These photography books for kids are perfect for homeschool families that want to do a photography unit or for any kids who are interested in growing up to be a photographer.
When I registered for my high school photography class, my dad built me a makeshift dark room in a far corner of our basement. He stocked me with photo paper, an enlarger, and all the bottles of chemicals I needed to develop my own pictures.
While my kids hear that story and assume I grew up in the age of dinosaurs, the real point of the tale is that my dad encouraged my interest and helped me to experience all the bits and pieces of photography for myself.
Digital photography today has made so much of the art easier to pick up. Kids easily take for granted how accessible cameras are and the ease of sharing photos in our modern world.
Why wouldn’t they? Snapping a picture is as easy as pulling your smartphone out of your pocket and with just a few taps you can share it with friends on social media.
We are so far removed from the struggles it took for early photographers to share their stories.
If your child is interested in learning more about photography, a wonderful place to start is by reading some (or all!) of the books below together.
Setting up a dark room would be far more complicated today than it was for my dad, but we can still explore this fascinating subject with kids and inspire a new generation of artists.
12 awesome photography books for kids who want to learn to be photographers
These picture books and graphic novels are the greatest place to start if you want to encourage your kids to learn more about photography. You can read more about each title and grab the ISBN number to hold it at the library by clicking through to the Amazon link below each book.
Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a life in nature
Ansel Adams was one of the first photographers that inspired me in my teen years. His striking black and white photos of the national parks are captivating. I can’t think of a more perfect biography to introduce photography to kids.
Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange photographs the truth
Dorothea Lange is considered the founder of documentary photography. After battling polio, she was left with a limp and withdrew from society and became an observer of her surroundings. This is not just a biography of a photographer, but also a historical book about the Great Depression.
Gordon Parks: How the photographer captured black and white America
Gordon Parks is famous for being the first black film director in Hollywood but before he reached that success, he was a photographer. Another wonderful biography of a photographer and how his work highlighted racism in America.
Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee!
After being told that no one would want their photograph taken by a black man, James Van Der Zee opens a portrait studio in Harlem and captures legendary figures from the Harlem Renaissance.
A Ray of Light
Light is an essential element of photography just as water is to watercolor painting or yarn is to knitting. This book explores the beauty and magic of light in all its forms through science and math and is perfect for a STEM curriculum.
Wilson Bentley used his photography to further science by capturing snowflakes with his camera. His patience and dedication proved to the world that no two snowflakes are alike.
A History of Pictures for Children: From cave paintings to computer drawings
Since the dawn of time, humans have been documenting their story with images. This book explores all the ways we’ve used “pictures” from times long before cameras were invented through to modern computer art.
Fairy Spell: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real
In 1917, two sisters in England convinced the world that fairies are real because of a photograph they created in their backyard. Highlighting the time in history when everyone thought a photo told nothing but the truth, this is a fascinating way to discuss with your children our modern age of digital photo editing and how to question everything they see.
Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cunningham
Bill Cunningham was an iconic fashion photographer and creator of street art photography. This book is not just about fashion photography but also about creativity and finding your own path.
George Eastman and the Kodak Camera (Inventions and Discovery)
A graphic novel that tells the story of George Eastman, inventor of the Kodak camera.
It’s a Snap!: George Eastman’s First Photograph (Great Idea Series)
A picture book biography of George Eastman’s invention of the camera.
Henri Matisse: Drawing with scissors
You may wonder why I have a book about a painter in a list of photography books for kids. After an illness that left him bed ridden towards the end of his life, Henri Matisse, the famous painter, turned to elaborate pictures made of cut pieces of paper. He called these his “drawings with scissors.”
Photography is often called “painting with light.” This book is a lovely addition to get kids thinking about how we can use different tools to create our art in new ways.
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