Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better! Whether indoors or outdoors, this is a great kids activity!Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

I love macro photography — taking super close-ups of things. But whether it is close up or at a wide angle, taking pictures of everyday items around us can be lots of fun, and maybe even artistic! And we found a cheap gadget to make it even better!

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We all take lots of photos, especially now with our cell phones and iPads. We take selfies, pics of our meals, family holiday photos, pet photos, and vacation photos. But there are so many more interesting things and ways to photograph right under our noses!

As soon as my daughter was old enough to hold one, we bought her a camera. It was one designed for toddlers. She loved it, but it didn’t last. Nor did the next kid camera we bought. It may be drop-proof, but something else seems to go wrong pretty quickly with the electronics with these things. So sad, because we lost a lot of photographs before we could copy them off. And neither model used a camera card we can just remove (bad designs).

So I took a deep breath and decided to let her use the iPad (with a rugged case) when she was maybe 5 years old. She walked around the whole house taking pictures. Not all were great compositions, but it was fun to see things from her perspective and what she thought was interesting. 

I then showed her how to zoom in and we started looking at things close up. She loved zooming in on fabrics, dolls, and food. All look more interesting close up! 

Here are some of her cool close-ups. I won’t bore you with the close-ups of her dolls, my nose, or the ceiling shots. (But keep reading to see a way to get even better close-ups!)

Objects around us

What are all of those? Top left is an ornament REALLY close up, top right is the glass top of our patio table, then an ornament not quite so close, a basket, the rug, a glitter foam craft sheet, and a sparkly plastic tumbler (I think).

When she went outside we got pictures of every flower, every bush, every weed, every bug, from all angles. This was a great learning experience because  we could go through the pictures and identify the plants and bugs, or at least try! Nature walks became a whole new adventure!

Nature walk photos - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

My daughter loved her nature photos so much she decided to print them out and start a nature photo album!

 

Tired of seeing the same shots of that same tree? Did you know you can get some really cool effects without any special tools or software? Just by moving the camera quickly as you are taking the photo you can get really interesting shots. Here are some pictures of trees while moving the camera vertically or horizontally.

Trees blurred - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

Here’s another really cool shot rotating the camera as it was pointed at the ground. (This shot makes me dizzy!)

Ground spinning - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

Some tips: Start moving the camera before you hit the shutter button and keep it moving as steadily as you can. Most of the shots will not come out great, but then you’ll get that one that is a masterpiece!

Word of warning. Kids (and adults) will take LOTS of photos. I mean BOAT LOADS. Make sure to weed them out frequently. You can attempt to do this with them so they can pick and choose which they think are worth keeping, but they might want to keep them all…

 

Zooming in REALLY close (using macro mode on a digital camera, if you have one) is another way to view the same subjects from a different perspective. We love using the zoom on the camera as you can see from several of the photos above, but we wanted to get even closer to our subjects and see even more detail. We got a microscope, but that is really limited to tiny specimens and not easy to capture with a camera (we tried). So I looked around, read some reviews, and found this awesome product: a clip-on lens kit from MPOW. Super cheap (<$20 on Amazon), so I thought it was worth a shot. I have to say, it knocked our socks off!

Clip-on Lens Kit

This kit (MPOW MLens V1) comes with three clip-on lenses. They are like clothespins, designed to clip over the camera lens of a phone. The clips have pictures on them (although a bit hard to see in some lighting) to identify them instead of just using the cryptic specs on the lenses. They come with snap on lens caps and store in a nice plastic case where they snap in securely. It also comes with a lens cleaning cloth. There are three lenses: a macro lens, a wide angle lens, and a fisheye lens. I bought the kit for the macro lens, but all three have been fun.

Clipping on the lens - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found this cheap gadget to make this even better!

 

Goofy photo using fisheye lensThe fisheye lens gives your a 180-degree view of your scene. On close-ups, it can be pretty distorted, which is fun. My daughter likes this for funny people pics. I got her back and got one of her!

 

A better use is to capture a larger scene when in a tight space. Here’s my daughter at her desk playing Roblox, I think.

Fisheye lens of Em at desk

Or use it on a landscape to get a wider view of your surroundings. Here’s a photo with (right) and without (left) the fisheye lens. Same camera position.

Tulips using fisheye lens comparison

 

Wide angle lens comparisonThe wide-angle lens is similar to the fisheye, but with less distortion. It gives you 0.36x wide angle (for those of you who know lens lingo). This lens is great when you want to capture a wider scene but just can’t back up far enough. Perfect for group photos, sports scenes, or landscapes. It can also be used on the selfie camera to widen the shots you take of yourself and friends, or to include more of the background surroundings.

For comparison, here is a shot from my front yard looking across the street, without and then with the wide angle lens. Same exact shot from same exact position.You can see how much more of the scene you can get! But with much less distortion than the fisheye lens.

 

 

Finally, our favorite, the macro lens. It gives you 20x magnification. It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. This lens has a clear rim because it is designed to rest ON the item you want to magnify, and this rim allows light to get in. Very minor movements of the camera, tilting ever so slightly will focus on different parts of your subject (like a flower or fabric). And then use the zoom on your phone or device to get even closer! Absolutely amazing!
Using the macro lens

This lens is a great teaching tool. Do close ups of different plants, different fabrics, different foods, your skin, wood, paper,… whatever!

Here’s a dandelion taken with the normal lens, zoom on the camera, and then using the macro lens.

Dandelions with macro lens

Here are some really fun close-ups. Can you guess what they all are?

Foods using the macro lens - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

Answer: The top photo is table salt mixed with some Kosher salt (see the difference?), the bottom is romaine lettuce, the left is a blade of grass (I bet you thought celery, right?), the middle is an orange rind,and the right is a slice of bread. All photos taken with my iPhone with the macro lens.

Here are some items from the bathroom. A toothbrush and a Q-tip. Below that is a picture of a washcloth taken at different levels of zoom (with and without the macro lens).Bathroom items closeup - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

Washcloth at different zooms

How about some fabrics? The top two are my jeans, bottom two are my daughter’s lacy silver metallic stretch head band, the left is the lens cleaning cloth that comes with the lenses, the middle is a dish towel, and the right is some gold lame (that’s La-MAY) fabric I used for a doll’s gown.

Textiles super close-ups - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

No, I’m not in any way affiliated with this company. I just took a chance on this purchase based on some reviews I’d seen… and the price. Definitely worth every penny!

Here’s another fun one! A quarter!

Quarter zoomed - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

And because these are just clipping on to your device externally, they can be used with any settings on your camera. So you can zoom in and out as normal, adjust lighting, etc. or even do video with these on!

These clip-on lensesUsing on other cameras are designed mainly for phones, but really it can fit any device (e.g., tablet, laptop) where the lens is within about an inch of the edge of the device (manufacturer says 1.2″ to be exact), and not too thick (manufacturer doesn’t specify, but I think if it is over about 0.5″ it will overextend the clip and want to slip off). It
can be used on the front or rear-facing camera. In this photo, I’ve attached the fisheye lens to my Kindle, and in the inset photo, it is on the selfie camera of my phone. 

 

They recommend you remove your phone’s case to use these. My case is very slimline so I found I was able to use it with the case on. 

Clip with phone case

However I do notice that unless I get the lens perfectly positioned, I get some shadow around the corners. This doesn’t happen when I don’t have the case on (because the clip-on lens sits directly on the built-in lens). Below you can see I didn’t have the fisheye lens perfectly centered over the phone’s lens. But it still is a cool shot! Almost makes it look like a glass paperweight…or a planet.

Tree with fisheye lens - Photography with Kids - Exploring your surroundings from a whole new perspective. We especially love macro photography (super close-ups). And we found a cheap gadget to make this even better!

I got these lenses to just have some fun around the house, but they are really great to travel with. The wide-angle and fisheye lenses are really great for scenes of nature, at the amusement park, or in the city. 

But it doesn’t really matter where you are or what camera or lenses you have. Just start taking photos and have some fun!

 

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