Crafty Kids: Picture Perfect

Special family occasions are a great time to get snapping, capturing all those marvellous family moments on camera, to look back on and enjoy all over again and again. But how do you make sure that your images are worthy of putting on display and not destined for the delete bin? Henry Carroll reveals some important nifty know-hows and tricks of the trade to help you become a ‘Super Awesome Photographer’.

Be Sneaky

Portrait photographers use all kinds of sneaky tricks to distract the people they’re snapping and there are way cooler ways to do this than simply asking someone to say cheese, because you can tell a lot about a person from how they react instinctively to something. Give it a go yourself by photographing people while they’re distracted.

Top Tip
You could ask people to hold their breath, jump in the air or eat a lime – whatever it takes to make them forget that they are being photographed.

See Things Differently

Most people just see things as they are. When they look at a vacuum cleaner, all they see is a vacuum cleaner. And to them, a pancake is just a pancake. But you know what I see when I look at a vacuum cleaner? A twisting python! And every time I cook pancakes, I see planets!

Top Tip
Look for things that appear like something else. For example, you could make the alphabet by photographing things that look like letters
(a steering wheel could look like the letter O…), or you could create your own zoo
by photographing things that look like animals (maybe a spilt drink looks like a giraffe…)

Become Invisible

When I took the photo on this page, I was invisible. You can tell because no one is looking at me. So how do you become invisible? Easy. First, find a crowded scene where people are busy doing their own thing and aren’t paying you any attention. Then, make sure your flash is off, hold your camera by your waist and take pictures without looking through it. This way, no one sees you taking photos. Try this out next time you’re somewhere busy, like a main street or at a friend’s party.

Top Tip
This challenge is all about being stealth, so act natural – you’re just like any other kid minding their own business. I wonder how close you can get without being noticed…?

Play Detective

It’s amazing what you can tell about someone by the “evidence” they leave behind. Make portraits of your own family members by photographing the things they leave around.

Top Tip
Think about how tidy or untidy someone is, or notice how they fold a book or what they place on the table as soon as they get home. Habits like these are what make someone individual.

Play Tricks

Two young girls, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths fooled everyone – even the world’s brainiest boffins – a hundred years ago with a photo of fairies at the bottom of their garden. Of course, it wasn’t really magic, but this is what they did… First, they cut out pictures of fairies. Then, they went down to the end of the garden, arranged the cut-outs so the fairies looked like they were having a party and photographed them. Because everyone trusted photos so much back then, they believed that the pictures proved the existence of fairies. Try faking your own photos to see if you can trick the world too.

Top Tip
Everyone now knows that fairies don’t exist, but what about aliens, ghosts or giants? Use cut-outs and costumes and even think about blurring the picture a little to make it look like you took it on the run. If your photos are convincing enough, you might make front-page news!

#BeSuperAwesome Use this hashtag to share your own SUPER-AWESOME photos, and to see everyone else’s NB just make sure you have permission first from your parents and the person in the picture.


Be a Super Awesome Photographer by Henry Carroll is a handy guide book for budding photographers aged 7-11 taking a look at the work of photography geniuses from Carroll himself, to Elliott Erwitt, Emily Stein and many more. Published by Laurence King, HB, £9.99.

Henry Carroll studied photography at the Royal College of Art and his work has been exhibited worldwide. Main Image credit –  Henry Carroll, Coney Island (2013)

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