiently awaiting her parents, engrossed in her photographic journey.  

I hurriedly grabbed my camera, hoping she'd still be there upon her return.   Fortunately, she was, lost in her world of images, allowing me to seize that fleeting moment.  
The sight of kids proudly displaying their work alone brings an ear-to-ear grin. But this moment held a deeper resonance. Witnessing her introspectively explore her captures, her accomplishments, her expressions—it mirrored the journey of so many of my students. They see beyond mere pixels on screens:

  • They witness their skill evolution.
  • They implement technical and compositional learnings.
  • They craft narratives and foster storytelling abilities.
  • They identify preferred subjects and styles.
  • They bask in pride and accomplishment.

This emphasizes the significance of kids taking time to reflect on their images. It's not merely about refining technical skills or perfecting storytelling—it's a catalyst that fuels their creativity, sparks curiosity, and encourages the exploration of diverse techniques, subjects, and perspectives. Amidst it all, they witness their growth and build their confidence.

How to foster this reflection?

As a parent, encourage your kids to revisit and reflect on their photographic escapades. Give them the space and time to delve into their captured moments, fostering open discussions about the stories behind their photos.  This is a potent recipe for nurturing their growth as young photographers.

What can you do to nurture this reflection and growth? 

Initiate a habit of retrospection by asking open-ended questions about their photos. Try starting with queries like:
  • What tale does this photo tell?
  • Why did you choose this subject?
  • How might you improve this photo?
  • What strides have you made in your photography journey?
  • Does this photo spark new ideas for future shots?

Reflect on your own photos to model the practice for them. Discuss why specific photos resonate with you and how they inspire your photographic endeavors. Parents' reflections underline the depth of meaning photos hold and nurture the same sentiment in your kids.

Create a platform for kids to showcase their treasured photos and share the stories behind them. This could be through a family slideshow night.   The creation of a photo journal.  Or perhaps changing up the image in a frame every month.   Encourage discussions about composition, emotions, or the narratives behind each image. It's an exceptional opportunity for bonding, reflection, and sharing.

Revisiting their work isn't solely about honing technical skills or storytelling—it's a journey that sparks ideas, ignites creativity, and helps them chart their growth as photographers. Finding ways to nurture young photographers is an important  gateway to self-expression, creativity, and discovery.