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4-H Youth Development Home »  4-H Projects

PhotographyYouth taking photos


Photography is a national 4-H project. It features curriculum that will guide you through the project. For a copy contact your County 4-H Office or order online at National 4-H Service Supply. For additional curriculum possibilities, explore the National Directory of 4-H Materials and do a key word search for Photography.

Photography 1
What you can do in this project: explore the camera and learn to use it properly; learn the basics of lighting and composition; learn the use of different light sources; shoot photos that tell a story.
Grades: 3-5
Resource: PC1, Focus on Photography

Photography 2
What you can do in this project: learn about camera adjustments; learn about film speed, shutter speed and aperture; take silhouettes, candids, action shots and others.
Grades: 6-8
Resource: PC2, Controlling the Image

Photography 3
What you can do in this project: learn about wide-angle and telephoto lenses; explore the use of light meters and studio lighting; experiment with special effect photos; take still life photos and portraits.
Grades: 9-12
Resource: PC3, Mastering Photography

What you can do in this project: learn storytelling, editing and lighting; experiment with camera handling and editing; learn to plan a project with the use of sound and titles; show and review your production.
Grades: 6-12
Resource: IS401, Action! Making Videos & Movies

Additional Photography Resources

IS360, Experimenting with Your Enlarger
Some fun "tricks" to try when creating black-and-white prints in your darkroom. (6 pages - 78 KB)

IS370, Creating Your Own Darkroom
Answers to questions about creating a darkroom in your home, including suggested layouts for closet darkrooms and permanent darkrooms with running water. (10 pages - 170KB)

Wisconsin Youth Photography Display
This annual display is a portable photo sampler from Wisconsin’s 11,500 4-H photography project members and other youth groups. It features about 150 photos taken by youth throughout Wisconsin. To see displays from the past four years, contact Coop Extension's lending library, Cooperative Extension Media Collection. To see the photos judged best on the most recent display, go to the Photo Display Top 12 page.


Want to learn more about photography? Try the links below.

Photography Project Training
Many counties hold local training for members and leaders in their favorite project areas, including photography. Watch your county 4-H Family newsletter or contact your county Extension office for details.

Foto Follies
If you're a Wisconsin youth or adult 4-H photo leader, or you're a new or aspiring Wisconsin county fair photography judge . . . say cheese! And plan on attending the next “Foto Follies,” statewide training workshop at Upham Woods Environmental Education Center, Wisconsin Dells. You'll also find a ton of photo resources from past Foto Follies events at this site so check it out!

Wisconsin 4-H & Youth Conference
If you're in grades 8-10, check out the next Wisconsin 4-H & Youth Conference, scheduled each June at the UW-Madison campus. The conference offers educational seminars in most areas of 4-H, including photography. Contact your county Extension office for details. If you're in grades 9-12, apply for the conference Press Team. This team of 10-15 youth and advisors captures the conference with digital photos and presents a show-stopping PowerPoint to 600 delegates and volunteers.

Wisconsin 4-H ArtBeat!
Created for 4-H members in grades 3-5 and their parents and leaders, 4-H ArtBeat! is the two-day introductory program for Wisconsin 4-H Arts and Communication held each March. 4-H ArtBeat! North is held at the Beaver Creek Reserve, Fall Creek, in Eau Claire County. ArtBeat! South is held at the Upham Woods Environmental Education Center, Wisconsin Dells. Each weekend features a look at a variety of arts projects including music, drama, visual arts, arts and crafts, juggling and more!  Also the weekend features some surprise performances created just for that year's ArtBeat!

Wisconsin 4-H Arts Camp
If you are in grades 6-8, sign up for the next statewide Wisconsin 4-H Arts Camp, scheduled each October at the Upham Woods Environmental Education Center, Wisconsin Dells. You'll rotate through the different Arts tracks each day, including photography, participate in a group Arts experience Saturday evening, and close with a ceremony for parents and families, celebrating the results of your group Arts Camp experiences. You'll also meet new friends, participate in camp games, and enjoy the great natural setting of Upham Woods, a 300-acre environmental education center on the Wisconsin River. Youth in grades 9-10 who are experienced in the photography project can serve as instructors and counselors at this camp.

Wisconsin 4-H Art Lab
If you are a new or emerging youth or adult photography leader, sign up for the Photography Track at 4-H Art Lab scheduled each January at the Upham Woods Environmental Education Center, Wisconsin Dells. It is open to adults and teens, grades 9-12. The mission of tArt Lab is to provide an in-depth and focused experience in the “art track” of your choice.

Activity Plans

Learning by doing . . . that’s been the 4-H way for 100 years! Dive into this fun photography activity. If you have ideas for more activity plans, contact Terry Boehner at .

PDF file You Be the Photo Judge! Judging is an excellent way to introduce or reinforce basic photo composition rules. In this fun group activity, you will judge groups of photos based on five basic rules of composition.

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County Fair Judging photography at county fair

The county fair . . . what a great time it is! Every summer, families flock to county fairs to see the latest 4-H project exhibits. Exhibiting is a fun and educational way for youth to showcase their project work to judges and to the public. Judging materials are supported by Bill Shaw in memory of his wife, Shirley.

Application for Registration as a Registered Judge for Wisconsin Fairs
Download the form to use if you want to become a registered judge in Wisconsin.

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Related Links

There’s so much more to learn in the 4-H Photography Project. Just follow these links! Photography
Good source of information on photography composition and equipment; a site to participate in photo discussions and chats; and a place to find links to other photo sources.

American Museum of Photography
Explore photo exhibits and read about the history of photography.
“As your online guide to photography, BetterPhoto helps you master photography by giving you great tips, product reviews, informative articles and much more. Our mission is to provide honest answers to budding photographers everywhere.” Excellent site for beginners, intermediate and advanced photographers.

If you want help creating your own films, visit the National 4-H Council site, “Virtual Filmmaking Studio and Workshop.” Go through each workshop module, practice and then upload your film when you’re done.

George Eastman House (International Museum of Photography and Film)
Fine site for adults and older youth interested in the history of photography.

New Mexico 4-H Digital Photography Project
Through this pilot project 4-Hers can learn about digital photography; practice their skills in taking, editing and organizing digital photos; and share their work with other 4-Hers through an online photography tool, KidSnaps.

New York Institute of Photography
Sign up for the free Photo Online Magazine for tips and articles on how to improve your photography. Site also features a “ Digital Learning Center” with more tips and advice.

Scrapbooking 101
Everything you need to know to get started with scrapbooking, including glossary of terms, tools, journaling, titles, layouts, templates, and more.

Shutterbug Magazine Online
Source of photography composition and equipment information.

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Project Support

For more information on the 4-H Photography Project, check out the following:

4-H Photography Resources Blog
Ideas and resources for Wisconsin 4-H photo leaders, project members, and county fair photo judges.

Cooperative Extension Media Collection
This lending library features several photography resources for photo volunteers that can be rented for photo training. It includes training videos and the annual State 4-H Photo Display, a portable collection of 150 best-of-show quality photos taken by 4-H photo project members.

UW-Extension County 4-H Offices
This is your link to a list of Wisconsin County Extension Offices. Select the county of your choice.

UW-Extension State 4-H Photography Specialist: Wayne Brabender

Wisconsin 4-H Photo Advisory Committee
This is a group of 12 key 4-H photography volunteers and staff from throughout Wisconsin that support the State 4-H Photo Program. The committee meets in the spring and fall to plan statewide activities and resources for Wisconsin’s 550 volunteer photo leaders and 11,500 photo members. If you're interested, e-mail Wayne Brabender.

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