Perhaps one the things that limits young photographers is learning the basics through mundane practices. If only teachers or mentors would liven the lessons, using fun to cloak learning and structure, then maybe more children would be excited about photography. So to help today’s educators keep their students engaged (or awake), here are eight engaging photo assignments to give to young photographers.

1. Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt could provide opportunities for children to learn different styles as well as basic camera shots. Do not make the student shoot solely the item, but instead make them photograph something in a specific way.

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© Jacob Hong via Flickr Commons

2. Limited Memory Card

A lot like the scavenger hunt, a good way to teach a student the basics is to require them to shoot a specific item, but this time do it with limited camera space. Meaning, have the student realize the importance of a photo by limiting the amount they can take. Instead of just walking up and shooting an object, it will make most think harder about the preparation.

3. Story Time

This one is simple: have the student tell you a story with a photograph. This will teach them how to incorporate multiple details into a single photo.

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© Thomas Hawk via Flickr Commons

4. Collages of Specific Items

Give the student the opportunity to choose any specific item they want from multiple angles and the more creative the better. Once there are a huge variety of photos build a collage with the student.

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© Gary Alexander via Flickr Commons

5. ABC’s

This one can be done in two ways: for the younger kids make them find things that start with a specific letter. Obviously, by the end they will have 26 photos devoted to each letter of the alphabet. However, for the older kids, this is an opportunity to see how creative they can be by making them shoot items that look like a letter. Yes, the latter is a lot harder to do, but for middle school children this could be a fun, challenging experiment.


6. Experiments with light

Again, this is certainly for the older students, but once they start shooting at an advanced level, it is important to teach them how to shoot with lighting. Between ambient or artificial, it is important to get them to set aside time and experiment with what light can do.

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© Bridgette Wynn via Flickr Commons

7. Photograph Favorite Toy

This one’s for the real beginners such as children from ages four to seven. Having them shoot their favorite toy will provide basic lessons that are essential for future photographers such as points of interest, the rule of thirds and focal points.

8. 365 Day Project

Since “selfies” are so prevalent, why not use this as part of the curriculum. Make any student document their feelings for 365 days with each day expressing how they feel. This teaches them that even the most simple camera shot can contain various details and emotional layers.


Special thanks to Click It up a Notch and Digital Photography School for some of their suggestions. If you have any other ideas, post them in the comments section below!