Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Cardboard to make viewfinders (alternatively, use cameras)
Preparation for Activity
- Cut the cardboard into pairs of 7 x 3 1/2-inch Ls to use as viewfinders. The perpendicular arms of each L should be approximately 2 inches wide. Cut a pair for each expected participant, plus extras.
Description of Activity
Distribute viewfinders to participants. To use them, have participants arrange their Ls so they create a rectangular opening in the center, like a window. Invite participants to practice using the viewfinders to frame a photograph. Demonstrate the possibility of changing the size of the opening in order to reduce or expand the image area of the photograph.
Cardboard viewfinders are more freeing than cameras. You may start the group by looking through the viewfinders at the same subject together, perhaps a fellow participant. Ask a volunteer to stay in one place while others walk around, looking through the viewfinders and experimenting with different viewing angles. Alternatively, you may invite participants to experiment with various subjects and viewing angles on their own.
Gather the group together and engage them briefly in discussion. Invite them to reflect on different viewing angles and the effects. Ask participants to be aware of how the scene within the frame differs with each perspective. Encourage participants to think about framing, balance, lines, shapes, and light and shadow areas. Invite discussion of these differences, including what they find most appealing. Ask what works and what does not work.
Allow participants more time to experiment freely. Then gather again as a group and share reflections. What did they find most striking? What did they learn that will be useful to family photography? Collect the viewfinders.