How to take the kids along on your next photo walk

It’s almost time for another Clickin Walk! This September 28-30, photographers from around the world will meet in their cities and towns to connect, inspire, and create. In each location, two members of the Clickin Moms online community volunteer to lead a walk and welcome fellow photography enthusiasts (you don’t have to be a Clickin Moms member!) to come and join the fun. Men, families, and friends are all welcome at this amazing event. To find a Clickin Walk near you, check out our ever-growing list of locations and get details on registering for your local walk HERE.

The Clickin Walk is always especially exciting as it is an opportunity to meet fellow photographers in your area. There is nothing quite as nice as talking shop (because these are the people who get why you are excited about that light!) while exploring your town. Oftentimes you find yourselves in a location that you may have never visited before! This is just one of the many ways that Clickin Moms helps you find your photography community.

Many of the Clickin Walks are kid-friendly (your location’s listing will specify). I’ve brought my kids along on photo walks since they were little and as a walk leader on the last two Clickin Walks. I know that bringing your children can be both daunting and distracting as you try to juggle your camera, navigating the city, and keeping-up with the conversations! These are some of my best ideas to help them (and you!) make the most of Clickin Walk 2018.

Give the kids a camera too!

Let your children take photos! After all, this is the whole point of the walk. A camera, whether it be an old DSLR, a tablet, or phone, can encourage them to seek and capture things that they find interesting as they walk around.

It never fails to amaze me how seeing what they’ve taken as we go draws my attention to things that I would have never seen on my own. After all, our little people are often viewing the world from a whole different level!

Create a checklist or treasure hunt

A simple list can help to keep the kids focused and on-task throughout your photo hunt. It can be as simple as a checklist or you could go all-out and make a treasure map of things to find. If you know the area well, you can even share your list with other participants who are bringing kids.

Ideas include the obvious to the abstract and it can be fun to see how kids interpret some of the prompts. Try to keep the list age-appropriate to avoid frustration. Here’s a short list of ideas to get you started.

Find and capture a photo of:

  • A circle
  • A person
  • Looking Up
  • An animal
  • Something red
  • Words
  • Food
  • Something fast
  • Something funny
  • The weather
  • An item for each letter of the alphabet

Turn your walk into a photo safari

This used to be a favorite way to keep my kids amused in the supermarket when they were at that curious toddler stage.  Anything from an ant to an elephant works…but the crazier and more unusual the animal the better. And we’re not just talking real, live wildlife! A photo of a fish on the logo of a tin of tuna, or a picture of a cow on a butchers shop window totally counts.  See how many different animals they can capture in the space of the walk.

Practice new techniques

I know many of our kids suffer from “Photographer’s Child Syndrome” and are likely not eager to be in front of the camera for you on your walk. Instead of expecting your child to model and pose in pictures, use the Clickin Walk as an opportunity to practice different shooting techniques and genres.

Perhaps you want to try a more documentary approach in your photography. You can capture your kids as they skip along in front of you. Maybe you want to challenge yourself to capture unconventional portraits. You can tell your child that this is “no face day” and all you’re going to capture is photos of the back of their heads, their hands and their feet. Or you could take this as an opportunity to capture images that do not include people at all! Aim your camera instead at buildings, art, and nature. Let this be an opportunity to flex your creative muscles! Your kids will appreciate a break from the usual photo routine.

Related: Shooting through elements to step out of your comfort zone

Give your child an important role

When you give a child some responsibility, they more often than not rise to the challenge. Allowing the kids to be your fellow photo walkers rather than “the kids” can make all the difference in keeping them happy for the duration of the walk.

Make your child be your “Chief Battery Keeper.” Put him in charge of holding lens caps as you shoot. Give her her own small bag where she look after some of your accessories. Make him your special photo assistant where they get to tell you the fabulous photo opportunities you must capture. Let her push the shutter button on your big camera. Even these small gestures can make your kids feel important and can keep the mood light-hearted and fun for all.

Treats

I am not above bribery to get through a photo walk free of whining! It’s always good to know what kinds of treats are available in the area you are walking. Is there a special ice cream shop? Does your kid collect something that they might be able to find on the walk?

Check the area in which you’re walking for restaurants, shops, and other attractions so you can know what’s around. If it’s somewhere special that others might be interested in seeing, let your leader know! It might just be the perfect little refreshment stop that everyone needs mid-walk.

Don’t want to have to spend money or stop during your Clickin Walk? Pack some treats in your camera bag! Water, granola bars, fruit, or small toys can make all the different between a happy two hours and a total meltdown after 20 minutes. And let’s be honest, after all the hard work they’ve done being your helper, your kids deserve a little something!

See if other children are going

Your Clickin Walk page will specify whether or not the walk in your city is child-friendly. If it is and you’re bringing them along, it can be easier to keep the kids amused when there are other children there. Check with your walk leaders to see if they know of anyone else bringing the kids along. Not only can the kids make friends and keep each other entertained, but you can also tag team with another mum to keep an eye on the kids while the other focuses on taking photos.

Remember the practical stuff

We mums are experts at preparing for anything. Be sure not to forget sunscreen, hats, comfort items, and all the other things you normally carry to make it through an outing with the kids. Bring the stroller if your child doesn’t like to walk too far. A sling or baby carrier can be your saving grace if you’re going to be in a busy area (and it’ll be easier for you to photograph with your hands free!).

And remember, many of the other walkers will be Mums too. If your kid has a meltdown or you need to pop to the bathroom ask one of the other walkers for a hand. They’ll grab your camera while you pick your kid up from the street, hold your bag while you do a potty run, or magically supply tissues for that runny nose. We’re all in this together and community is one of the reasons why joining a walk is so worthwhile in the first place.

Finally, if you’re walking without kids I urge you: PLEASE take a photo or two of the mum with her children and email them to her after the walk has finished. We mamas really don’t turn the cameras on ourselves as much as we should. The walk will have been worthwhile for her to have those photos alone.

Whether you’re taking children on the walk or not, head over and sign-up for your local Clickin Walk today. Get out, enjoy, make friends, and we can’t wait to see your photos!

Want more tutorials like this one?!

With thousands of exclusive educational articles and a community of experienced photographers to answer all of your questions, Clickin Moms is the BEST place to learn and grow in your photography journey.

About the Author:

Kirsty Larmour is a Clickin Moms member and British travel and lifestyle photographer based between India and the United Arab Emirates. She is the author of the Click Photo School Break Out “Photography on the Fly” and this year she’ll be co-leading the Dubai Clickin Walk.

One Comment

  1. Christopher Hall Sep 11 2018 at 1:18 am - Reply

    The idea of giving kids a camera is great. I regularly use this trick on my sessions and it certainly keeps them interested. I also like to see the photos they take.

    On sessions I also include a gallery for the parents or what their child took. They dont usually purchase photos of me but they do enjoy looking.

Leave A Comment

Follow this blog