Nature photo walk for kids

In the times of COVID-19, getting your kids outside and connecting with nature is more important than ever. UVic photographer Greg Miller has made it a part of his routine.

Greg takes a regular early morning photo walk with his kids on the small island they call home. His goal is to break up the COVID monotony for his two kids, Cade, 6, and Veda, 3.

While Veda is too young to understand much of the technical side of photography, Cade has become a devoted shutterbug. What started as a photography lesson at least twice a week has quickly turned into four-five times a week as his interest grew.

Cade started with a kid’s camera, but soon moved onto something more advanced. After a month using a camera with a fixed lens, he graduated to a DSLR with a zoom so he could have the option to get closer to things.

But you don’t need a professional camera to get your kids involved in photography. Consider the long-forgotten and always fun Polaroid Instax film camera or, of course, a cell phone.

Before leaving the house, Greg and his kids discuss what they want to capture. He throws out some options like a backlit photo, a close up, or landscapes. Together they settle on three options. With their assignment in mind, off they go.

Greg says his goal is to never touch the kids’ cameras and to let them lead the adventure.

The camera is set to shutter priority as a semi-auto measure. It helps with a good exposure while having a fast enough shutter speed to aid with any camera shake.

Learning about the key elements of composition, colour, line, light and shadow with an assignment in mind is a great way to help kids create pictures. In just a few photos, a definite style can emerge.

Asking questions is central to the photo walks. Greg asks Cade why he chose a particular shot. A child’s perspective (and height) can help them see things that an adult might pass by.

On this day, Cade chose a close up, landscape and a backlit image.

Close up

The red stood out to him as he walked by. He noticed that most of the image is green and has a branch through it. But the best part is the red object—everything surrounding it is secondary. Your eye is immediately drawn to the red.


The idea with this image was to put the trail to the left of the frame. Cade focused on the trail and moved his camera and body slightly to the right. This allowed him to put the trail to left, opening up the right side to more trees. He learned how to stand in one spot and make different compositions by staying straight and moving left or up and down.


As they looked for the right shot, they talked about how branches or leaves appear separated from the background when the sun shines through them. Shooting back towards the sun can create darker shadows on tree trunks. It helps make the backlit object standout or pop.

Showing off and sharing the photos is a key part of this project’s success. Greg and Cade share their photos with friends and family in a private Instagram account. The kids love getting feedback, comments and emojis!  You could also print a small handmade album or create a slideshow and send it to a grandparent.

There are many other photo-based projects to try out during COVID:

  • self-portraits
  • double exposures
  • multiple exposures
  • stop motion animation
  • make a cool time lapse of a Lego build

As you get further along with your kids, the ideas start flowing. You could very well plant the seed of a lifelong passion for photography.


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4 Responses

  1. Rick Schnurr says:

    Super impressive creative project for dad and kids. Good on you Greg & Cade. Love looking for your photos

  2. Steve & Michelin says:

    Love it! Wonderful creative initiative, Neighbour.

  3. Barry abd Patti says:

    Nice job!
    What a great education Cade is getting. Embracing creativity is a surest way to make learning fun.

  4. Ming says:

    Very nice!

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