Many children are fascinated by cameras from a very young age. With digital technology making photos instantly available for viewing, simple point-and-shoot cameras have become powerful tools for children to express themselves.
'By learning photography, children are opening themselves up to a number of opportunities; to develop a personal interest, take the time to be creative and expressive, and have the chance to develop a talent or simply becoming good at something,' says Annie Renwick, photographer and teacher at Paper Kite Photography (www.paper-kite.com).
'I see children growing in confidence. This may be through sharing opinions, having the courage to speak up in a group or acknowledging that they are producing good photographs,' she says.
Renwick runs workshops that focus on the art of photography. They are suitable for children aged five to 14 years and are pitched at different levels.
Petit Pix (children aged five to seven) teaches in a fun way the basic principles of photography, such as framing, focusing, perspective, seeing the light and making subject choices.
It comprises 10, one-hour workshops and costs HK$1,600.
Creative Camera Club (children aged eight to 14) focuses on the compositional aspects of photography, such as viewpoint and angle, colour and setting up still-life subjects.
Comprising 10, 90-minute workshops, it costs HK$2,000. Fees for both courses include tuition, all materials and a certificate.
All workshops take place in Discovery Bay and children are required to take their own point-and-shoot camera. Maximum class size is six.
'Photography gives children the ability to experiment with their imagination. They can be creative and capture their worlds, their reality, express their views and share them,' explains Kristin Winstanley, marketing manager of Random Art Workshops (www.randomartworkshop.com), which runs a parent-child course for children aged eight to 12 called Understanding Perspectives.
The course focuses on the basic skills for operating a camera, exposes children to examples of high quality photographs from respected photographers and teaches them how to create their own photo collage.
The course consists of two, two-hour workshops and costs HK$1,100. Participants must have their own camera.
'Children have an enthusiasm for expressing themselves visually and it is a delight to hear a child's vision and watch it come to life during the workshops,' Winstanley says.