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Monday 16 June 2014

Rachel Devine + Tamron = littleSIDEKLICK. Reader giveaway!

Recently, I had the good fortune to experience a masterclass on how to take the perfect pic. It's something I am always interested in - I have a been camera-happy for as long as I can remember (we're talking multiple rolls of those camera rolls taken to the local photo lab - all the time). I brought along my own camera to the class, and the supremely talented photographer children's and lifestyle Rachel Devine was on hand to impart tips on photo how-tos.

Rachel is an established photographer for her companies Rachel Devine and Sesame Ellis, and is an ambassador for Tamron.

With Tamron, Rachel has established a very cool concept called Little Sideklick, which is a photography project to get parents shooting with their kids instead of just taking pictures of their kids. See the Facebook page here.

Rachel is renowned on Flickr - see her page herewhere her photos have garnered more than ten million views. Rachel's images have appeared in publications such including People, Parenting, Popular Photography, and the book Photojojo. Her clients have included General Mills, Fox Studios, phil&teds and Target. The American-born photog lives in Melbourne with her husband and two young kids.

Rachel has had the publications Beyond Snapshots and an ebook Click! How to take gorgeous photos of your kids published, and with the blogger agency Nuffnang, Rachel has partnered with some of Australia's largest PR and digital agencies via a new pilot development program with 12 leading bloggers, including Rachel, aligning them with several large PR campaigns for some of Australia's biggest brands. Rachel and the other bloggers will undertake a series of master classes and discussion panels, and may also sit on discussion panels with some of the world's most popular international bloggers, sharing knowledge and applying skillsets to Australian blogs. This is the masterclass I was lucky enough to experience.

I asked Rachel some questions on getting that elusive perfect snap. Turns out, it really is not so elusive at all. Here's what she told Josie's Juice about the art of it all (read on below for a very cool, generous giveaway from Rachel and Tamron!):

What is the single best tip you can offer to first time parents wanting to capture the precious moments of their baby’s first year of life with a camera? 

Make it a habit to carry your camera with you all the time and when you are at home, have the camera out where you can easily grab it. Whether the camera you use is the one in your phone or a fancy DSLR, make sure you know how to use it well and have it handy. If your camera is too hard or a trouble to get to, you will never use it. Babies change so quickly that you will never regret taking too many photos of their first year! If you need a bit of direction or are looking for a project that really journals that time in their lives, try taking a photo of your baby with a special toy once a month. Your child’s growth will really stand out in these pictures alongside that prop.

What is the best tip to impart to your kids on how to navigate a camera they’ve just been given (maybe give separate tips on using a camera for kids of varying ages)

I feel it is very important to teach kid how to hold their camera! I am sure that seems simple and obvious, but often it is the things we take for granted that we need to ensure they learn! With little ones, if they are using an iPod, camera phone or point and shoot with an internal lens (like the waterproof kid tough cameras) make sure they know where to put their fingers. Many great shots have been ruined and little photographers disappointed with adorable chubby fingers covering half of their image. Another great tip for the little kids is teaching them how to hold the camera still. Turn the shutter sound on and make sure they know not to move the camera until the sound has finished and the preview image has come up on the screen. Kids get really excited and often times with do a happy dance after pressing the shutter button resulting in a very blurry shot as the picture is captured. As the kids get older, make sure they have a proper camera strap that fits them well and that they always use it so that the risk of dropping their gear is reduced! 

As the photographers get older, they can start to learn all the features of their cameras. Starting on auto and just focusing on composition and subject matter is the perfect way to start. When they are confident with those, show them how to change the settings. My program, littleSIDEKLICK, is a fantastic way to learn how to teach them!

One other tip for all ages (and another that seems obvious, but is often overlooked) is to keep the battery charged. I have a charging station set up in my office with all the many cords and batteries labeled and organised. There have been quite a few times where one of the kids gets excited to take pictures out of the blue and their camera battery is flat. By the time we charged it up, their interest had waned!  

Being prepared and making it easy for kids to just take pictures is a wonderful way to foster their love of this medium.

What do you make of modern technology (Instagram, iPhone cameras) and how kids AND adults can best utilise them?

This is such a huge issue for me. We are a very tech friendly family and feel like these things are not going away and to be safe online, we all have to stay familiar with things and up to date. From toddlerhood our kids have had cameras. Currently our oldest daughter has her own laptop (a hand-me-down from me when I upgraded), her own cameras (also hand-me-downs from me) and an iPad (which she saved for over a year to buy for herself). While she has her own Instagram account and YouTube channel, I control the passwords to those as well as her Apple ID. It is not that we do not trust her, but that with the control of the password, we can keep an eye on what she has access to. On YouTube (she loves posting her stop motion videos that she makes of her American Girl dolls) we have the strictest safety settings so that her search is safe and no dubious “suggested” videos pop up when she looks for something. I have turned all comments off as I do not wish to invite trolls into her little world. Gemma also has a blog and comments there are set to be moderated by me before they are published. On her blog, every single comment has been kind and encouraging so far, but you just never know.

The rules of Instagram are that you need to be at least 13 years old to have an account. We respect that, so I am technically the owner of each of their accounts while the content posted is their own imagery. The twins at five need some extra help filtering what they post, so I log them in and out when they wish to put something on their Instagram accounts. Lately they have not asked, they have just been taking pictures and videos. Gemma at nine is very responsible and if she ever has a concern, she asks me first. Because of that, she is allowed to have Instagram logged in on her iPad. We decided to keep their accounts “public” as we decided that as parents we would teach them to never post anything online that they would not share in public. They know not to share anything that identifies their schools, their home address or other personal details in their imagery. They also know that they are not allowed to post photographs of anyone else without their permission. Instead of protecting them by putting up virtual walls, we believe they are “safer” by learning good online behaviour and habits from the start.

I have never been afraid of the Internet. Knowing best practice from childhood will hopefully lead to responsible decisions of what they share in the teenage years.

Photography is such a beautiful way for children to express themselves before they have the vocabulary to tell their stories. I think that encouraging this and sharing their work with others is a decision that must be made by each individual family, but doing so publicly works for us!

To win one of TEN copies of the littleSIDEKLICK book by Rachel and Tamron, here is all you need to do:

- Share this link on your Facebook wall
- Comment below on why you'd like to win a copy of this book
- Email me at josiegags@optusnet.com.au with your address so we know where to send the book to, in case you are a winner (entries are invalid without this as it's often hard to track winners down!)
(Competition open to Australian residents only and is open for one month)

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