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TT Tech Tips: Taking a Photo


The camera app on the iPad is the most powerful digital tool your students will ever use 💪🏻  As we all know, a picture can tell a thousand words and this is even more important when it comes to our youngest learners.


However, any early years teacher can easily recall what an iPad camera roll usually looks like after being in the hands of our youngest learners 🙈  Firstly, there are likely to be thousands of pictures captured in just minutes (how do they even do that?! 🤯). The main subject of these photos will probably be poorly framed selfies, the dirty carpet, the teacher’s backside as they bend over to speak with another student, and a whole blurry gallery of absolutely nothing in particular. This is why it is super important to explicitly teach the skill of how to take a photo with an iPad!


Once they master that, an incredible world of learning and exploring opens with just the camera app alone!  Read on for my top tips for teaching students to take photos with an iPad.




When holding iPads using two hands, younger students seem to naturally hold their elbows out like wings 🐥  Unless they have incredible control (and let’s face it – what 4-6 year old does? 😆), this stance is a camera roll of blurry photos just waiting to happen. I like to tell students to keep their “wings in” when taking a photo – which basically means their elbows are glued to their sides. It’s the first thing I say to students when they hold the iPad up to frame a photo, and you will be amazed at the difference in quality once those wings are firmly in!




Our students are digital natives and if you ask them to zoom in when taking a photo, chances are they will know exactly how to do that using the zoom feature on the camera. The problem with this is that they will likely stand 5m away and use the full zoom capability on the camera, resulting in a very blurry photo! I like to teach my students to zoom with their feet by walking right up to the item they want to photograph, and even bending down if it is on the ground.


Once you are happy with how close you are, tell students to plant their feet firmly on the ground. If students are sitting, I would suggest they kneel as it allows them space for their elbows to be tucked in. Along with the wings in, this is the perfect solid structure for a good clear photo 🙌🏻




I know this seems obvious, but with iPads being something used day in and day out in most of our students’ homes, they are likely used to holding iPads whilst they do many different tasks. To take a photo though, they really need a firm and focused grasp. In addition to this, sometimes even the act of breathing in and out can make the iPad move around! If photos are still coming out blurry, you could suggest taking a big breath before taking the shot.




This is a super important tip if you don’t want to end up with a camera roll that shows a thousand similar photos! Our youngest students seem to want to press the shutter button again and again before finishing the task, or hold their finger down to take a burst of photos. One press is all they need!


It is also easiest to take photos in the landscape orientation as it will allow the shutter button to move over to the side of the screen for small hands to easily access it.




This tip may come later on (as we don’t want students deleting photos that aren’t their own!) however it is a great skill to teach! It is always important after taking a photo to review it, make sure it is suitable, and then delete it if it isn’t. I know I am guilty of this too! Over half the photos on my own phone camera roll could be deleted 🙈 This way we aren’t wasting valuable storage space on the iPad, and our students are learning about what to look for when deciding if a photo is or isn’t acceptable to use.



These tips might seem obvious, but it’s important to not take for granted that students can use the camera on a device properly. However, once the skill is mastered, a whole new world of learning opportunities with the iPad in the classroom opens up 🌈

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