Instant Meeting: Photography

You need:

  • Each girl should bring their own camera (phones will work, but not as well)
  • Spare cameras
  • An old film SLR
  • Photo composition examples
  • Photo Scavenger Hunt, one for each girl

Learning about Cameras:

With an old film SLR, you can see the parts working, which is pretty cool! To set that up, make sure your camera has batteries and such so you can take photos. You don’t need film, but it does need to make the click. If you know how, you can set the shutter priority to a relatively long exposure, so you can actually see the shutter moving. I used 1 second. If you don’t do this step, it will just make the sound and happen faster than you can see!

Take off the lens and see the shutter from the front. Pop the back open (where you would put the film in). Now you can see the shutter from both sides. Take the ‘photo’ and watch the shutter move. You can do this many times as you explain how the camera works: light comes in through the lens and the shutter and hits the film/sensor to make the picture.

Basic Principles of Photography:

Pictures made of light – hence, photography!

Too much light or too little light and you have to make adjustments and compromises to get a good photo.

For example, a photo taken in the dark (even with flash!) will usually be blurry, because it can’t take a quick photo – not enough light will reach the sensor. Because the shutter has to be open for longer, and people move, you’ll get blurry photos.

Photo Hints:

There are a few rules of composition that can easily take a photo from okay to excellent.

Tip 1: Get In Close – Cut out the extra stuff and get in close. There will be less to distract from the focus of your photos, which will make them better!

Tip 2: Change the Angle – The standard tourist shots are pretty for a reason, but they’re also standard. Try to find a different angle to look at things – up high, down low, close-up, further out – and see what a huge difference it can make.

Tip 3: Rule of Thirds – Your viewfinder/camera screen may help you with this already. Split it into threes – left to right, top to bottom. If you line the focus up with those lines at the thirds, and you will get more interesting, dynamic photographs.

Tip 4: Golden Hour – Golden Hour is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Photos taken at this time have a lovely golden glow and don’t have the harshness contrast between light and dark of the mid-day sun.

The BC Photo Challenge has some excellent examples to show these in action.

Photo Scavenger Hunt:

Plan to take at least half an hour, and get out of your meeting space. The light will be better, and there’s far more to see. Put the principles you’ve just learned to use, and take lots of photographs!

Here’s a sample scavenger hunt, but you can adjust based on your meeting place. The list is based on the requirements for the BC Photo Challenge and the “Picture This” Guide Interest Badge – girls need to complete at least five of the scavenger hunt items to earn the crests.

When you’re done, you can either transfer the photos to your computer right there and then, or ask the girls to send them to you. Most cameras these days use standard SD cards, and one SD card reader and laptop should do the trick to do this at a meeting.


  • BC Photo Challenge – just submit your photos to the BC Public Relations team.
  • Guides “Picture This” Interest Badge

Let me know if it meets the requirements for other branches and I’ll add it to the list!

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