Photography for Kids

By Meghan White

As the library's staff photographer, I know that photography is super fun and possible for kids to do. Plus, now that we have camera phones, anyone can take pictures easily and just about anywhere. Want to get started? With these books, you’ll learn about the history of photography, important photographers, tips and tricks, and even get to try your hand at experiments and simple projects and prompts. You’re going to have a blast–I can just picture it!

  • Camera

    2021 by Driscoll, Laura

    Packed with great illustrations of historical figures and cameras–the likes of which many kids have probably never seen before–this story about the origins of the camera is fun, easy to follow, and makes me just as excited to use one as ever! Grades K-3

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  • It's a Snap! George Eastman's First Photograph

    2009 by Kulling, Monica

    How easy is it to take pictures today? All you need is a phone! Well, back in the day we had to use something called film. And we used rolls and rolls of it. This charming picture book biography of George Eastman, the founder of Kodak and inventor of film as we know it, goes into all the hard work it used to take to make a picture–and what George did to revolutionize photography. Grades 1-4

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  • Black and White Photographs to Instagram

    2020 by Colby, Jennifer

    This simple timeline-type exploration of the history of photography and its development over the years is an easy-to-read introduction for younger kids interested in learning more about cameras. Grades K-3

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  • The 12 Most Influential Photographs of All Time

    2018 by Ventura, Marne

    This history of photography’s impact on the world is told in 12 pictures, including Dorothea Lange’s Depression Era photograph "Migrant Mother," William Anders’s "Earthrise," shot from the Moon, and even the famous 1934 grainy black and white photo supposedly showing the Loch Ness Monster. Grades 4-7

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  • The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs

    2019 by Robinson, Fiona

    Anna Atkins was one of the first women to take a photograph. A botanist in a world where women were often not welcome, Anna persevered to produce a beautiful catalog of seaweed cyanotypes, a sort of photograph that uses paper, chemicals, and the sunlight to make an impression of something, like a plant. It was the first book of photography ever published. Wondrous and light, The Bluest of Blues pulls you into Anna’s world with its whimsical blue-tinted illustrations and compelling story of curiosity and determination. I want to make my own cyanotypes now, and the book conveniently has instructions! Grades 2-5

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  • Snowflake Bentley

    1998 by Martin, Jacqueline Briggs

    This poetic story supplemented with historical side notes tells the tale of the first person to photograph snowflakes and their beautiful, intricate structures. Snowflake Bentley makes you wonder about all the different things in the world you can collect photographs of. Grades K-3

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  • Jacob Riis's Camera: Bringing Light to Tenement Children

    2020 by O'Neill, Alexis

    Beautiful illustrations pair with the story of Jacob Riis, one of the first real social justice photographers in America, whose work photographing tenements and their inhabitants catalyzed the movement to abolish slum living in New York City and bring about viable housing and public spaces. Grades 3-5

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  • Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

    2015 by Weatherford, Carole Boston

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So that must mean pictures can tell a story, right? Gordon Parks, Life Magazine’s first Black staff photographer, used his pictures to tell the story of segregation and poverty in America in the early and mid-20th century. Along with the story of Jacob Riis, this is another easy introduction for kids about how pictures can influence the fight for social change. Grades 1-3

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  • Super Simple Camera Projects: Inspiring & Educational Science Activities

    2016 by Kuskowski, Alex

    Ready to get hands-on with some easy experiments about photography? Learn how light bends and reflects, how to make heliographs (sun drawings) of plants, how to make a pinhole camera, and more. Helpful how-to pictures guide you through these simple science projects. Grades K-4

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  • Be a Super Awesome Photographer

    2019 by Carroll, Henry

    Be a Super Awesome Photographer kicks off with a pretty bold claim: “This book is the only thing standing between you and photography greatness.” But it’s true! With 20 tips that serve as challenges for you and your camera (packed with example photos), this fun book is bursting with positive language encouraging you to become the best photographer you can be. I’d love to do these challenges myself! Grades 2-6

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  • The Camera Book: Loads of Things You Can Do with a Camera

    2015 by Davis, John

    This lovely book has 70 fun and easy projects for making, taking, and using pictures, ranging from photographing a family portrait to making a flipbook to trick photography that makes it look like a toy dinosaur is chasing your friends! Grades 3-6

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  • Outdoor Photography

    2019 by Hamilton, John

    Well suited for an advanced beginner, Outdoor Photography covers the basics of making great pictures outside, from landscapes to wildlife and even to fireworks! Some prior camera knowledge can be helpful with the terminology used, but there is a glossary in the back for easy reference. Also available on Hoopla. Grades 3+

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  • Photojournalism

    2019 by Hamilton, John

    Part of the same series as Outdoor Photography, Photojournalism is a simple introduction to what work as a photojournalist may look like, and the most important things a photojournalist needs to succeed, like knowing how to tell a good story. Reviewing the basics of equipment, proper exposure, and “the decisive moment,” this guide goes on to give starting points for different types of newsworthy events, from sports, to travel, concert, spot news, and more. Content precaution: while there are no graphic images, some photos of spot news included here may be upsetting to readers. Grades 3+

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  • Guide to Photography

    2015 by Honovich, Nancy

    For our most devoted (and older) photo friends, National Geographic Kids’ Guide to Photography is a comprehensive manual to getting started–and progressing–in many types of photography. I love that this book includes periodic assignments from National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths, like “Find a Scene and Wait” (so important for teaching the golden rule of patience in photography) and “Balancing Twilight With Ambient Light.” With guides to equipment, storing your photos, lighting, night photography, and more, this volume will become essential to your photography journey. Grades 7+

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