I Gave My 3-Year-Old Daughter a DSLR, and Here’s What Happened
My 3-year-old daughter is at that phase in which she wants to do everything that daddy does. Apparently photography is not immune to this phase and seeing this as a potentially huge win (it’s not easy to coax her into driving 6 hours to go shoot some waterfall) I dug out my old Canon 40D DSLR and a 50mm prime lens that I had lying around and let the experiment begin!
I started her out on AV at f/2.0 with 400 ISO thinking this would cover both indoor and outdoor shooting. Yes, I realize that effectively accomplished the same point-and-shoot functionality of the “green” button, but it just seemed a stretch too far to actually use it; a man must have principles, d**nit.
And so then with all the technical details sorted I told her “just put [the subject] in the middle square and press click!”
Believe it or not, she was fine with the technicals and real struggle was actually to lift the camera up to her face (DSLRs are heavier than you think and she’s 3, so I am sure it weighed a ton for her) but she got the hang of it pretty quickly and we were off to the races!
These photos are presented in order-shot over the course of a couple days and are largely unedited — I delete duplicates and then gave a genetic Lightroom treatment of +vibrance +highlights -shadows +whites.
Here are the 67 pictures she took:
Here’s what I learned:
1) She shoots what she loves. Lots of pictures of her mom, dad and toys… and even three of that white Amazon Echo (if you knew how tight she was with Alexa, it would be no surprise the device made three appearances).
2) She shoots without asking and shoots as-is; she doesn’t setup the shot — she just shoots and a few of her shots are legitimately emotive and interesting.
3) She had an absolute blast. This experiment reminded me that photography can be fun even without Instagram and VSCO likes.
About the author: Jason Porter is a photography enthusiast and Amazon software engineer based in Seattle, Washington. He has been shooting since he was 9 years old, and his first camera was a film Canon Rebel SLR. Porter shoots landscapes and portraits. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and Facebook. This article was also published here.