• Amy Chacon

Teaching Youth Photography and Videography: Tips for offering Workshops

Video producers Art Ruiloba and Tomilee Turner offered the online workshop “Lights, Camera, Action! Better Videos with Digital Devices” during the 2021 4-H Conference. Here, we offer some of their recommendations on how other agents and specialists can do the same kind of presentation either as a weekend training, a 4-H meeting, a workshop or a Zoom session. Read more tips below about how to:

  • Plan and Prepare

  • Set Goals to Track Progress

  • Incorporate a Hands-On Project

  • Provide a Space for 4-Hers to Share Their Own Photos and Videos


Since 4-Hers use their smartphones and tablets to record photos and videos related to their various club projects, the goal of the workshop was to present simple techniques and strategies for taking better, more impactful photos and videos. Art and Tomilee covered composition, lighting, and sound, along with showcasing the different types of equipment used to take videos and photos. By creating your own presentations, you can give your 4-Hers an opportunity to enjoy these skills and practice what they've learned.

Example of storyboarding. Image Credit: Shutterstock, CC By 2.0

Tip #1: Plan and Prepare


Check to make sure all participants have access to a camera, smartphone, or tablet. For workshops in person, agents can lend out devices for 4-Hers to use. For online workshops where each 4-Her is participating remotely, check to see if 4-Hers have access to a device such as a smartphone they can use from a family member if they are in the same location. It’s important to arrange access to all materials needed, especially if the lesson plan calls for taking pictures and videos. If devices are not available for everyone during in person or online sessions, contemplate modifying activities so they so not require a device.


In creating a lesson plan, consider how much time 4-Hers have available. Develop a time frame to spend on each activity and discussion. Provide enough time to allow questions from participants. Depending on time, consider splitting up the workshop into smaller lessons.

Choose topics that are age appropriate in order to teach just the right amount of information at the right educational level. As a 4-H agent, volunteer or leader, you know your 4-Hers best. Help the participants learn how to incorporate these new skills in a way that’s useful and fun for them. For example, kids who are involved in baking might like to make recipe videos. Kids who are involved in rocketry might create how-to-build-a-rocket videos. Keep it simple by concentrating on one or two key points per subject to avoid teaching too much in one session.


When selecting activities for 4-Hers, look at the potential for engagement. Activities can consist of hands-on work where 4-Hers have to create something, such as writing a script or drawing scenes. Having small and large group discussions with each activity can be engaging for participants as they communicate with their fellow 4-Hers their ideas and perspective about the topic being taught. While it is important for 4-Hers to listen to the information being taught, it helps if they have a variety of things to do during the workshop to avoid feeling bored and disengaged.


Technical issues may surface in either online or in-person sessions, such as trouble sharing large files or videos. If 4-Hers are to share videos or files of their own, it may be ideal to obtain a copy of the file or video from participants prior to the workshop. This can help if they are having difficulties sharing from their end. You can show the file or video for them.


Tip #2: Set Goals to Track Progress


When developing the workshop, reflect on what newly developed skills and knowledge your participants should take away from the workshop. Be specific. For example, what skills related to composition, lighting, and sound should participants know upon completing the workshop? Tracking their progress makes the workshop more effective.

Recognize the goals of the participants. What do they wish to achieve during the workshop? 4-Hers may have different reasons to want to learn about photography and videography and may utilize these skills differently in their daily lives. Examples include creating projects for 4-H or school, preparing for college or jobs, or simply learning a new hobby.


Setting goals for the workshop helps 4-Hers communicate effectively through their photos or videos. Teach 4-Hers how to identify their audience and message. This will assist them in becoming better, more mindful communicators.


Tip #3: Incorporate a Hands-On Project


Image Credit: Shutter Stock, CC BY 2.0

Hands-on learning allows participants to practice what they have learned during the session. To assist 4-Hers in absorbing new information, it is important they apply these new skills in photography and videography while being able to participate in a group learning session. Hands-on activities build confidence and encourage participants to keep practicing these skills after completing the workshop.




Build a short activity around any skill you want to reinforce. Examples of interactive projects include:

  • playing games with photos

  • drawing a scene or storyboard

  • having fun with selfies


Tip #4: Provide a Space to Share Photos and Videos


Reflection is an important part of learning, and having 4-Hers share their work with others can prompt that reflection. 4-Hers can gain insight and learn from each other’s perspective when sharing their work. Guide and encourage 4-Hers to ask questions and learn from each other. Suggest they ask each other questions such as:

  • “How did you get this idea for this picture or video?”

  • “What techniques did you use?”

  • “How long did it take you to get the shot?”

  • “What was the most challenging part in taking the shot?”

Asking questions empowers 4-Hers to help teach each other new techniques, develop an awareness of how others think, explore different styles in capturing photos and videos, and become problem solvers.


Consider previewing what 4-Hers wish to share prior to the show-and-tell to ensure the content is appropriate.


Title screen from the original photography session at the National 4-H Conference.

Conclusion

A workshop that takes the form of either a weekend training, a 4-H meeting, a workshop or a Zoom session, can be informative, engaging and interesting for 4-Hers wishing to learn more about photography and videography. When developing the workshop, begin by

  1. Planning, assessing equipment needs, and setting goals for the workshop.

  2. Create an interactive project for the workshop that can help 4-Hers retain the information.

  3. Allow 4-Hers to utilize their new skills, increasing the likelihood of practicing and advancing their skills long after the workshop has ended.

  4. Use resources as guides for picking topics to cover. Visit our website, https://aces.nmsu.edu/mediasupport/ to explore our tutorial videos to assist you with information and ideas. For additional guidance on the fundamentals of videography and photography, please contact Tomilee Turner, toturner@nmsu.edu.




Written By: Amy R. Chacon, Student Aide, amycha@nmsu.edu