How to Earn Your Girl Scout Digital Photography Badge | Mankato MN

When I was first approached to host a local Girl Scout troop to help earn their digital photography badge, it took me all of .0005 seconds to say, Yes!, ha! And we didn’t let a 6+ inch snowstorm on April 3rd stop us, either :) (Yes, 6+ inches of snow on April 3rd. Nuts.)

I instantly started doing a little research, not having any personal Girl Scout experience, I wasn’t sure what they all needed to actually do/learn to earn their badge.

They essentially needed to:

1. Learn about digital cameras from an expert (guess that was me, ha!)

2. Take tons of pictures

3. Edit photos

4. Make a digital photo project

5. Share your photos

Fun! And, I won’t lie, I was kind of assuming/hoping the girls would have fun with this, I’m so used to my boys really caring less about my profession (my husband works in excavation construction, so you know, cameras and taking photos vs excavators and getting to drive a loader….you can assume who/what wins, all day every day). And, the girls did not disappoint. It was SUCH a fun night!

So, I essentially introduced them to myself, told them about how I got into photography, how my focus has changed over the years and then showed them some recent work. LOTS of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ over the darling babies I get to photograph and lots of fun questions like ‘how do you get them to sleep’, etc. Yes, I was loving every second of this! ;)

We talked about gear. Different types of cameras from the ones I use, to point and shoot, to the cameras on our cell phones. The capabilities and functions of them (at a fairly high-level) and explained this is obviously a tiny sampling of all the different types of cameras out there. We talked about lenses, prime and zoom (lots of ‘whoas’ when I brought out the big 70-200).

Then we talked about settings. This can take years to master, heck, I’m still mastering it, so I tried to keep it pretty simple. I found a great graphic visual that I printed out for each of the girls that featured simple (as simple as it can be) explanations of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I put them in situations like, if you were taking a picture of a toddler…you know, the kind that doesn’t sit still ever, what would we want our shutter speed to be, etc. They totally got it and it was so fun to share some knowledge and see them learn! (And then even more fun to see them apply that knowledge later when I had them taking pictures!)

We talked about natural light, how to (basically) position subjects when outside, what I use for my light source in the studio and how that differs from how I position my subjects inside vs outside in natural light, etc.

And the last piece before we got into the fun stuff (taking pictures!), we touched on ways we can print our photos vs just having them sit on our phones or our computers forever and ever.

Have I mentioned I was having fun?

Next I set up a little photo booth on some seamless paper. I took individual photos of each of the girls, showing them how the light adjusts across faces as I moved the light around, different looks it can create, etc.

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Aren’t they adorable??

Then we took a few group photos, of course touching on if I needed to change any of my settings now that there were more people in the photo and why.

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And finally they got to get behind the lens! I had them pick their subjects, getting the hang of pushing the button half way down to catch focus, making sure we had the focal point on an eye, was a little tricky, but they did SO great. Seriously like one picture out of all of them was out of focus. I was super impressed! Love that they had a little fun with it and brought out their sassy and silly personalities!

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For the record, I hate being in pictures, but, I loved these behind the scenes shots of the girls doing their thing!

While we were up and around doing the photos, they took a group photo in my prop room. They actually caught it on a good day. Which, doesn’t mean it was actually good, but they still thought all the stuff was cool :) Of course they’re actually covering up the ‘good’ part, and all you can see is the garbage (not actual garbage, mind you, just the ‘junk’ I don’t want on eye level, ha) on top. And if you didn’t see that right away, now it’s all you’ll see, ha.

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Lastly we did a little editing. You know, like swapping heads. (Literally they were on the floor laughing so hard, again, I was just eating this up!)

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And before I sent them on their way, I gave each of them a tiny little keychain I made that had an adorable little leather fringe tassle and tiny camera charm (by tiny I mean I was converting mm to inches to determine how big they were :)). They loved them. As parents were picking up I could hear them say, ‘that was so much fun!’. Night made.

L~ F~:

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