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03-10-2011, 06:59 AM   #1
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Ideas and tips on giving a workshop

I've volunteered to give a photography demonstration to my daughter's Girl Scout troop (12-13 year olds). I have no idea on how to approach this without boring them to tears. It's one thing to discuss this with people who are already interested and are looking to learn more, but another to keep the attention of those that may have no interest at all. Their guidebook has some suggestions, but it's from 1997, so showing them the proper way to handle film won't work too well for girls that have only used their cell phone's camera. In addition to my photo gear I will have my laptop, and each girl will have some sort of camera (most likely a cell phone, but I will ask they bring a dedicated camera if they have one).

Last edited by Jodokast96; 03-10-2011 at 07:46 AM.
03-10-2011, 07:56 AM   #2
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Depends on how many kids, and how long you have.

My 10 year old loves to play with special effects on her DS-i (with its internal camera); you could show them or have them make a cardboard-box pinhole "camera", then show examples (bring a laptop?) of different depths of field, explaining briefly how the different size of the pinhole changes that. Having a laptop to immediately view the differences, and going with the flow as they ask questions, would be cool.

Show the difference in shutter speed--have someone jump up and down with a 1/250 second vs. 1/2 second exposure--again show it on the laptop.

Then let them see what you can do with "ordinary" pictures, in a photo-editor like Photoshop, Elements, etc.

Also demonstrating macro photography, or at least photos, is always fascinating for kids (and adults.) If it were boys, definitely bug shots, for the girls, maybe flowers? (Sexist, I know...)

Just my 2c; spent over 25 years teaching college courses, and 10 years teaching my kid so far...
03-10-2011, 07:57 AM - 1 Like   #3
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First of all, as a Boy Scout adult volunteer, I thank you for taking the time to do this. May others follow your example!

For the cub scouts (6-10 years old), we have a photography belt loop/pin activity. You can use the guidelines and adjust to your needs.
Depending on the time you have, the belt loop requirements may be more appropriate, since the pin will require more homework.

Here are the general guidelines:

Requirements for the photography Belt loop

Complete these three requirements:
1. Point out the major features of a camera to your den or family and explain the function of each part. Parts could include film or sensor, lens, shutter, power on and off, zoom, battery, flash, display panel, case, settings, etc.
2. Discuss with your den leader or adult partner (you in this case), the benefits and contributions photography makes to modern life. Report what you learned to your den or family.
3. Using a camera, take at least 10 pictures of your family, pet, or scenery; show these to your den.

Requirements for the photography Academics Pin
Earn the Photography belt loop above and complete five of the following requirements:
1. Using pictures, explain what photography is and how it relates to light and picture-taking.
2. Look at a book of published photos about a subject that interests you. Find out what makes these photos remarkable and why people want to look at these pictures. Learn whether the photographer used light or angles to make the photos interesting. Discuss what you learned with an adult.
3. Explain to an adult what “red eye” is and why it can happen in a picture. Show examples.
4. Make a short video of a friend, family member, or pet, and show it to your den or family.
5. With an adult’s help, use a photo-editing software feature to crop, lighten or darken, and change a photo.
6. Make a creative project using at least one photo.
7. Take three pictures of the same scene using different lens settings. Show these pictures to your den or family.
8. Visit an art exhibit that features photography. Write a list of some of the things you saw and felt during your visit.
9. Demonstrate how to use a light meter and manually set the aperture (lens opening) on a camera.
10. Print and develop a picture from a film negative.
11. Read about a famous photographer and tell his or her story to your den. Explain why he or she is famous or admired.

Hope this helps, and once again, THANK YOU!

03-10-2011, 08:05 AM   #4
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If you can shoot tethered (Pentax's Remote Assistant?) to your laptop that might be one way. Depending on your lens collection, you might get them to do portraits (like head shots) with a wide angle, normal, portrait length, and long telephoto lens and ask them which is more flattering.

Another thing to do would be some sort of depth of field exercise. This is where you would have a camera on a tripod focused at a scene and take a series of reciprocal (sometimes called equivalent) exposures of the scene where you meter, shoot, then stop down 1 or 2 stops and adjust the shutter speed the same 1 or 2 stops keeping the equivalent amount of light coming through, do this a few times or quickly from maximum aperture to minimum aperture and you can clearly show depth of field, bokeh etc. I think this is a very visual way to get someone to see what a the camera sees and how the optics can do more than just capture a snapshot.

Get them to see the difference between a cell phone snap and a real camera's optics. Get them to see.

Best of luck with the Troop. My wife and daughters are all leaders now. It's a great program. I taught my daughter's troops how to rock climb years ago.

03-10-2011, 10:38 AM   #5
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You might consider asking your daughter what she and her friends want to know. Aperture and shutter speed may be interesting to you and me, but if they want to know how to take cool self-portraits it will be booooooring.
03-10-2011, 10:47 AM   #6
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Booooooring? True, if you start with words like "aperature" and "shutter speed." (Insert image of deer-in-headlights.)

But you can spice it up as "glamour shots" (shallow DOF) or "extreme sports stop-action" (high shutter speed) and sort of sneak in a bit of explanation when they ask how you'd do that! :-)
03-29-2011, 08:00 PM   #7
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Just wanted to get back and thank everyone. The meeting was tonight, and didn't go too badly, but here are the highlights. some of them got the chance to try out some slow shutter speeds with a light up necklace spinning in the dark. That sidetracked into the importance of a tripod when one of the girls said she could hold the camera steady enough for a multi-second exposure, and then everyone tried to outdo each other (all failed of course). Found a decent PS makeover video to show them how everyone in magazines is not flawless & that not everything is always as it seems, and just how fast shutter speeds are with an old film camera set at 1sec, 1/30, 1/125, and 1/1000. Did go into the basics of what makes up a camera and exposure, so I'm sure the got a little bored with that though.
03-29-2011, 08:18 PM   #8
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Sounds like you did a great job. You have to "play to your audience" and understanding what they will latch onto and get the most from is not an easy thing to ascertain! If you do another one, I would throw in some info on composing the shot (rule of thirds, keeping the subject out of the center, most times, etc.).


03-29-2011, 08:31 PM   #9
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I did get into that a bit, but quite honestly, those girls went off on lots of tangents, and it was hard to work some of those points back in. Honestly, it was tough to cram it all in to just over an hour. It could have all been done a lot better, but I am not one for public speaking, even to kids, lol.

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